Giving up the ball seven times, the Borgia football Knights fell to the Westminster Warriors Friday, 49-24.
The Knights lost three interceptions and four fumbles and the Wildcats took advantage to secure the victory.
“In all of my years of coaching, we’ve never had seven turnovers in a game,” Borgia Head Coach Dale Gildehaus said. “That leaves me speechless. I thought we were well prepared for them and we battled them toe-to-toe.”
Gildehaus said the Knights have to fight back from the loss.
“Football is a very humbling game,” Gildehaus said.” When you get your fanny beat like we did, you can do one of two things. You can lay down and pack your stuff away, or you can fight back.”
The path doesn’t get any easier for Borgia (4-3), which plays at St. Clair (6-1) Friday in another Class 4 District 3 contest. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
“I’ve got a lot of respect for Coach (Cody) McDowell,” Gildehaus said. “He has done a great job with the football team. They’re outstanding. We’ll go over and do our very best.”
Borgia’s loss Friday to Westminster (5-2) in the home finale was even more devastating. As Westminster is in Borgia’s district, and the teams were tied in the district standings coming into the game, Westminster was able to gain an advantage in the district with the win.
In fact, Borgia slipped to sixth in the district standings and hopes of getting a home game in Week 10 are fading. Borgia’s final two regular season games are on the road against the top two teams in the district. St. Clair is second in the district and Sullivan, Borgia’s Week 9 opponent, leads the district.
The Knights face a massive challenge at St. Clair Friday night. The Bulldogs are bigger on the line and have some of the fastest skill position players around.
“St. Clair is an outstanding football team,” Gildehaus said. “We know they’re going to be ready for us.”
Kyle Juergens quarterbacks the team and is comfortable running or passing the ball from the spread option offense.
Rickey Grivetti is one of the fastest players in this area and can exploit a gap for a long gain very quickly.
Perhaps the only player in Grivetti’s speed range is Adam Brott, who sees action as both a running back and receiver.
St. Clair did have one injury of note in last week’s win over Hermann. Lineman Josh Haynes is questionable for Friday’s game.
Borgia had little trouble moving down the field to score on its initial drive. On the second play from scrimmage, quarterback John Baumstark broke loose to go from the Borgia 20 down to the Westminster three. He scored soon after that on a three-yard run just 39 seconds into the game. Luke Schriewer’s kick made it 7-0.
But that proved to be the highlight for the Knights.
Westminster pushed back and scored just under two minutes later with a pass interference call aiding the drive. Jacob Hicks scored on a 29-yard pass play from Brett Bond and David Williams tied the contest with a kick with 9:25 left in the quarter.
From there, the turnovers took over.
Baumstark threw the ball right to Bond, who returned the interception to the Borgia 15. That set up a one-yard run by lineman Justin Creighton, who plunged into the end zone in Refrigerator Perry style with 6:27 to play. Westminster never trailed again.
Borgia was able to get a 21-yard field goal from Schriewer as the Knights stalled out close to the goal line, cutting the deficit to 14-10 with 4:06 to play in the first quarter.
Westminster continued to take advantage of Borgia’s turnovers in the second quarter. Those resulted in a touchdown from Bond to Tyler Catlett and another gimmick play score pass from Kyle Kinner to Coby Nye.
Borgia responded with a Robbie Vossbrink 60-yard touchdown return with 2:20 left in the half and the Knights trailed 28-17 at the intermission.
Vossbrink had another chance for a huge play. He had the ball in his hands with nothing but open field in the final minute of the half, but could not secure the interception.
“If we pick that one off, we’re there,” Gildehaus said.
Borgia closed to 28-24 with 3:58 to go in the third quarter on a one-yard pitch from Baumstark to Jacob Haskins. Schriewer’s kick cut it to 28-24, but the Knights did not score again and Westminster added the final three touchdowns, all on runs. Bond scored on an eight-yard run, Hicks ran in from 18 yards out and Alex Rideout scored on a 47-yard sweep late in the game.
Gildehaus got all of his healthy seniors into the game, something he was happy to do.
“Every senior was on the field when they scored that last touchdown,” Gildehaus said. “The most important thing was that kids got to play. This might be the last time the seniors get to play on this field, unless we can knock off two very good teams down the road.”
Westminster completed 11 of 22 attempts for 215 yards and ran 41 times for 241 yards.
Borgia ran 33 times for 225 yards and completed 16 of 26 pass attempts for 157 yards.
Bond led the Wildcats with 18 carries for 87 yards while Rideout had seven carries for 76 yards. Trey Merritt was next with 12 carries for 57 yards.
Bond was 10-21 for 187 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Kinner had one pass for a touchdown.
Tyler Catlett led Westminster in receiving with four catches for 60 yards. Kinner caught two passes for 78 yards while Hicks had three catches for 40 yards.
Defensively, Jesse Gruneisen had 11 total tackles while Nye ended with nine and Chris Cacciarelli added seven.
Baumstark led Borgia with 21 carries for 161 yards. Ray Smith ran the ball seven times for 39 yards and Haskins picked up 25 yards on four carries.
Baumstark completed 15 of 24 pass attempts for 172 yard and three interceptions.
“I thought John threw the ball extremely well,” Gildehaus said. “We dropped some passes which is uncharacteristic. We fumbled the ball and that normally doesn’t happen.”
Justin Baylard completed one of two attempts for -15 yards.
Tony Helfrich caught seven passes for 57 yards. Haskins caught four passes for 52 yards.
Vossbrink had two catches for 30 yards while Smith caught two passes for eight yards. Dominic Struckhoff had one reception for 10 yards.
“All we can do is go back to work,” Gildehaus said.