Welcome back, St. Francis Borgia Regional Knights.
Borgia (3-3, 1-1) returned from a one-week hiatus due to COVID-19 quarantines and injuries to stun Archdiocesan Athletic Association Large Division rival St. Dominic (4-3, 1-1) Friday at home, 30-9.
It was enough to make Head Coach Dale Gildehaus dance with the team and student fans after the game.
“For what the kids have been through the last two weeks, with the entire student body having as many kids as we’ve had quarantined, you could tell the kids are very nervous,” Gildehaus said. “They wonder if it could happen to them. The softball team is done. The volleyball and boys soccer teams have had quarantines. These kids need to be able to let go. If I can do silly things and sing, dance and the kids have some fun, I think that’s what this game is about.”
For quarterback Sam Heggemann, who last played in Week 4 against Helias, it was a huge event.
“This game was a team win,” Heggemann said. “We had to make plays. The whole team made plays and we got it done.”
Senior Tyler Stieffermann said it was a big event to beat St. Dominic, which has become a major rival in the AAA Large Division.
“They’re up there,” Stieffermann said. “Every year, we mark this game on the calendar. We can’t wait to play St. Dominic. It’s good to get this win tonight.”
Borgia only found the end zone three times, but did that in the second quarter to break open what had been an offensive struggle.
“The biggest thing was that they were trying to take away our inside run,” Gildehaus said. “We thought we could get outside. Then, we went under, saw what they were doing and tried to take advantage of it. Coach Spencer Unnerstall did a great job. Some of the plays were old school, like the old Rolla Special. (Tyler) Stieffermann scored on it. Sometimes you have to throw the ball well to be able to run. Sam Heggemann put the ball on the money and the receivers made good catches.”
After Jake Nowak scored the only points of the first quarter on a 19-yard field goal for the Knights, Borgia’s combination of Heggemann and Stieffermann contributed the next three touchdowns.
Heggemann ran in from a yard out with 6:10 to go in the half.
He then hit Stieffermann for a quick pass down the middle which turned into the game’s signature play, an 87-yard touchdown with 2:56 to go in the half.
Stieffermann added a five-yard touchdown run with 22.9 seconds left in the half.
In the third quarter, St. Dominic finally got on the scoreboard with a Jack Heinrich 28-yard field goal with 6:34 to go in the quarter, but Borgia matched with a Nowak field goal and it was 27-3 going to the fourth quarter.
Ryan Schwendeman scored on a one-yard carry in the fourth quarter for the Crusaders, but that was the only touchdown Borgia yielded. Nowak kicked a final field goal to give Borgia its 30-9 margin of victory.
“Tonight, I thought our defense was much more physical,” Gildehaus said. “That’s what we worked on. We needed to be a little more physical.”
With the win, Borgia remained second in the Class 3 District 3 standings with 44.86 points.
Lutheran North won its second consecutive game since returning to the field and has 58 points to lead the district.
Orchard Farm (4-3) is third at 37.49 points. Wright City (3-4, 25.36) is fourth with Herculaneum (1-4, 24.78) fifth, Winfield (0-7, 17.1) sixth and Priory (0-1, 7.0) rounding out the district standings.
Week 8 Preview
The Knights hit the road Friday to play at Hillsboro with kickoff at 7 p.m.
“Hillsboro always is good,” Gildehaus said. “They have great speed. We’re going to have to get better. We believe our schedule has prepared us for a game like this.”
The Hawks (4-3) are second in the Class 4 District 1 standings to undefeated Festus.
Hillsboro has defeated Cape Central (47-20), North County (36-14), Windsor (64-42) and De Soto (54-34).
Losses have come against Northwest (37-27), Jackson (55-14) and Festus (41-26).
Jaxin Patterson is the player to watch offensively and he’s already surpassed the 1,000-yard rushing mark this season. Patterson has carried the ball 146 times for 1,041 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Austin Romaine has carried the ball 76 times for 713 yards and nine touchdowns.
Both Tyler Watson (243 yards) and John Bennett (231 yards) are capable running threats as well.
Griffin Ray is the team’s quarterback and he’s completed 31 of 61 pass attempts for 509 yards, four touchdowns and six interceptions.
