Playing Friday night in south St. Louis, the Borgia Knights learned the meaning of that word.
Borgia rallied from deficits three times to defeat the Bishop DuBourg Cavaliers, 29-22.
“The thing that impressed me with my kids tonight was that we got down, but we didn’t quit,” said Borgia Head Coach Dale Gildehaus. “We made plays. There’s still work to be done though. It was an exciting Friday night football game. . . They thought they could get us and they darned near did.”
The Knights (4-2, 3-1) needed everything in the arsenal to hold off the Cavaliers (2-4, 0-3) to capture at least second place in the Archdiocesan Athletic Association with the victory.
“DuBourg has made quite an improvement,” Gildehaus said. “Give Dan Borkowski credit. He’s done an outstanding job of coaching. They just continue to improve.”
That could improve should St. Dominic defeat Duchesne this Friday.
Borgia concluded league play in the contest. The Knights lost only to Duchesne and then came back to win over St. Mary’s, St. Dominic and Bishop DuBourg.
“You never want to finish second, but that’s better than third or fourth,” Gildehaus said. “That’s a big accomplishment for us this year.”
In Friday’s contest, the Knights had to stay the course to pick up the victory. Borgia had a number of key plays which led to the win.
Key Play No. 1
Taking the lead for the final time, the Knights needed a two-point conversion to be able to make it a seven-point advantage with 7:27 to play.
“You never know what’s going to happen on any given play,” Gildehaus said. “You play your best and your hardest.”
Quarterback Justin Baylard started the play, but seemed to be stopped well before the goal line.
He passed the ball to Kelan Winters, who made the catch short of the goal line and also seemed to be stopped.
However, Winters spotted Drake Raftery, who was running to the outside. Winters tossed Raftery the ball while going down and Raftery ran in for the two-point conversion.
“Kelan used his quarterback skills right there and Drake made a play,” Gildehaus said. “That’s a big, big play right there. That could have been the difference in the ballgame, especially if they would have scored again”
Key Play No. 2
Bounces don’t come any more fortunate than the one which wound up in the hands of Logan Bell late in the second quarter.
With DuBourg holding a 7-0 lead and having the ball near the DuBourg 10, the Cavaliers fumbled a handoff. The ball went down and bounced up off the grass surface right to Bell, who hauled it down to the DuBourg one before he was stopped.
The turnover was just what the Knights needed at that moment to finally break through after a frustrating first quarter.
Key Play No. 3
Seldom does a play work as it’s drawn up. Borgia’s first play from scrimmage in the second half was the exception to that rule.
“We made some adjustments at halftime on our blocking assignments,” Gildehaus said. “The first one we scored in the second half went exactly like we drew it up on the board and Kelan was gone. He’s just a playmaker.”
The Knights opened a hole for Winters and he broke free for a 50-yard touchdown with 8:11 to play in the quarter. The score gave Borgia its first lead of the game. While that lasted just 1:05, it was a key for the Knights showing them they could overcome a sluggish start and win the game.
Nobody who saw the game will call it one of the prettiest they’ve ever seen. The teams combined for 160 yards in penalties. DuBourg was whistled 14 times for 100 yards with false starts being the most popular infraction. Borgia was called for fouls nine times for 60 yards.
DuBourg outrushed Borgia in the game, 190-181. Borgia passed for more yardage, 144-111. That gave both teams over 300 total yards for the game. Borgia had 325 to 301 for the Cavaliers.
On the ground, Winters led the Knights with 99 rushing yards on 12 carries.
Baylard also had 12 carries for 37 yards. Dominic Struckhoff ran six times for 45 yards with most of that coming in the second half.
Through the air, Baylard completed seven of 18 chances, with most of the completions coming in the second half. He threw for 144 yards and one touchdown.
On the receiving end, Raftery was the top target with two receptions for 63 yards and one score. Winters caught two passes for 45 yards. Tyler Breckenkamp grabbed two passes for 31 yards. Struckhoff had one catch for five yards.
