Sam Heggemann ran for three touchdowns and threw for two more Friday as the St. Francis Borgia Regional football Knights rebounded with a 41-21 win at St. Dominic.
“Sam was on the money,” Borgia Head Coach Dale Gildehaus said. “I thought this was the best game of his career. He is quick, fast and runs away from people. He is our leader.”
Borgia improved to 4-2 overall and 3-0 in the Archdiocesan Athletic Association Large Division. The Knights play for the league title Friday at Cardinal Ritter (6-0, 3-0) at 7 p.m.
“We go back to work and we know Cardinal Ritter just pounds people,” Gildehaus said. “They’re good. We’ll battle them and let the chips fall where they may. We’re not going to back down.”
Looking to bounce back from a devastating 47-7 Homecoming loss to Helias, the Knights hit the road to face rival St. Dominic.
“To come from where we were offensively last week and do what we did tonight was something,” Gildehaus said.” We looked at what we were doing and we changed everything after last week.”
Heggemann Leads the Way
And it was Borgia’s junior quarterback leading the way.
Heggemann mixed running and passing plays while leading Borgia’s offense. Heggemann ran 16 times for 182 yards and three scores and completed nine of 13 pass attempts for 144 yards and two more touchdowns.
“Sam Heggemann just made outstanding decisions on the option and his reads on the passing game were just right on,” Gildehaus said.
Borgia did what it wanted offensively, running for 325 yards and passing for 144.
Following Heggemann, Alonzo MacDonald ran 18 times for 84 yards. Tyler Stieffermann had three carries for 50 yards. And Grayson Helm carried the ball once for nine yards.
“Alonzo MacDonald ran hard and didn’t go down,” Gildehaus said. “Tyler Stieffermann made some big plays. They did everything we asked of them tonight.”
Heggemann distributed the ball to eight different receivers. Stieffermann led the way with two catches for 55 yards and a touchdown.
Zach Hellebusch caught a 23-yard pass. Helm caught one pass for 21 yards. Andrew Patton had a catch for 16 yards and MacDonald caught a pass for 11 yards and a touchdown.
Nick Dyson had one catch for nine yards, Brandon Mitchell picked up eight yards on a catch and Spencer Breckenkamp caught one pass for one yard.
Gildehaus credited the line and blocking back Wil Heggemann.
“Mitchell Gildehaus had a good game,” Gildehaus said. “Vinny Fortner went against their biggest kid and played outstanding. Thomas Engemann, Blake Schroeder and Nick Swoboda probably had the best game of the year. Basically, we have six linemen who rotate into the game and those kids just stood up in a big way.”
Wil Heggemann moved from tight end to blocking back.
“He ran hard and blocked with authority,” Gildehaus said.
“Defensively, Jack King had nine solo tackles and three assists. Brady Kleekamp had seven tackles and one assist. Sam Schmidt ended with seven tackles.
Wil Heggemann and Gavin Mueller each had three tackles and three assists. Dyson and Vinny Fortner each had three solo tackles.
Borgia had to adjust its pass defense midway through last week after Ryan Kell suffered a shoulder injury and couldn’t play.
Defensively, I thought we played well against the running game,” Gildehaus said. “In the defensive backfield, we’re young and we had to make adjustments with Ryan Kell out.”
Fortner and King had one sack apiece. Patton intercepted a pass.
Dyson had one kickoff return for 47 yards and two punt returns for 39 yards. Stieffermann returned one kick for 14 yards.
“Credit to my coaches,” Gildehaus added. “I thought Spencer Unnerstall had his best game as far as calling the plays. He mixed up quite a bit.”
Tyler Mersnick went 16-22 for 259 yards, three touchdowns and one interception passing the ball. He also ran 20 times for 107 yards.
Jackson Overton had seven carries for 46 yards.
Jackson Dearing had the most catches, six, for 85 yards.
Ryan Schwendeman caught four passes for 75 yards while Tate Cross had two receptions for 83 yards. Overton grabbed three passes for 15 yards and Cameron Whitt had one reception for one yard.
