While Drake Raftery’s touchdown reception with 1:40 left Friday may have given the Borgia Knights a 30-27 victory at St. Mary’s, the effects may pay dividends for weeks to come.
Borgia (2-2, 1-1) picked up its first Archdiocesan Athletic Association Large Division victory against the Dragons (1-3, 0-1) in south St. Louis.
“We are beginning to grow up as a team,” said Borgia Head Coach Dale Gildehaus. “We were up,then down, then up, then down, but in the end, when things looked very bleak we found a way to pull out a win.”
It also gave Borgia a win over a 2012 Class 4 semifinalist and showed that the Knights can overcome adversity.
“Bottom line, we made plays when we had to,” Gildehaus said. “We made mistakes but I was so proud of our effort in the last quarter. When things looked bad we battled. We continue to work hard in practice even when things look bad. The kids are starting to believe that with hard work good things will come.”
Three times, the Knights rallied from deficits in the game. The Knights lost leads as much as 10 points during the contest and came back after St. Mary’s forged ahead by four points with 6:40 to play.
The winning touchdown was a 32-yard pass from Justin Baylard to Raftery with 1:40 to play. Raftery pulled the ball away from a defender and went on to score the touchdown.
“We were down to fourth and 16 on a pass that was up for grabs,” Gildehaus said. “Drake Raftery basically said ‘I’m going to make a play,’ and did he ever. The ball was in the defender’s hands and Drake just took the ball away to win the ballgame.”
Not to be overlooked was Jake Erwin’s extra-point kick, which gave Borgia a three-point cushion and made certain that the Dragons would have to put the ball into the end zone on their final drive for the victory.
Borgia also trailed 13-10 in the second quarter after jumping out to a 10-0 lead.
Gildehaus said Kelan Winters made a crucial stop at the Borgia one to close out the first half.
“If it were not for his effort we would have been down again,” Gildehaus said.
The Knights then went down 19-16 in the third quarter, which was the score going into the final quarter.
“This was a night of big plays,” Gildehaus said. “Winters broke off the left side for a 65-yard score that was sprung because of a big block from Todd Kleekamp. Tyler Breckenkamp caught a pass from Justin Baylard for a 35-yard touchdown.
St. Mary’s outgained Borgia in the game, 343-285.
The Dragons picked up 197 yards in the air to Borgia’s 143. St. Mary’s edged Borgia on the ground, 146-142, but needed seven additional carries to do that.
“We made a few adjustments at half but St. Mary’s did a great job of running the option all night and went up again,” Gildehaus said.
Baylard was Borgia’s only passer on the night, completing 12 of his 14 attempts for 143 yards and two touchdowns.
“We threw for 142 yards and rushed for 143,” Gildehaus said. “That’s the balance every team looks which we have been striving for. We were led by linemen Nathan Held, James Mullen, Noah Filla, Logan Bell and Taylor Monzyk. That is a young offensive line but senior Brendan Joyce has been pushing for more playing time.”
On the ground, Kelan Winters led the way with six carries for 90 yards. Hunter Warmack was next with seven carries for 47 yards.
“Hunter became an important part of our offense as we began to run under center with a little more power,” Gildehaus said. “He ran very well as well as becoming a blocker as well plus leading us on the defensive side each and every week.”
Baylard ran 12 times for six yards while Raftery had one carry for four yards. Charlie Smith returned and had one rush for a five-yard loss.
Through the air, Tyler Breckenkamp caught three passes for 50 yards. Raftery had three catches for 48 yards.
Grant Broeder recorded two catches for 24 yards. Winters had two catches for eight yards.
Phillip Swoboda caught one pass for eight yards and Todd Kleekamp made one reception for five yards.
Defensively, Raftery made 11 total tackles. Brandon Guehne was next with 10 total stops and Warmack had nine total tackles.
John Hanneken made eight total stops.
Guehne posted a sack. Swoboda and Max Baker recovered fumbles.
Cody Beile led the Dragons by going 8-16 for 197 yards and one touchdown through the air. He also carried the ball 12 times for 57 yards.
William Pratt picked up 54 yards on nine carries and 43 yards on three catches.
Carl Crimi hauled in three catches for 96 yards and Jake DeWeese had two receptions for 58 yards.
St. Dominic Preview
If the Knights had to pick an arch rival among their AAA Large Division foes, it likely would be St. Dominic. Prior to Borgia joining the AAA, the two teams met up multiple times on the final week of the season with a playoff berth on the line.
And the Crusaders are coming to Washington Friday night for a 7 p.m. game.
Gildehaus said he has tremendous respect for the Crusaders (3-1, 1-0).
“They are rebuilding as well after losing 27 seniors to graduation,” Gildehaus said. “They do not have the strong running back they had last year but they know how to win. That is what Coach Jim Cook has brought to that program, they believe in themselves and that is why they are winning again this year.”
Wins have come against Warrenton (12-7), Bishop DuBourg (41-23) and Trinity (15-0). The loss came in Week 2 against Cardinal Ritter (34-6).
Offensively, the Crusaders are fairly balanced. Quarterbacks Luke Mennemeier and Gary Ernst have passed for 384 combined yards. Mennemeier is the top quarterback, completing 31 of 62 attempts for 362 yards, five touchdowns and three interceptions.
Ernst is 2-6 for 22 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
Tony Papa is the top runner, carrying the ball 46 times for 180 yards and one touchdown. Mark Weiss has 36 carries for 120 yards. Mennemeier has run 26 times for 62 yards and one touchdown.
In the air, John Hagan is the top receiver with 11 catches for 161 yards and two touchdowns.
Tyler Kalist has pulled in 10 catches for 111 yards and two scores. Nathan Livingston has six catches for 87 yards.
Defensively, Jarod Sachs has been the top tackler with 38 total stops, four tackles for loss and two sacks.
Drew Basse is next at 31 stops and one sack.
Josh Dause and Ernst have intercepted two passes each. Jason Graning has two fumble recoveries.
Gildehaus feels it will be a great football atmosphere.
“They have a tremendous following from their student body,” Gildehaus said about St. Dominic. “They were very intimidating last year, it will be fun to have them at our place with our kids behind us this year. Our students have just been outstanding. I have never be more proud of a school as we went down to defeat two weeks ago against Duchesne in a bad score as we walked over to sing the school song our kids gave the team a standing ovation because of their effort. Wow, the kids were so thankful. Now, this week we hope to give something back to our fans and student body.”
The Knights will have to limit the big plays. St. Mary’s was able to find holes in Borgia’s defense, especially through the air. The Knights need to seal up those holes to have a chance.
Borgia is getting healthier and several injured players are closing in on being able to return, such as Dean Lockhart and Dominic Struckhoff. With Smith’s return against St. Mary’s, the Knights have one of their projected running backs in the lineup once again, which should allow Gildehaus to spread out the wealth of the three quarterbacks (Baylard, Raftery and Winters).
MasseyRatings.com has not projected this game as it has an incorrect AAA schedule.
BOR - Jake Erwin 42 field goal, 8:17
BOR - Kelan Winters 80 run, (Jake Erwin kick) :58
STM - Will Pratt 5 run, (Jake DeWeese kick), 8:05
STM - Cody Beile 10 run, (kick failed), 5:58
BOR - Tyler Breckenkamp 34 pass from Justin Baylard, (kick failed), 1:42
STM - Cody Beile 10 run, (kick failed) 3:07
BOR - Justin Baylard 1 run, (Erwin kick), 7:31
STM - Carl Crimi 65 pass from Beile, (Beile run) 6:20
BOR - Drake Raftery 23 pass from Baylard, (Erwin kick), 1:40