In mythology, the three-headed dog Cerebrus guards the gates of the underworld.
In football, Cerebrus is the three-quarterback offense the Borgia football Knights currently is running.
Borgia (1-2, 0-1) found some success with that formation Friday night during its home opener, but still fell by a 35-7 score to visiting Duchesne (3-0, 1-0).
In the Cerebrus formation, Borgia had two of its three quarterbacks in the backfield with the third usually split out at a receiver spot. Juniors Justin Baylard and Drake Raftery and sophomore Kelan Winters took snaps throughout the game, starting with Borgia’s opening drive.
“I was very proud of our team,” Borgia Head Coach Dale Gildehaus said. “We changed a lot. Coach (Spencer) Unnerstall did a great job. He and I talked. I wanted to get Kelan, Justin and Drake involved back there and we did. I thought our first drive was as good as we’ve had all year, and we turned the ball over.”
Sticking to the mythology theme, Borgia’s Achilles heel proved to be turnovers. The Knights drove with the ball, but struggled in maintaining a hold on it. In the first half alone, the Knights fumbled the ball four times and lost two of them.
Gildehaus said the Cerebrus offense was the result of a lot of thinking following the loss to Union.
“All three of them are quarterbacks,” Gildehaus said. “We talked and thought about putting all three of them back there to see what they could do. We tried to move it around. Justin has been good at quarterback. Right now, Kelan might be the best running back, but he’s also the best receiver. Drake is a pretty good running back, but he might be a good quarterback. We’re trying to find the perfect scenario that makes us run.”
Gildehaus said he got the idea from a Class 2 team which runs two quarterbacks in a spin formation.
“I know work needs to be done and it will but I’m excited and ready to get back to work because of what we see,” Gildehaus said. “We cannot turn the ball over that many times and expect to win. We need to find a tailback that runs downhill, which we will.”
Gildehaus knows that it’s going to require a lot of work to get back into the win column.
“I think the biggest thing we learned from this is that the game of football has changed so much,” Gildehaus said. “If you are not strong, your chance of winning sure goes down and not being strong, your chance of injury sure increases As I said, no one hates to lose more than I, but if we continue to work each and every play, I cannot ask for anymore.”
The Pioneers brought a veteran squad into the game with many of the players from last year’s team returning.
Duchesne featured plenty of size. Featured running back Trevor Korba checked in at 6-0, 185 pounds and that made him as heavy as most of the Borgia linemen trying to stop him.
Up front, the Pioneers turned to a line which featured 300-pounder Brad Pryor and frequently was able to dominate the line of scrimmage.
“We played a very good football team,” Gildehaus said. “They’re a very big, physical football team. We knew they were going to run it down our throat, and they did.”
Borgia had plenty on its plate for the game, which served as the first league contest for the Knights as well as homecoming at Borgia.
Besides the home opener and homecoming festivities, the school also honored the 1993 Class 3A state championship squad at halftime.
The Pioneers, ranked fifth in last week’s Class 3 state poll, had their own issues at quarterback. Starter Clay Stulce suffered a knee injury prior to the game and was unavailable. Charlie Elmendorf turned the ball over to sophomore Nick Thiele, who mainly kept the ball on the ground during the game.
That led to a quick game, which lasted just two hours and 15 minutes
The first quarter lasted less than two drives. Borgia rolled down to the Duchesne 23 before the Knights lost a fumble with 7:40 left in the opening quarter.
The Pioneers moved the other way and scored 45 seconds into the second quarter on a four-yard pass from Thiele to Alex Moore. While the extra-point kick went wide, the Pioneers never trailed again.
Borgia stopped the running clock with 9:27 left in the game when Raftery scored on a three-yard run. Jake Erwin kicked the extra point to cut the score to 35-7, which is how the game ended.
Offensively, Borgia picked up 107 yards on the ground and 69 through the air.
Raftery was Borgia’s top rusher with seven carries for 46 yards and one touchdown.
Baylard had 11 carries for 34 yards and Winters hauled the ball six times for 19 yards.
Max Fry and Dylan Voss each had one carry for four yards.