Defensively, John Hannenken was the top tackler with 16 total stops and one sack.
“He played offensive guard and defensive tackle last year,” Gildehaus said. “We moved him to linebacker and he’s an all-conference caliber kid. He’s the key to our defense right now.”
Bell had 14 total tackles with one sack and one fumble recovery.
Brandon Guehne had 13 total tackles and a fumble recovery. Dylan Voss made 10 total stops. Todd Kleekamp had nine tackles and one interception. Max Baker also made nine tackles.
Struckhoff intercepted a pass in the fourth quarter.
DuBourg features a young squad with just three seniors.
Two of the most exciting players on offense are just sophomores. One of them, Maurion Warren, led the team in rushing with 13 carries for 125 yards.
Unfortunately, Warren was not out there at the end of the game. He was ejected after his second unsportsmanlike conduct penalty with 7:06 left in the third quarter. The foul came on a touchdown run and took one of the most exciting athletes on the field out of the contest.
Thomas Kinney, DuBourg’s sophomore quarterback, ran five times for 35 yards. Stafford Green had 16 carries for 32 yards while William Kayser had 10 carries for 27 yards. Erik Warren hauled the ball once for four yards.
Through the air, Kinney was 6-13 for 108 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
“The kid throws the ball well,” Gildehaus said. “They’re an improving team. Last year, these kids were freshmen. There are sophomores and juniors on their team now.”
Green caught three passes for 67 yards. HG King was next with two catches for 26 yards and Jacob Simonds caught one pass for 15 yards.
Green, a junior, returned two punts for 75 yards and was a threat any time he touched the ball.
Kinney and Matthew Davis recovered fumbles.
Ron Warren posted two sacks while Davis and Ryan Warren each had one sack.
Kayser was DuBourg’s top tackler with 11 total stops. Ron Warren had seven while Kinney ended with six.
Borgia gets no favors down the stretch, starting with this week’s game at Westminster Christian Academy (5-1).
The game is a Saturday contest set for 1 p.m. at the Town and Country campus. It’s located south of Interstate 64 at the end of Maryville Centre Drive.
“We get Hunter Warmack back next week, but we’re going to need a lot for that Westminster team,” Gildehaus said.
The Wildcats are a state-ranked school and the only loss they’ve suffered came last Saturday to undefeated John Burroughs, 30-7.
Westminster has beaten Illinois school Wheaton Academy (44-0), MICDS (34-14), Lutheran North (31-14), Lutheran South (56-14) and Priory (20-18).
As things stand heading into the game, the Knights are ranked sixth in Class 4 District 3 while Westminster holds down second place.
“All I’m asking is to get better next week and be competitive,” Gildehaus said.
Brett Bond leads the Westminster offense. Through the air, he’s completed 38 of 77 attempts for 524 yards, five touchdowns and three interceptions.
On the ground, he has run 68 times for 411 yards and eight scores.
“That quarterback may be as good, or better than Union’s quarterback,” Gildehaus said.
Trey Merritt is the top rusher with 95 carries for 584 yards and six touchdowns.
Through the air, Kyle Kinner has been Bond’s favorite target with 19 catches for 370 yards and three touchdowns.
Defensively, Bond has six interceptions to go with 27 total tackles.
Travis Ralls is the team’s top tackler with 42 total stops, two more than Blake Sutphen.
DUB - Stafford Green 12 run (Jeff Schwartz kick), 1:15
BOR - Justin Baylard 1 run (Jacob Grellner kick), 7:48
BOR - Kelan Winters 50 run (kick failed), 8:11
DUB - Maurion Warren 38 run (Schwartz kick), 7:06
BOR - Drake Raftery 55 pass from Baylard (Tyler Breckenkamp pass from Baylard), 5:22
DUB - Green 44 pass from Kinney (Matthew Davis pass from Kinney), 2:09
BOR - Baylard 1 run (Raftery lateral from Winters after pass from Baylard), 7:27