For the moment, the Borgia football Knights will savor their homecoming victory.
But the Knights know that the homestretch of the regular season will be brutal.
Borgia (4-2, 2-2) finished their Archdiocesan Athletic Association schedule Friday with a 49-7 win over Bishop DuBourg. And while the Knights became the first team this season to allow DuBourg to score, Borgia controlled most aspects of the game.
“This is a night the seniors will never forget,” Borgia Head Coach Dale Gildehaus said. “It’s against a team that is building, but we had our young kids in there, too.”
Gildehaus cited both league and district implications of the win.
“It’s a conference win and it gives us the chance to move up in the district standings,” said Gildehaus. “That’s important. Next week will be the biggest ballgame of the year, because it could be for homefield advantage in Week 10.”
The Knights play their final scheduled home game Friday night, hosting Westminster. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
The Knights appear to have their playoff destiny in their hands. The final three games of the regular season are against three district opponents.
Heading into Friday’s game against Westminster, the Knights are tied with the Wildcats for fifth in the district. Both teams are 4-2 overall and have 35.67 points accumulated in the district standings.
“It’s going to be a game of turnovers,” Gildehaus predicted. “If we can get three turnovers, we’ll win the ballgame.”
Borgia’s strength of schedule rating should increase over the final two weeks. The Knights go on the road to play St. Clair (5-1) in Week 8. The Bulldogs currently rank second in the district with 43.66 points.
And, in Week 9, Borgia visits Sullivan (6-0), which leads the district with 49.33 points.
The top four teams in the district will host games in Week 10. Currently, the Knights have to leap past Priory (4-2) to host a playoff game. The Rebels are one point ahead of Borgia.
Ladue (4-2) is third in the district at 39.34 points heading into this week’s game against archrival Clayton (5-1).
For the most part, the Knights moved the ball at will against the Cavaliers Friday night.
Borgia managed a special teams score, an 88-yard punt return by Ray Smith, on the team’s first touch of the game.
“We work extremely hard on special teams,” Gildehaus said. “Glenn Roehrig and Tommy Miller do a great job with them. The wall was set up perfectly for it. That’s something we work hard on in practice. Ray’s got great speed, but the wall was set up as well. To get up 7-0 before you even touch the ball offensively is pretty special.”
When Borgia finally sent the offense onto the field, the Knights needed just two plays to score again as quarterback John Baumstark broke loose for a 37-yard touchdown and the Knights led 14-0 after just 5:54 of action.
“We want to keep getting better,” Gildehaus said. “I thought John did some great things rolling and working on things. I thought our offensive line got off the ball better.”
Borgia jumped out to a 28-0 lead after one quarter and led 35-0 at the intermission.
“We could have put more points on the board, but it was not as important as getting better in blocking and tackling,” Gildehaus said. “We did a nice job of blocking. I thought Matt Dobsch looked the best in blocking. Robbie Vossbrink did a super job in blocking.”
The Knights were able to break the big plays in the game as well. Five of Borgia’s touchdowns were for 30 yards or longer.
That included a 30-yard touchdown pass from Baumstark to Tony Helfrich, a 68-yard run by Ray Smith and a 53-yard touchdown pass from Justin Baylard to Brandon Guehne.
“At the time of the last touchdown (from Baylard to Guehne),” Gildehaus said, “we had our third teamers in there and they’re firing everybody. You’ve got to give your kids the chance to play.”
Borgia rolled up 293 rushing yards in the game and added 148 yards through the air.
“Most importantly, we ran the ball very well,” Gildehaus said. “Anything we really wanted to do running the ball, we did. We can get better and we’ll go back to work Monday.”
DuBourg had some positives in the game. The Cavaliers ran the ball 36 times for 62 yards and completed five of 11 pass attempts for 109 yards and one score. The fourth quarter touchdown came against Borgia reserves, but still marked the first time the freshman-dominated Cavaliers had scored this season.
“They scored, but that’s OK,” Gildehaus said. “A lot of our kids got the opportunity to play.”
Tom Kinney was 4-10 for 108 yards and a touchdown. Stafford Green had four catches for 105 yards, including a 23-yard touchdown which proved to be DuBourg’s first points of the season.
Green nearly broke away a few plays before the scoring pass in the fourth quarter, making a one-handed grab near the sidelines. However, Borgia was able to track him down for the stop.
For the Knights, Smith topped the century mark in rushing yardage with 123 yards on four carries.
Jacob Haskins hauled the ball five times for 60 yards. Baumstark had two carries for 47 yards and his replacement at quarterback, Baylard, had seven carries for 34 yards.
Josh Kleekamp picked up 30 yards on five carries.
Baumstark completed all six of his pass attempts for 73 yards and one touchdown.
Baylard completed three of six attempts for 75 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
Preston Marquart caught three passes for 30 yards. Helfrich had two receptions for 30 yards and Robbie Vossbrink had two catches for 24 yards.
Guehne had the 53-yard touchdown catch. Haskins caught one ball for 11 yards.
DuBourg did have the ball for a considerable amount of time and that meant that a number of Knights were able to post defensive statistics.
Borgia did not take advantage of a single turnover. Helfrich did record two sacks to go with four tackles and an assist.
Borgia’s top tackler was Kleekamp with six solo stops.
Nick Monzyk ended with five tackles and an assist.
Evan Zeitzmann recorded four tackles and seven assists. Clayton Pezold added four assists to his four tackles. Vossbrink and Nick Jacquin also had four tackles. Vossbrink had one assist while Jacquin added two.
“I thought our defensive line, Jacob Long, Connor Lebsack and Nick Monzyk probably had their best game of the year,” said Gildehaus.
Luke Schriewer kicked six extra points while Jake Erwin added one.
One of Schriewer’s successful extra points was from 35 yards due to penalty.
“Luke is a very good kicker. That’s huge. Against the teams coming up, a field goal could be huge,” Gildehaus said.
“We learned a lot from this game,” Gildehaus said. “It’s a win, we take it and now we try to get better in Week 7.”
BOR - Ray Smith 88 punt return (Luke Schriewer kick), 8:06
BOR - John Baumstark 37 run (Schriewer kick), 6:06
BOR - Tony Helfrich 30 pass from Baumstark (Schriewer kick), 3:11
BOR - Smith 68 run (Schriewer kick), 0:4.5
BOR - Baumstark 10 run (Schriewer kick), 8:48
BOR - Justin Baylard 5 run (Schriewer kick), 8:43
BD - Stafford Green 23 pass from Thomas Kinney (Jeff Schwartz kick), 6:27
BOR - Brandon Guehne 53 pass from Baylard (Jake Erwin kick), 3:41