It wasn’t a game.
It was a rout.
St. Francis Borgia Regional exercised last year’s district championship game loss to the Rolla Bulldogs with a 52-14 triumph Friday night at Borgia.
“On this night, the kids gave their ultimate,” Borgia Head Coach Dale Gildehaus said. “Every coach wants his kids to leave everything on the field. On this day, I can honestly say our kids left it all on the field. They gave everything tonight and they were rewarded with the victory.”
Senior linebacker Matthew Sinnott said the team wasn’t happy with how the season ended in 2017.
“It feels great, to be honest,” Sinnott said. “It feels good to get some revenge from last year. We really thought we had it last year and felt we had a really good team. We came into this game with a chip on our shoulder after losing a home game last year. The win tonight really felt good.”
Senior running back Louie Eckelkamp agreed.
“It feels great,” Eckelkamp said. “They knocked us off on this field last year. Once we knew we were going to get the opportunity to play them again on our turf, we were excited and we were all champing at the bit. We were ready to go. We proved some people wrong again. We’re ready to keep going.”
Borgia (10-1) advances to visit Camdenton (10-1) Friday at 7 p.m. for the Class 4 District 5 championship.
Rolla ended its season with a 7-4 record.
The game went similar to others this season as the Knights were slow to get started offensively at the beginning, but also shut down Rolla’s offense.
“That’s been our thing this year,” Eckelkamp said. “Sometimes it takes a little time to figure things out. We’re really good about making adjustments. Once we make those adjustments, normally we can get to the second level and start opening things up. We get the run game going a little bit and that opens up the pass game up and we can run away with things.”
Defensively, the Knights extended their shutout string for another half before Rolla got two touchdowns in the third quarter, but Borgia was able to match both scores and add more in the fourth quarter.
Borgia took advantage of three scoring plays of 75 yards or longer in the game.
Gildehaus knows Friday’s game is going to be a massive one from many different angles.
“The kids aren’t satisfied,” Gildehaus said. “The kids want to win next week and come back home. That’s the goal. We’re in Week 12. We’re the last team in the area. That’s something to be proud of. I’m proud of St. Francis Borgia Regional High School for allowing me to be here. What these kids have accomplished, we’re proud of it.”
First, it will be Borgia’s longest road trip in years. Camdenton is located near Lake of the Ozarks, a haul by any route.
He also knows that Camdenton is a skilled team with plenty of speed.
Normally, quarterback Paxton Delaurent is Camdenton’s playmaker. However, with fog rolling in during the 57-35 win over Helias last Friday, Delaurent was held down a bit. He completed 12 of 20 passes for 172 yards and one score.
For the season, he’s 222-342 for 3,142 yards, 38 touchdowns and five interceptions.
Eli Griffin led the running attack with 20 carries for 112 yards and three touchdowns. Andrew Butts carried the ball 12 times for 79 yards and two scores.
Griffin has run for 11 touchdowns this season. Delaurent is next with six rushing touchdowns.
Lathan Wise was the top receiver with two receptions for 66 yards and a touchdown.
Wise, Gabe Kurtz, Cash Calton, Jaben Shockley and Dylan Tufts are top receiving threats.
Wise, Calton, Delaurent, Kurtz, Shockley and Griffin have scored 10 touchdowns apiece this season.
Kurtz is the team’s top tackler. Skyler England and Kurtz have intercepted three passes apiece.
Camdenton has blocked three punts this season.
Borgia’s offense was balanced. Of the 457 yards, Borgia ran for 239 yards and threw for 218.
Borgia recorded 17 first downs and went 4-11 on third downs. The Knights were penalized 11 times for 77 yards. Borgia took advantage of four turnovers and lost one fumble.
Rolla gained 125 yards through the air while running for 52. The Bulldogs had 12 first downs and went 4-12 on third downs. Rolla had five penalties for 46 yards.
Cole Meyer started at quarterback, completing one of three attempts for a four-yard loss.
Sam Heggemann went 8-9 for 222 yards and three touchdowns.
Louie Eckelkamp paced the Knights with 27 carries for 150 yards and three touchdowns.
Tyler Stieffermann had three carries for 64 yards.
Meyer ran four times for 27 yards.
“We moved Cole Meyer to quarterback simply to put the ball into his hands and he comes through for us,” Gildehaus said.
Alonzo MacDonald gained 10 yards on one carry. Tyler Glosemeyer had one carry for five yards.
Stieffermann caught a pass for an 81-yard touchdown.
“I was just trying to concentrate on the ball,” Stieffermann said. “It was a lucky play and we got the touchdown on it.”
