It was the Kelan Winters show as the Borgia Knights improved to 3-2 overall and 2-1 in Archdiocesan Athletic Association Large Division play Friday with a 34-7 home win over St. Dominic (3-2, 1-1).
Through the first half, the rivalry game was one-sided as the host Knights dominated play.
Borgia got three touchdowns from Winters, a sophomore, to take a 21-0 lead at the intermission.
Winters scored on the second play from scrimmage, channeling his inner-Frank Gore by breaking free for a 46-yard touchdown over the right side. The score came with 11:16 left in the first quarter.
The extra-point snap led to a broken play and holder Todd Kleekamp scrambled until he found Brandon Guehne in the end zone for a two-point conversion.
Winters scored again on a 24-yard run down the left sideline with 3:59 left in the first quarter. Borgia again struggled with the extra point and this time Kleekamp was tackled for a loss.
The teams struggled through the second quarter. Borgia scored the only touchdown of the period. A long pass from Justin Baylard to Drake Raftery set up Borgia’s touchdown.
Raftery had to adjust to the ball, which was short, in the middle of coverage. That set up a one-yard run by Winters with 1:01 to play in the half. Jacob Grellner, kicking in place of the injured Jake Erwin (dislocated shoulder in Thursday’s soccer game), converted the extra point to make it 21-0.
The Crusaders took the kickoff in the second half and stalled out just past the 30. The punt went to the Borgia 44 where it was downed with 9:16 to play in the quarter.
Borgia is finally starting to get healthy again and both Dominic Struckhoff and Dean Lockhart made an impact in the game.
Struckhoff picked up a huge first down into St. Dominic territory on the first Borgia drive of the second quarter. At times, both Struckhoff and Lockhart lined up in the backfield.
If Borgia had a major problem other than the long snapping, it was penalties. The Knights were hit several times by penalties which slowed down Borgia’s offense throughout the game.
Brett Snider followed up the failed drive with a 42-yard punt.
Luke Mennemeier followed that with a 14-yard keeper on the first play, one of the longest gains of the night for the Crusaders.
Tony Papa burst up the middle to take the ball into Borgia territory, and adjustments made by the Crusaders paid dividends in the middle part of the third quarter.
Borgia stopped the Crusaders, but took another offsides penalty to give St. Dominic a short fourth down chance. However, Baylard broke up a pass which would have gone for the first down, to return the ball to the Knights at the Borgia 35 with 3:16 left on the clock.
The Winters show continued a few plays later. This time, he went 59 yards down the left sideline for his fourth score of the night. The extra-point kick failed and Borgia led 27-0 with 1:46 left in the third quarter.
Early in the fourth quarter, St. Dominic’s Max Mathews had a sure pick-six, but the pass from Winters hit him in the pads and bounced away.
Borgia’s snapping woes led to a failed punt, giving St. Dominic the ball at the Borgia 24 with 8:54 to play.
The Crusaders needed one play to score as quarterback Luke Mennemeier went 24 yards down the left sideline to put St. Dominic on the scoreboard with 8:40 to play. Alex Castulik’s kick made it 27-7.
St. Dominic tried an onside kick, but Borgia covered and drove into St. Dominic territory.
With 4:48 to play, someone other than Winters got into the end zone for the Knights. Baylard hit Raftery with a swing pass around the right side and he took it the rest of the way for a 15-yard score with 4:46 to play. Grellner kicked the extra point to make it 34-7.
St. Dominic’s final drive ended near midfield on a fourth-down stop by Borgia with less than a minute to go.
The Knights assumed the victory formation and ran out the clock.
BOR - Kelan Winters 46 run (Brandon Guehne pass from Todd Kleekamp), 11:16
BOR - Winters 24 run (run failed), 3:59
BOR - Winters 1 run (Jacob Grellner kick), 1:01
BOR - Winters 59 run (kick failed), 1:46
SD - Luke Mennemeier 24 run (Alex Castulik), 8:40
BOR - Drake Raftery 15 pass from Justin Baylard (Grellner kick), 4:46