Striking early and scoring often, the Borgia football Knights blasted Festus Friday on senior night, 48-0.
Borgia (8-0) rolled out to 14 points in the opening quarter and was up 42-0 at the half.
“We tried to get a lot of seniors to touch the ball,” Borgia Head Coach Dale Gildehaus said. “They did a heck of a job. Our line did an outstanding job. The entire defensive line also was outstanding.”
The Knights were methodical both offensively and defensively against the Tigers (4-4). Borgia pushed into scoring position on all but one possession, a fumbled punt return.
Meanwhile, Borgia did not allow Festus to gain a first down until the second half. Borgia outgained the Tigers, 419-25 for the contest.
“Defense wins championships, plain and simple,” Gildehaus said. “If we’re going to continue to win, we’ve got to play great defense.”
Borgia honored its 20 seniors prior to the game and four of them made it to the end zone.
Justin Heggemann scored twice while Chris Hellebusch, Matt Piontek and Drew Piontek also scored.
Senior quarterback Jacob Unnerstall threw for one of the touchdowns and Matt Piontek found his brother, Drew, for the last score of the half on a trick play.
“We put Matt in there and ran the reverse option and came back,” Gildehaus said. “He’s a left-handed kid. What better thing to have Matt throw to Drew.”
Junior Louie Eckelkamp also scored twice and freshman Jake Nowak kicked six extra points.
Borgia rolled up 419 yards in total offense with 262 on the ground and 157 through the air.
The Knights achieved 16 first downs and were 4-7 on third-down conversions. Borgia was penalized six times for 50 yards.
Festus had 25 total yards with 20 on the ground and five through the air. The Tigers posed three first downs and were 2-11 on third-down conversions. Festus was penalized once for five yards.
Over 10 different Borgia players carried the ball in the game.
“If you can run the ball successfully, I’m fine with that,” Gildehaus said. “Just pound the thing down their throat and don’t worry about anything else.”
Louie Eckelkamp had three carries for 52 yards. Julian Reifschneider ran twice for 50 yards.
Justin Heggemann posted seven rushes for 35 yards. Cole Meyer ran once for 30 yards before suffering a collarbone injury.
Jacob Unnerstall ran five times for 27 yards. Matthew Sinnott had two carries for 20 yards. Dylan Hellebusch ran three times for 15 yards. Drew Piontek had one carry for 10 yards. Chris Hellebusch carried three times for four yards and Matt Piontek ran once for three yards.
Unnerstall completed five of eight attempts for 130 yards and a touchdown.
“Jacob made some great calls at the line of scrimmage,” Gildehaus said. “We would call two plays. Jacob read the defense and called the play that was there. He’s turning into an outstanding quarterback.”
Matt Piontek completed his only attempt for a 27-yard touchdown to his brother, Drew Piontek.
Ryan Zeitzmann caught two passes for 50 yards. Drew Piontek had two catches for 42 yards. Matt Piontek caught a pass for 46 yards and Heggemann took a screen pass 19 yards for a touchdown.
Sinnott and Chris Hellebusch each had six total tackles. Sinnott also had three assists and a sack.
Dylan Hellebusch had five tackles with three assists and a fumble recovery. Adonis LaBeaume and Justin Thacker each had four total tackles.
“When Adonis went in, he was a man out there,” Gildehaus said. “He just dominated up front.”
Matt Piontek intercepted a pass and broke up another one.
“Matt has been the silent one in the secondary,” Gildehaus said. “He’s a heck of a ballplayer. Matt and Drew came back to us this year and they have made us better with speed, depth and confidence.”
Braedyn Frankenberg blocked a punt.
Gildehaus knows Saturday’s game won’t be optimal with the district playoffs starting the following Friday, but the lure of clinching the district title will drive the team forward.
“We want to go 9-0,” said Gildehaus. “We want to have Games 10, 11 and 12 at home.”
The Knights and Westminster have a long history of playing each other and in recent years, the Wildcats have dominated the series.
“In 2014, we were 8-0 and we went down there and they spanked us,” Gildehaus said. “They were saying we didn’t play very good competition. They beat us seven years in a row and twice in three years. It’s the district championship on the line.”
Borgia finally broke that run last year in the playoff game in Town and Country after Westminster won the regular season finale at Borgia to knock the Knights out of a hosting position for the first round.
The Knights also are looking to defend the top spot in the Class 4 District 4 standings. Borgia leads with 47.82 points with Rolla (42.48) and St. Clair (42.39) within striking distance.
Westminster enters the game at 4-4, ranked sixth in the district with 30.88 points.
Gildehaus knows Borgia has to continue to fight hard to hold onto the top spot and playing at home during the district playoffs will be a big boost.
Westminster has wins over St. Dominic, John Burroughs, Priory and O’Fallon Christian. The Wildcats have been beaten by St. Mary’s, Lutheran North, Lutheran South and MICDS.
St. Mary’s, St. Dominic and O’Fallon Christian are common opponents.
On the ground, Atlin Hall (717 yards, 10 touchdowns) and LB Battle (563 yards, six touchdowns) have been the top running backs for Westminster. Denver Parker has run for 211 yards with two scores.
Chad Briden has been the team’s top quarterback, completing 40 of 65 attempts for 472 yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions.
Top receivers have been Jeremiah Thompson (12 catches for 179 yards and two touchdowns) and Levi Alldredge (six catches for 158 yards and three touchdowns).
Defensively, Parker, Isaac Johnston and Charlie McCracken have been top tacklers.
Johnston leads the team with three sacks. Lane Davis, Caleb Layton and Thompson have recovered two fumbles apiece. Davis and John Fregene have one interception each.
Andrew Kempen has hit five field goals to go with 25 extra points.