E’Hawks Deal With St. Eds In 31-17 Victory
FORT?DODGE – After surviving a one-point scare a week earlier, Emmetsburg’s E’Hawks weren’t going to have another Friday night like that under their belts. Instead, Emmetsburg overcame an early one-point deficit on Friday night at Fort Dodge and brought home a satisfying 31-17 win over the Gaels of St. Edmonds.
The victory puts the E’Hawks in the lead of District Two with a 3-0 mark as they enter Homecoming Week and a Friday night meeting with Garner-Hayfield’s Cardinals.
The game with St. Edmonds’ started a little less than perfectly, as the E’Hawks would fumble the football during their first possession in their own territory, With St. Ed’s recovering the ball at their own 30, the Gaels would drive down to Emmetsburg’s 12 yard line, own to fumble the ball, which was jumped on by Matt Ballman for the E’Hawks.
With the turnovers even, Emmetsburg started a methodical drive downfield, using the power running of Joey Naig to spearhead the drive. Naig used his balance to run out of tackles, and his shoe on one play, to cap off the 82-yard drive with a 10 yard run to score with 5:16 to go. The conversion kick failed when the snap was mishandled, giving the E’Hawks a 6-0 lead.
St. Ed’s would come back to set up a nice drive of their own, and managed to tie the game with a 20 yard pass reception by Ben Kraayenbrink with 1:04 remaining in the quarter. The conversion kick by Nick Clark put the Gaels up 7-6 to end the quarter, leaving the E’Hawks under the gun to start the second frame.
With St. Ed’s putting up a stiff defense against the run, the E’Hawks went to the air, as quarterback Cory Schultes put the ball up, and found Nick Wuebker with a 20-yard strike to start the quarter.
Using the first down, the E’Hawks began driving, and with a first down at the Gaels’ 29, Schultes tried a pass to Wuebker in the end zone, but the pass went out of reach and Wuebker landed hard on a shoulder and would leave the game.
Working down to the 12 yard line, the E’Hawks used s short pass to Bobby Gappa at the six-yard line with 4:44 to go in the half.
Joey Naig would bull down to the two-yard line, and after a time out, raced untouched into the end zone to retake the lead. Schultes would keep the ball for the conversion, and was met at the goal line by three defenders, but managed to stick the ball over the goal line for the two-points and the 14-7 lead with 3:19 to go in the half.
St. Ed’s would come up with the veritible Hail Mary play with 1:45 to go in the half, as quarterback Nick Clark was chased out of the pocket by a host of Emmetsburg defenders and hounded as he scrambled before getting off a 49 yard pass down to the E’Hawk nine yard line by Anthony Flattery.
The E’Hawk defense stopped the Gaels on three downs before Clark kicked a 26 yard field goal with :49 to go to cut the deficit to 14-10.
However, the E’Hawks weren’t done just yet.
After fielding the kick at the their own 31 yard line, the E’Hawks set up the offense. Schultes took the snap and handed off to Naig, who ran to the Gaels sideline and outraceds a defender 69 yards to the endzone for the score with :31 to go in the half. Ben McCain put the conversion kick through the uprights for a 21-10 lead that would end the first half.
The Gaels would take the kick to open the second half and turned the possession into a touchdown, with a 37 yard run by Doug Steinkamp with 9:47 to go. Clark added the kick for the conversion to cut Emmetsburg’s lead to 21-17 as the E’Hawks took over after the kick.
Starting at their own 38, Emmetsburg started another drive, using the clock on a methodical march downfield. But, with the drive starting to wane, Schultes took to the air again, and hit Jake Carlson at the Gaels 16-yard line. Carlson juggled the pass as he fought to pull the ball into his grasp, and held on when he was hit by a pair of defenders at the 12-yard line with 6:15 to go in the quarter. The pass was for naught, as a holding call on the E’Hawks brought the play back.
Emmetsburg shook off the penalty and continued to run the ball, getting to the Gaels’ nine-yard line with 4:00 to go in the quarter. Facing a fourth and seven, Head Coach Mike Dunlap sent Ben McCain to attempt the 25 yard field goal. Matt Ballman took the snap and put it down as McCain booted the orb right down the middle of the crossbars for the three-point score and 24-17 lead with 3:36 to go in the third.
Things suddenly went south for the Gaels in their resulting possession, when Matt Ballman picked off a pass at Emmetsburg’s 37-yard line to kill the drive and give the E’Hawks the ball back with 2:14 remaining in the quarter.
Emmetsburg went into a perfect two-minute drill, quickly working the ball into St. Edmonds’ territory, and with time running down, Joey Naig exploded through the Gael defense once again, this time for a 42-yard blast and touchdown with :10 left in the quarter. The conversion kick would end the quarter with Emmetsburg holding a 31-17 lead.
The Gales would start the fourth quarter with another amazing pass, as Clark was flushed from the pocket again, despite being chased by Jake Morris, and got off another long pass to David Tann down at Emmetsburg’s 15-yard line.
However, the Gaels would lose the ball when Chris Kollasch forced a fumble that was recovered by Morris at the E’Hawk 16 with 10:11 to go in the game.
Emmetsburg would drive the ball out to their own 47 and punted, giving the Gaels a chance to mount a drive. St. Ed’s worked down to the Emmetsburg 16-yard line with 3:29 to go, but lost yardage on the next play. On the next snap, the ball squirted out of the quarterback’s hands and Brady Berkland jumped on it at the 26, killing St. Ed’s drive.
Emmetsburg would take over and drove back out to near midfield before punting it away once again with :18 to go in the game. The Gaels tried one final play, but ran out of time as the E’Hawks celebrated the 31-17 win.
For Emmetsburg, it was a punishing night on the ground, with 359 yards of rushing of 54 attempts. Joey Naig was the workhorse once again, running 32 times for 275 yards, an average of 8.6 yards per carry as he scored all four E’Hawk touchdowns.
Cory Schultes gained 48 yards off nine carries and completed four of five passes for 58 yards and Brady Berkland added 36 yards off 13 rushes.
Jake Carlson had one reception for 21 yards, while Nick Wuebker had a 20-yard catch. Brady Berkland made an 11 yard reception and Bobby Gappa added a six yard catch.
Ben McCain would add the 25 yard field goal and two extra points for the E’Hawk effort and added 264 yards off six kickoffs, while Joey Naig punted twice for 70 yards.
St. Edmonds would gain 175 yards off 37 rushes and 110 passing yards for a total of 285 total yards of offense, compared with Emmetsburg’s 397 yards.
The E’Hawk defenders got a workout, as Tommy Kuecker led the way with 11 tackles, while Brady Berkland added six and a half stops. Howard Henkelvig and Ben Pelzer both added four tackles to the effort. Matt Ballman had an interception and a fumble recovery, while Brady Berkland recovered a fumble and Jake Morris also picked up a fumble.