Watson is the top receiver with 12 catches for 221 yards and three touchdowns. Romaine has caught five passes for 121 yards.
Defensively, Romaine leads the team in tackles with 49. He also has four sacks and three fumble recoveries.
Zach McNees has eight quarterback sacks so far. Patterson has intercepted two passes.
For anyone who can’t make the game, it will be broadcast on KLPW as the Sports Stream contest.
The Knights were able to shut down the St. Dominic offense for most of the game. The Crusaders picked up 272 total yards with 124 on the ground and 148 through the air.
Borgia’s defense held the Crusaders to just nine first downs. St. Dominic converted only one of nine third-down attempts and turned the ball over four times.
Offensively, the Knights did enough to win. Borgia amassed 13 first downs and went 6-13 on third-down attempts.
Borgia ran for 120 yards and threw for 233.
St. Dominic was penalized 11 times for 80 yards while the Knights took four penalties for 20 yards.
Heggemann completed 10 of 19 pass attempts for 233 yards and one touchdown.
He spread the ball around. Stieffermann had three catches for 154 yards and a touchdown. Sam Schmidt grabbed three passes for 36 yards and Andrew Patton pulled in three passes for 23 yards. Ryan Kell added one catch for 20 yards.
“Sam had a career game tonight,” Gildehaus said.
Heggemann ended as Borgia’s top rusher with 14 carries for 65 yards and one score.
Alonzo MacDonald gained 52 yards on 16 carries. Stieffermann had two rushes for two yards and a touchdown. Schmidt ran once for one yard.
Defensively, Schmidt was everywhere, gathering six tackles, five assists and a sack.
Gavin Mueller had eight solo stops and a fumble recovery.
Brynner Frankenberg had eight tackles. Patton ended with seven and an interception.
Kell had four tackles and five assists.
Among the linemen, JJ McCubbin recorded six total tackles.
Borgia came up with four takeaways during the game while not turning the ball over once.
Mueller recovered a fumble, which set up Borgia’s opening score.
Kell, Patton and Spencer Breckenkamp intercepted passes. Breckenkamp’s interception late in the fourth quarter sealed the victory.
Breckenkamp had played both ways in Borgia’s homecoming game against O’Fallon Christian. He was the quarterback in Heggemann’s absence.
“That’s something we had not been getting,” Gildehaus said. “Tonight, we were able to take advantage of turnovers and put points on the board.”
Nowak came through with field goals of 19, 22 and 25 yards to supplement his extra-point kicks on the three touchdowns.
Heggemann averaged 34.75 yards per punt, including one which was downed on the St. Dominic one-yard line.
Nowak and Zach Mort kept St. Dominic’s return team off balance with a variety of kickoff styles.
StD - 0-0-3-6=9
BOR - 3-21-3-3=30
BOR - Jake Nowak 19 FG, 7:17
BOR - Sam Heggemann 1 run (Nowak kick), 6:10
BOR - Tyler Stieffermann 87 pass from Heggemann (Nowak kick), 2:56
BOR - Stieffermann 5 run (Nowak kick), 0:22.9
StD - Jack Heinrich 28 FG, 6:34
BOR - Nowak 22 FG, 0:18.2
StD - Ryan Schwendeman 1 run (pass failed), 8:14
BOR - Nowak 25 FG, 3:49
St. Dominic — Overton 22-97, Serri 6-22, Schwendeman 2-7-1.
Borgia — Heggemann 14-65-1, MacDonald 16-52, Stieffermann 2-2-1, Schmidt 1-1.
St. Dominic — Serri 13-25-146-0-3
Borgia — Heggemann 10-19-233-1-0.
St. Dominic — Cross 4-33, Whitt 3-47, Overton 3-33, Schwendeman 3-32.
Borgia — Stieffermann 3-154-1, Schmidt 3-36, Patton 3-23, Kell 1-20.
St. Dominic — Cross 12, Thomas 11, Schwendeman 8, Hirtz 7, Fox 5, Courtois 4, Kelly 4.
Borgia — Schmidt 11, Kell 9, Frankenberg 8, Mueller 8, Patton 7, McCubbin 6, Swoboda 5, Engemann 4, Breckenkamp 3, Schroeder 3.