Homecoming didn’t end in the favor of St. Edmond here Friday night, but Matt Dillon walked out of Dodger Stadium feeling much better about the direction of his team.
The Gaels put together a second half rally before coming up short vs. Harris-Lake Park, 42-28.
“When we last played here, we gave up 70 to West Bend-Mallard,” Dillon said. “We didn’t have a lot of positives to go off of after that one. (Friday night) we were able to do a lot of good things that we can definitely build upon moving forward.
“Harris-Lake Park had a really balanced offense and minus the interception return and short field (that resulted in another score for the Wolves), our defense held them to 28 points. In eight-player football, if you do that, you give yourself a good chance to win.”
JT Laufersweiler made his first career start at quarterback, as the sophomore accounted for three touchdowns. Laufersweiler was 16-for-36 passing for 238 yards with TD strikes to Isaac Landwehr and Johnny Dickerson, adding 56 yards and a rushing score to his night.
Landwehr finished with seven catches for 122 yards and the score, Quinten McCarville added five receptions for 74 yards and Dickerson finished with five for 42 and the touchdown.
“The moment wasn’t too big for JT,” Dillon said. “I was interested in finding that out. Homecoming, first start at home and a lot of pressure, but he definitely played a great game. We had some mistakes that hurt us and limited what could have been an even bigger night on offense.”
For Harris-Lake Park, Austin Gilmore ran for 139 yards and three touchdowns, Tyce Gunderson threw for 111 yards and had two total scores, and Caleb Hemphill caught a touchdown and returned an interception for another six points.
The two teams exchanged touchdowns in the first half, with the Wolves taking a 14-12 lead thanks to two made Gavin Eiser extra points. Eiser also had several touchbacks on the night, finishing a perfect 6-for-6 on PATs.
Gilmore had his first touchdown late in the first with Laufersweiler recording his initial varsity TD on a 7-yard run with 9:25 to play in the second quarter. Gunderson gave H-LP a 14-6 lead on a short plunge into the end zone and Laufersweiler hit Landwehr from 14 yards out just before halftime.
“We had a slow start again, but once we figured a few things out, the offense was moving well,” Dillon said. “We just have to continue to improve and continue to get better. It’s really as plain and simple as that.”
Hemphill hauled in a 30-yard TD pass from Gunderson before Gilmore scored on back-to-back 7-yard runs to make it 35-12.
On a St. Edmond punt, though, momentum shifted. John Nemmers scooped up a loose ball and scored, and Tyler Rossmanith converted the two-point try, making it 35-20.
Special teams again came up big as the Gaels recovered the ensuing kickoff and Laufersweiler his Dickerson from seven yards out. The two connected for the conversion and it was 35-28 heading to the fourth.
Harris-Lake Park sealed the game with a long drive that was followed by an interception by Hemphill that he returned to the end zone.
Freshman Adam Walker had two sacks for St. Edmond with Landwehr and Nemmers recording one each. Nemmers and Zach Smith recovered fumbles, as well.
The Gaels will welcome defending state champion Remsen St. Mary’s next Friday to Dodger Stadium. The fifth-ranked Hawks downed Kingsley-Pierson last night, 57-26.
First Downs 15 15
Rushes-Yards 27-20 42-130
Passing 243 111
Comp-Att-Int 17-37-2 8-15-0
Total Offense 263 241
Fumbles-Lost 3-2 3-2
Penalties-Yards 8-50 5-45
St. Edmond 0 12 8 8– 28
H-LP 7 7 21 7–42
Harris-Lake Park — Austin Gilmore (8-yard run), 2:01 left in first. Gavin Eiser kick.
St. Edmond — JT Laufersweiler (7-yard run), 9:25 left in second. Conversion failed.
Harris-Lake Park — Tyce Gunderson (2-yard run), 6:44 left in second. Eiser kick.
St. Edmond — Isaac Landwehr (14-yard pass from Laufersweiler), 1:51 left in second. Conversion failed.
Harris-Lake Park — Caleb Hemphill (30-yard pass from Gunderson), 10:13 left in third. Eiser kick.
Harris-Lake Park — Gilmore (7-yard run), 5:56 left in third. Eiser kick.
Harris-Lake Park — Gilmore (7-yard run), 1:54 left in third. Eiser kick.
St. Edmond — John Nemmers (30-yard fumble return), 1:30 left in third. Rossmanith run.
St. Edmond — Johnny Dickerson (7-yard pass from Laufersweiler), :24 left in third. Laufersweiler-to-Dickerson pass.
Harris-Lake Park — Hemphill (17-yard interception return), 4:47 left in fourth. Eiser kick.
Rushing — St. Edmond: JT Laufersweiler 11-56, Tyler Rossmanith 11-5, Team 1-(minus-4), Quinten McCarville 4-(minus-37). Harris-Lake Park: Austin Gilmore 26-139, Lucas Ahrenstorff 1-3, Tyce Gunderson 13-(minus-6), Team 2-(minus-6).
Passing — St. Edmond: JT Laufersweiler 16-36-2-238, Quinten McCarville 1-1-0-5. Harris-Lake Park: Tyce Gunderson 8-15-0-111.
Receiving — St. Edmond: Isaac Landwehr 7-122, Quinten McCarville 5-74, Johnny Dickerson 5-42, Cayne Reed 1-5. Harris-Lake Park: Gavin Eiser 2-54, Lucas Ahrendstorff 4-34, Caleb Hemphill 2-33.