Collin Fox led the St. Dominic defense with 11 solo tackles and three assists.
Borgia faces a massive challenge in a showdown for the AAA Large title.
Gildehaus feels keeping the ball out of Cardinal Ritter’s hands could be a key for the Knights.
“Pound the rock, grade the road,” Gildehaus said. “Keep the defense off the field and you’re going to win a lot of ballgames.”
Cardinal Ritter enters the game at 6-0, 3-0, and last week was elevated to the top spot in the MaxPreps small schools national poll.
The Lions were the Class 3 state runner-up to Trinity last year and are one of the favorites for the Class 2 state title this season.
The two teams have four common opponents. Borgia beat three of them while Cardinal Ritter thumped all four. The Lions beat St. Dominic (53-14), Helias (48-14), Tolton Catholic (72-14), and St. Mary’s (46-20).
The other Cardinal Ritter wins are 32-21 over Nazareth Academy and 27-13 over Lutheran North.
Mekhi Hagens leads the Cardinal Ritter attack and he’s completed 112 of 166 pass attempts for 1,799 yards, 24 touchdowns and two interceptions.
Luther Burden III is the top receiver with 41 catches for 737 yards and 12 scores.
Keavion Long is next at 32 receptions for 477 yards and four touchdowns. Amaryrious Edwards is next with 12 catches for 228 yards and two scores. TJ Atkins and Kavan Reed each have over 100 receiving yards and have combined for five touchdowns.
On the ground, Bill Jackson leads the way with 67 carries for 617 yards and five touchdowns. Artrell Miller has 32 rushes for 205 yards and five scores.
Dorian Stone leads the defense with 44 total tackles and one sack.
Anthony Baker leads the team with five sacks and Joe Moore has four. Latrezz Shelton has picked off five passes. Chris Croft and Nyjahl Vaughn have two interceptions apiece.
In possessions which ate up plenty of clock, Borgia drove down the field.
The opening drive went 80 yards and chewed up most of the first quarter. Heggemann hit Stieffermann for a nine-yard touchdown pass after the Crusaders bit on a fake handoff to MacDonald. Jake Nowak kicked the extra point.
That score, with 5:44 to play in the opening quarter, was the lone touchdown of that period and Borgia led 7-0 after 12 minutes.
The Knights had three possessions in the first half and scored on all three as both teams took time off of the clock. Borgia’s second quarter scores were a seven-yard run by MacDonald and a 10-yard pass from Heggemann to MacDonald.
St. Dominic scored quickly in the third quarter on an 81-yard pass from Mersnick to Cross just 1:23 into the quarter. Jack Henrich’s kick cut the lead to 21-7.
However, the Crusaders couldn’t stop Heggemann. He ran for scores of one and 37 yards to give Borgia a 35-7 lead before Mersnick hit Schwendeman for a 39-yard score with 1:12 to go in the quarter. It was 35-14 through three quarters.
Heggemann capped Borgia’s scoring on the first play of the fourth quarter. He covered 40 yards in seven seconds for the touchdown. The extra-point kick attempt was blocked.
Mersnick found another receiver, Dearing, for a 37-yard strike with 1:19 to play and Heinrich’s kick cut the final gap to 41-21.
BOR - 7-14-14-6=41
StD - 0-0-14-0=21
BOR - Tyler Stieffermann 9 pass from Sam Heggemann (Jake Nowak kick), 5:44
BOR - Alonzo MacDonald 7 run (Nowak kick), 6:38
BOR - MacDonald 10 pass from Heggemann (Nowak kick), 0:52
StD - Tate Cross 81 pass from Tyler Mersnick (Jack Heinrich kick), 10:37
BOR - Heggemann 1 run (Nowak kick), 8:38
BOR - Heggemann 37 run (Nowak kick), 4:48
StD - Ryan Schwendeman 39 pass from Mersnick (Heinrich kick), 1:12
BOR - Heggemann 40 run (kick blocked), 11:53
StD - Jackson Dearing 37 pass from Mersnick (Heinrich kick), 1:19