Borgia struggled through the air, completing just five pass attempts in the contest.
Baylard had four completions for 24 yards. Winters completed one pass for 13 yards.
On the receiving side, Winters caught three of the Baylard passes for 24 yards. Grant Broeder pulled in one catch for 13 yards and Phillip Swoboda caught one pass for no gain.
Borgia had success returning kicks. Raftery had a 47-yard kickoff return while Todd Kleekamp returned two kicks for 29 yards. Winters ran one back for 24 yards.
Hunter Warmack recovered a fumble.
Brandon Guehne recorded 10 solo tackles. John Hanneken had 12 total tackles.
Warmack posted seven total tackles. Baylard and Logan Bell each had six total tackles.
“Max Baker had his best game against an all conference center,” Gildehaus said. “He moved well and will only get better. Two sophomores on the offensive line were very impressive at times. Nathan Held and Noah Filla on the first couple of drives just did a heck of a job. Taylor Monzyk, who is undersized at 180, just never stopped working against a player that weighed 306.”
“Brendan Guehne was our leading tackler in his first full game along with John Hanneken at the other linebacker who was second in tackles,” Gildehaus said.
“Kelan Winters, another sophomore, just continues to make plays and I thought Justin Baylard ran a little harder and was much more aggressive on the defensive side of the ball,” Gildehaus said. “Another bright note, Ryan Jones kicked off and put the first kick into and out of the end zone.”
Duchesne didn’t need to put the ball into the air, rolling up 235 rushing yards on 38 carries.
Korba led the way with 22 carries for 170 yards and one touchdown, a 68-yard score two minutes into the third quarter.
Thiele ran six times for 29 yards. Rick Leach had two carries for 13 yards.
Jared Mosquera ran four times for 12 yards, but one of those was an 11-yard end-around which gave the Pioneers a two-score lead in the second quarter. Mosquera also returned a punt 64 yards for a touchdown while Duchesne made it 21-0 at the half.
Jack Busken (6 yards) and Brian Goetges (5) each carried twice.
Thiele completed four of his six pass attempts for 38 yards and two touchdowns.
Drew Moore caught two of those passes for 25 yards. Alex Moore had two catches for 13 yards. Alex Moore caught both of the touchdowns.
Goetges recovered two fumbles while Drew Moore intercepted a pass.
Korba led the defense with 12 total tackles. Leach ended with eight and Pryor had seven.
St. Mary’s Preview
After a one-week sojourn at home, the Knights hit the road again this week, heading to south St. Louis to take on the St. Mary’s Dragons in AAA Large Division action.
“It’s another challenge for us,” Gildehaus said. “They’ve got some good kids. We’ll come and get stronger and go to work.”
St. Mary’s reached the Class 4 semifinals last year, losing to Webb City in the round prior to the Show-Me Bowl.
The Dragons, 11-3 last season, lost only to Borgia, St. Dominic and Webb City in 2012.
This year, St. Mary’s is 1-2 with home losses to St. Charles (27-20) and Windsor (15-13). The Dragons won for the first time last Friday with a 41-6 win at Lutheran St. Charles.
While St. Mary’s graduated AAA Large Division offensive player of the year Brandon Polito, the Dragons have other threats.
William Pratt and Alec Schicker have scored three touchdowns apiece for the Dragons while Colin Crimi and Albert Meyer each have one touchdown.
Jake DeWeese has kicked six extra points.
In the win over Lutheran St. Charles, Pratt ran for two touchdowns of 68 and 39 yards. Schicker ran for scores of 27 and 5 yards. Meyer returned an interception 25 yards for his touchdown.
DUC - Alex Moore 4 pass from Nick Thiele (kick failed) 11:15
DUC - Jared Mosquera 11 run (Trevor Korba kick), 4:12
DUC - Mosquera 64 punt return (Rick Leach run), 2:11
DUC - Korba 68 run (Moore run) 10:00
DUC - Moore 8 pass from Thiele (kick blocked), 1:27
BOR - Drake Raftery 3 run (Jake Erwin kick), 4:09