While the Borgia football Knights earned respect Saturday in Town and Country, Head Coach Dale Gildehaus would have preferred to get the victory.
Borgia (4-3) fell to Westminster Christian Academy (6-1) by a 35-20 final score.
“I hate to lose and they do too,” Gildehaus said. “Losing is contagious. I don’t want that because we’ve been losing too much over the last two years. They left everything out there today. This one hurts.”
Borgia never led in the game, but was tied after one quarter and fought back to within seven points through three quarters.
“They kept trying,” Gildehaus said. “To do that against this team, which played John Burroughs and the schools they’ve beaten, all I ask is to gain respect. I think we gained some today, but there’s still a long way to go.”
However, the Wildcats scored twice early in the fourth quarter to put the game away.
The Knights never gave up and scored the game’s final touchdown.
“We did a lot of good things, but mistakes were made,” Gildehaus said. “You can’t do that when you’re a young team.”
Don’t Give Up
One thing which impressed observers was the fact that the Knights never stopped working and even scored the game’s last touchdown.
Westminster was a huge favorite going into the game and scored early.
“The way the game started out, it looked like they would run away with it,” Gildehaus said. “They did what they wanted. Then we scored.”
Borgia fought back to tie the score and it was 7-7 for some time. After that, the Knights picked up confidence and were able to stick with the Wildcats for much of the rest of the game.
Gildehaus said that by scoring on Borgia’s first drive of the second half, the Knights earned respect.
“To come out in that opening drive, all of a sudden we’re in it,” Gildehaus said. “That was the big thing about our kids today. We didn’t lie down. I’m proud of the effort from each and every one of them. We had a makeshift line with Nathan Held getting hurt just last night. James Mullen did a pretty good job stepping into left tackle. Logan Bell played left guard. Noah Garcilaso was new at center. It basically was a lot of guys in new positions.”
Gildehaus said there’s plenty to build upon for the rest of the season.
“There are a lot of positives which came from this game today,” Gildehaus said. “We’ve got to run the ball a little bit better, but throwing the ball we made great strides today.”
Gildehaus feels it’s getting too late in the season to settle for moral victories. The Knights stand sixth in Class 4 District 3 with 30.76 points while Westminster is second at 42.03 points.
Had Borgia been able to knock out the Wildcats, they would have been able to climb in the standings, perhaps to a point to where they would have a chance at hosting a Week 10 game.
“This one hurts,” Gildehaus said. “But we have to go back to work on Monday because St. Clair doesn’t care if we feel bad or not.”
At the current rate, the Knights would have to go onto the road. Borgia has a key game against St. Clair (3-4, 29.2 points) this week at home and follows up with Sullivan (5-2, 40.57 points) in the ninth week.
“We haven’t been home in a long, long time,” said Gildehaus. “We’ll have our fans and our school there.”
St. Clair is seventh in the district while Sullivan holds down the third spot.
“Cody McDowell does a great job,” Gildehaus said about the St. Clair coach. “We always joke. He’s got a newborn. I told him I would buy him something blue and gold. He told me, ‘no, that’s OK.’ Doggone, he’s a good man. They do a great job. They lost last night against a very good Hermann team.”
Gildehaus knows it’s going to be a rough game Friday night.
“St. Clair will play their best ballgame of the season against us,” said Gildehaus. “Any time you play a well-coached football team, you had better be ready. St. Clair probably is more physical than any other team we’ll play all year. We’ve got to be physical as well. This game is so big because of the district seeds.”
Gildehaus knows to get anything out of the game, the Knights have to stop Skyler Hutchison.
“It’s not only him, but also the rest of the team,” Gildehaus said. “They do a great job running the ball. We’ve got to stop him first. We’ve got to make them do something they are not used to doing. Hermann slowed down the running game and made them throw the ball. Hutchison is an outstanding running back. He’s a difference maker within their team. If we can stop him, we’ll win the ballgame. If we let him loose, they’ll win the ballgame.”
Westminster finishes out the regular season against Class 3 schools Bishop DuBourg (2-5) and Duchesne (6-1).
Duchesne sealed the Archdiocesan Athletic Association Large Division title last week with a 35-0 win at St. Dominic.
Westminster outgained the Knights, 375 yards to 282.
Westminster rolled up 178 rushing and 197 passing yards. Borgia recorded 147 rushing and 185 passing yards.
