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No. 2 Gaels face Indians

September 14, 2012
By DANA BECKER - Messenger Sports Writer (sports@messengernews.net) , Messenger News

The second-ranked (Class 1A) St. Edmond football team returns home tonight for a district affair with Pocahontas Area.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. inside Dodger Stadium.

The Gaels (3-0 overall, 1-0 in 1A, District 2) embarked on one of their longest road trips of the season last week, heading to Mapleton and leaving with a 56-20 victory over Maple Valley-Anthon-Oto.

St. Edmond once again controlled the line of scrimmage, rushing for over 300 yards for the second time this year.

Through three games, senior Alex Mericle has 493 yards on 79 carries, while junior Vinnie Harvey has 156 yards and senior Aaron McElroy has gained 129. Matt Stumpf is averaging 23 yards per carry this year.

"We've got four really good players in the backfield that can all do damage with the ball in their hands," said SEHS head coach Dick Tighe, who earned career victory No. 394 a week ago. "We had to do some work on our line (in the preseason), but we have shored up those holes and have kept kids healthy, which is a big plus for us."

Fact Box

PROBABLE STARTERS

Gael Offense

WT: Matt Remsburg, 215, sr.

WG: Teddie Harvey, 165, jr.

C: Hank Crimmins, 175, jr.

SG: Dillon Nelson, 195, sr.

ST: Jacob Salisbury, 220, sr.

SE: Landon Peed, 165, so.

TE: Hank Lentsch, 175, sr.

WB: Aaron McElroy, 165, sr.

FB: Vinnie Harvey, 225, jr.

HB: Alex Mericle, 195, sr.

QB: David Flattery, 175, sr.

K: McElroy

Gael Defense

DE: V. Harvey

DT: Salisbury

NG: Nelson

DT: Jimmy Averill, 175, jr.

DE: Lentsch

LB: Mericle

LB: T. Harvey

CB: McElroy

CB: Matt Stumpf, 160, sr.

SS: Crimmins

FS: Peed

P: Flattery

Pocahontas Area

Offense

F - Austin Behrendsen, 165, sr.; TE - Logan Jepsen, 185, sr.; LT - Wyatt Block, 190, jr.; LG - Jared Gonnerman, 180, sr.; C - Joel Brinkman, 190, sr.; RG - David Olson, 180, sr.; RT - Jeremy Watson, 220, jr.; QB - Aaron Youngberg, 175, sr.; FB - Jay Brinkman, 180, sr.; TB - Draven Barth, 180, jr.; X - Joey Powers, 170, sr.

Defense

DE - Block; DT - Jo. Brinkman; DT - Watson; DE - Gonnerman; LB - Behrendsen; LB - Jepsen; LB - Ja. Brinkman; LB - Olson; CB - Youngberg; CB - Powers; FS - Barth.

David Flattery has six completions, but they have gone for 115 yards and two scores.

Sophomore Landon Peed has caught three balls for 76 yards to provide Flattery a steady target.

"I thought David and Landon had a great game (vs. MV-AO)," Tighe said. "Landon made some big plays that set up our run game, and David just continues to do an excellent job in running the offense.

"We don't ask him to throw it all that much, but when he has, he's been pretty successful."

Teddie Harvey, a senior, anchors the Gael defense with 52 combined tackles. St. Edmond has forced 11 takeaways already this year, including three interceptions by Stumpf and two more from Peed.

"(MV-AO) kind of was a wide-open offense, and they were able to get 20 points on the board against us," Tighe said. "We've worked on a few things in practice, and I expect to see more of a power attack by Pocahontas Area."

The main concern for defensive coordinator Pat Schomberg and the Gaels will be Draven Barth. The junior has ran for 375 yards on the year, while senior Jay Brinkman has racked up 229 on the ground.

"Draven has a very explosive first step which allows him to get past people," Pocahontas Area head coach Roger Sommerlot said. "But, St. Edmond has a lot of speed on the defense."

Aaron Youngberg is completing 53-percent of his passes for 242 yards and one score. Austin Behrendsen has become his prime target, hauling in eight balls for 104 yards. Joey Powers has caught three passes for 83 yards on the year.

"Barth is a real nice player, and Youngberg has done a good job passing the ball," Tighe said. "I think this is going to be another battle in the trenches."

The Indians, who have forced six turnovers through three games, were dealt a 14-13 setback in their district opener last Friday to Sioux Central. Pocahontas Area (2-1, 0-1) opened the year with wins over Alta/Aurelia and East Sac County.

Barth had 194 yards in the win over Alta/Aurelia.

St. Edmond last played the Indians in 2007, earning a 21-0 victory. They also picked up a 6-0 victory in '06. Pocahontas Area's last win over the Gaels came in 2001 by a final of 42-7.

"We're excited to play at Dodger Stadium," Sommerlot said. "(The weather) should be really nice."

Game notes: Through three games, the St. Edmond offense has scored 131 points, while surrendering just 34. ... The Gaels are seventh in Class 1A in terms of total rushing, have ran for 952 yards. ... St. Edmond is tied for second in 1A with seven interceptions. ... Mericle is seventh in 1A in rushing, while Barth is 17th. ... Harvey and Brinkman are inside the Top-15 for tacklers in 1A.