Meyer had one reception for a 75-yard score. Glosemeyer caught three passes for 35 yards and a 21-yard touchdown.
Joe Schmidt picked up a key first down to set up a touchdown in the second half. The pass went for 23 yards.
Nate Rickman had one reception for eight yards. Eckelkamp caught one pass for no yardage and Sam Schmidt lost four yards on a catch.
Defensively, Matthew Sinnott had eight solo tackles with a sack and a fumble recovery.
Adam Bell had nine tackles with a fumble recovery.
Stieffermann and Adam Molitor each had five tackles, Braedyn Frankenberg was next with four and Joey Bolte posted three tackles.
Eckelkamp moved into a defensive line spot in the second half and recorded a key sack. Adam Molitor and Bolte also had sacks.
Nick Dyson intercepted a pass and Meyer also recovered a fumble.
“Coach (Russ) Henderson always says use your eye discipline,” Meyer said about the defense. “Our defensive backs and linebackers used our eye discipline, stayed in our coverage and were smart about it. We know what we’re doing.”
Coming into the game, the Knights were looking to prove themselves to Rolla after last year’s 28-14 win in the district championship game.
The Knights also wanted to prove that they belonged with Rolla after being accused of being overrated prior to the game.
Both teams were hit hard by graduation following last season. The Knights didn’t have the best of starts in this year’s game, either. Borgia bobbled the opening kickoff return inside the 10 and the first play from scrimmage went for a four-yard loss.
It took a run by Meyer on third and 16 just to keep the drive alive.
“We came out and had our plays set up,” Meyer said. “We knew what we wanted to run. Those plays at the start didn’t work out too well, so we went back on the next play and I ran for the first down. We came back. After that series, we knew what we were up against, figured it out and started rolling.”
Borgia had the first scoring chance, but fumbled the ball away near the Rolla goal line.
Dyson’s interception soon after set up a 21-yard touchdown from Heggemann to Glosemeyer up the middle for the game’s first score. Roel Floes kicked the first of seven extra points to make it 7-0 with 2:48 to play in the opening quarter.
Early in the second quarter, the Knights came up with another big play. Heggemann hurled the ball down the right sideline and it was tipped by the Rolla defense.
However, it went right into the hands of Stieffermann, running at full stride, and nobody caught him. The play went 81 yards just 15 seconds into the second quarter.
And that wasn’t the longest play of the quarter, either.
Glosemeyer bobbled a punt, but secured the ball soon enough to make an 83-yard return for a touchdown with 9:26 to play in the half.
Borgia added a Flores field goal to make it 24-0 at the intermission.
Rolla wasn’t ready to give up and the Bulldogs quickly moved down the field to score just 1:22 into the quarter.
Trey Quick, a 1,600-yard rusher, scored from one yard out and then ran for the two-point conversion.
Borgia bashed back to get a six-yard run from Eckelkamp with 5:11 to play in the quarter. That was set up by the lob pass from Heggemann to Schmidt on third and long.
Rolla scored again with Jack Hounsom finding Roderick Young for a 23-yard score. This time the two-point conversion run failed.
Borgia came back with a 75-yard screen pass from Heggemann to Meyer with 1:26 left in the quarter. Flores added the extra point to make it 38-14 going to the final quarter.
That’s how it stood until the final five minutes of the game. Eckelkamp got loose for a 30-yard run with 4:51 to play and he scored again from three yards out with an estimated 50 seconds to go. The officials had the clock run following the touchdown.
“On that option, we finally got one,” Eckelkamp said. “We pulled when we needed to and the hole was there. There was nothing better than looking around and seeing just green field ahead of you. I couldn’t let anyone catch me from behind. I high-stepped a little at the end just to make sure nobody was grabbing at my ankles. Certainly, that sealed the deal. We knew we were going on at that point. We were just excited.”
Eckelkamp also made a sack during the final part of the game.
“This was a total team effort,” Gildehaus said. “How many times do you see a running back, Louie Eckelkamp, who runs for a score and then when your defensive linemen go down, go on defensive line. On his first play, he almost gets the sack and on his second play, he gets the sack. That’s why it was a team effort.”
Eckelkamp said he wanted to do whatever helped the team.
“Coach (Glenn) Roehrig told me at the half that some of the guys up front were getting tired,” Eckelkamp said. “They were playing hard all night and slanting and doing their job. He told me there was a chance I would get to go in at defensive end and to just get a pass rush and use my speed to get into the backfield. The two plays I was out there, I ended up doing that and getting a sack. I’ll remember that for the rest of my life. My teammates were going crazy. It was a great atmosphere. Everybody was having fun. It was a great time.”