Borgia quarterback Justin Baylard completed 12 of 27 passes for 185 yards and three interceptions, but it was his demeanor in trying to locate targets which impressed many.
“The young man who I thought did the best job of the year was Justin Baylard,” Gildehaus said. “I’ve been on him because I expected a lot more from him from what he did on the JV level last year. Last week, he did OK. Today, he made plays. He scrambled. He didn’t go down. He just kept scrambling and made plays. He threw the ball to several different kids. That tells me his head was up and he was looking for different receivers and making plays. He was a leader. That’s what made me proud of him.”
Baylard bounced off of would-be tacklers in the backfield like a pinball and was able to either make passes or scramble.
Dominic Struckhoff caught four of Baylard’s passes for 60 yards.
Todd Kleekamp came up with three catches for 50 yards.
Drake Raftery made two huge receptions for 51 yards.
Receivers with one catch each were Tyler Breckenkamp (12 yards), Riley Durbin (eight) and Charlie Smith (four).
On the ground, Kelan Winters was Borgia’s top runner, gaining 93 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries.
“Kelan is a player,” Gildehaus said. “He gets another touchdown called back on a mistake.”
Baylard ran seven times for 23 yards and one touchdown.
Struckhoff had five carries for 16 yards and Bret Snider ran a fake punt for 15 yards.
Winters gave Borgia good field position with three returns for 89 yards. Raftery had two returns for 26 yards.
Defensively, John Hanneken had 10 total tackles to lead the Knights.
“John Hanneken played well,” Gildehaus said. “All of these kids are playing better.”
Phillip Swoboda led Borgia with seven solo tackles with one assist.
Brandon Guehne had six solo tackles. Cody Smith had five total tackles and one sack.
Max Baker, Raftery and Struckhoff each had four total stops.
Borgia stopped itself at times, taking 10 penalties for 65 yards.
“You can’t be first and 15,” Gildehaus said. “You can’t be third and three and then end up third and 18. You can’t do those things.”
The Wildcats were flagged six times for 65 yards.
Westminster posted 12 first downs and Borgia had 11. Westminster was 5-9 on third-down conversions and Borgia went 4-11.
Jacob Grellner kicked two extra points. The snap was bad on the third.
Trey Merritt ran the ball 18 times for 133 yards and two touchdowns for the Wildcats.
Blake Sutphen carried twice for 22 yards while Brett Bond had five carries for 12 yards and Caleb Miller ran three times for 12 yards.
Bond went 11-16 for 152 yards and one touchdown at quarterback. Brendan Bognar was 3-7 for 45 yards and one score.
Through the air, Brennan Hehner had five catches for 64 yards and one touchdown.
Demetris Williams caught two passes for 66 yards and one touchdown.
Zach Hughes pulled in three passes for 27 yards. Bond had one catch for 19 yards and Sutphen caught one pass for 14 yards.
Merritt, Sutphen and Bradley Almus intercepted passes. Carson Burke had one sack.
Caleb Miller led the Wildcats with eight solo tackles and three assists. Travis Ralls had 10 total tackles.
While it didn’t change the outcome of the game, Borgia was not happy about what it perceived as a no-call early in the fourth quarter.
Borgia trailed 28-14 and was driving down the field. Baylard escaped from pressure up the middle and scrambled around, firing a high pass at Winters.
While Winters was hit just before the ball got to him, it deflected it to Merritt, who returned it to set up his own 27-yard touchdown to seal the outcome with 8:14 to play.
Borgia’s coaches discussed the play with the officials, who claimed they were not in position to see the contact due to the broken play.
So, instead of Borgia potentially scoring to cut it to 28-21 with plenty of time left on the clock, Westminster took a three-score lead, 35-14.
“We were driving,” Gildehaus said. “After that, it was a done game. Unfortunately that happens. It’s part of the game.”
WES - Brett Bond 1 run (David Williams kick), 6:06
BOR - Kelan Winters 3 run (Jacob Grellner kick), 3:09
WES - Trey Merritt 3 run (Williams kick), 10:56
WES - Brennan Hehner 20 pass from Brendan Bognar (Williams kick), 8:03
BOR - Justin Baylard 3 run (Grellner kick), 5:26
WES - Demetris Williams 23 pass from Bond (Williams kick), 11:12
WES - Merritt 27 run (Williams kick), 8:14
BOR - Winters 7 run (pass failed), 0:59