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JUNIOR HIGH ATHLETICS
St. Clair Outlasts Blue Jays in Game of Big Plays, 35-24
September 4, 2012St Clair Athletics
It was quite a way to kick off the high school football season.
Playing in front of a large crowd Friday night at Washington High School, the Blue Jays slugged it out with St. Clair throughout the back-and-forth contest full of big plays.
The Bulldogs (1-0) emerged with a 35-24 victory over Washington.
“It’s good to be 1-0. I thought across the board, we played pretty well,” said St. Clair Head Coach Cody McDowell. “There are things that need to be cleaned up, but we’ll get there. We’re looking forward to week two.”
The Blue Jays (0-1) had their chances.
“We were in position to be successful, but didn’t finish the game,” said Washington Head Coach Zach Schneider. “We played well for four 3 1/2 quarters. St. Clair played well for four quarters. That’s what we’re battling right now. We just have to learn to finish and win those kinds of games.”
De Soto Preview
St. Clair, which plays four of its first five games of the season on the road, visits De Soto Friday at 7 p.m.
The Dragons (1-0) won their opener at home over Pacific, 26-13.
“De Soto has a physical team that likes to run the ball,” McDowell said. “It’s definitely a different animal than we faced last week. They don’t spread the ball as much. Their offense is more ground and pound.”
The Bulldogs will work this week on the strengths of the Dragons.
“It will be a different week of preparation compared to the Washington game,” McDowell said. “We have to play physical, fundamental football and limit our mistakes.”
Washington hits the road Friday against Timberland at 7 p.m.
The Wolves (1-0) won their opener at Parkway West, 20-6.
“Timberland is a big team. They have good size on both the offensive and defensive line. They’ll present problems for us trying to push them around,” Schneider said. “I think we’ll have some opportunities to do some things against their defense. We just have to execute better.”
Schneider said Timberland runs a double tight, Wing-T offense.
“They run the ball a lot. They try to lull you to sleep with the run and then go over the top with the pass,” Schneider said. “They want to control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball with their size.”
Play of the Game
With Washington holding a 24-21 lead, St. Clair’s Rickey Grivetti turned the tide in the Bulldogs’ favor when he intercepted a pass and ran 10 yards for a touchdown to give his team a 28-24 lead with 6:57 remaining in the fourth quarter.
“I saw the slant coming and I jumped on it. I don’t know what happened after that. I just started running,” Grivetti said. “We made a lot of big plays that were big enough to win the game.”
The Blue Jays got the ball back and threatened to regain the lead, but lost the ball on downs at the St. Clair eight-yard line with 3:19 left to play.
“Before the interception that went for a touchdown, we should have been able to put a drive together and run out the clock,” Schneider said. “We definitely had our opportunities to win the game.”
The Bulldogs put the game away on a 25-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Kyle Juergens to Blake Dierking to increase the lead to 35-24 with 38 seconds remaining.
“I thought the pivotal moments of the game were not only Rickey’s interception to give us the lead for good, but also when Kyle left the game for one series and Adam (Brott) took over at quarterback. He made a couple of nice runs and completed a pass,” McDowell said. “We did a lot of good things on both sides of the ball.”
The two teams combined for four touchdowns that went for over 40 yards and three that went for over 70 yards.
“Both teams have talented offensive players who are hard to stop for four quarters,” Schneider said. “With the exception of about three plays, I thought our defense did a good job.”
St. Clair grabbed a 7-0 lead when quarterback Juergens tossed an 11-yard touchdown pass to Rickey Grivetti with 11:40 left in the second quarter.
Washington came right back when Jacob Arnold took the ensuing kickoff 85 yards for a score to tie the game, 7-7.
The Bulldogs regained the lead with 7:23 left in the second quarter when Juergens dashed 73 yards for a touchdown to make the score 14-7.
The Blue Jays scored 10 points in the final 1:33 of the second quarter to take a 17-14 lead into intermission.
Luke Hoemann booted a 27-yard field goal followed by a two-yard touchdown pass from Luke Hasenjaeger to Brock Hopkins with nine seconds left on the clock to give the home team a 17-14 advantage.
Bulldogs’ running back Adam Brott gave his team a 21-17 advantage on a 44-yard touchdown run with 7:29 left in the third quarter.
“We spread out our attack,” McDowell said. “It was good to see everyone get involved.”
Randall Flotte then broke loose for an 82-yard touchdown run to give the Blue Jays a 24-21 lead with three minutes left in the third quarter.
St. Clair accumulated 401 total yards, 231 rushing and 170 passing.
Juergens was 13-24 passing for 153 yards and two touchdowns. He also carried the ball 15 times for 150 yards and one touchdown.
“Kyle threw the ball better than he ever has,” McDowell said. “He’s a threat to make a big run whenever he touches the ball, but he’s really been working hard on his throwing. His accuracy was spot on.”
Adam Brott rushed for 60 yards on 11 attempts and scored one touchdown. He also had one catch for 12 yards and was 1-1 passing for 17 yards.
Grivetti rushed for 21 yards on seven attempts and had four receptions for 14 yards and one touchdown.
Dierking finished with six catches for 114 yards and one touchdown.
Evan Powell added two receptions for 24 yards. Alan Barrett had one catch for seven yards.
Defensively for St. Clair, Grivetti led the way with five solo tackles, seven assists and one interception.
Josh Martin added four solos and eight assists. Ben Suntrup collected three solos and four assists. Barrett had three solos and three assists. Skyler Hutchison added two solos and six assists.
“With the exception of a couple of plays, our defense played really well,” McDowell said. “Our defensive line and linebackers had a very good first game, especially with everything Washington does offensively.”
Washington accumulated 314 total yards, 210 rushing and 104 passing.
Hasenjaeger was 11-23 passing for 104 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He also rushed for 54 yards on 13 attempts.
“We didn’t throw the ball like we could have. Part of that was my play-calling,” Schneider said. “Luke was 8-13 in our base passing plays and 1-8 on throws where we were trying to attack certain parts of St. Clair’s defense. We should have stuck to more of what we do. Luke will improve when we go back to doing things he’s more comfortable with.”
Flotte carried the ball 19 times for 159 yards and one touchdown. He also had two catches for 12 yards.
Hopkins finished with four receptions for 32 yards and one touchdown.
Max Phinney added three catches for 37 yards. Derek Walters had two catches for 23 yards.
Defensively, Kyle Summers, Caleb Summers and Dilan Bollmann each registered eight tackles. Jared Walde added six tackles. Schull recovered a fumble forced by Thomas McCain.
“Jared Walde was our defensive player of the game at the end position,” Schneider said. “He did some really good things. If he continues that, he’s going to open a lot of eyes as to what kind of talent he has.”
St. Clair 0-14-7-14=35
S-Rickey Grivetti 11 pass from Kyle Juergens (Jacob Meisel kick), 11:40
W-Jacob Arnold 85 kickoff return (Luke Hoemann kick), 11:27
S-Juergens 73 run (Meisel kick), 7:23
W-Hoemann 27 FG 1:33
W-Brock Hopkins 2 pass from Luke Hasenjaeger (Hoemann kick), :09
S-Adam Brott 44 run (Meisel kick), 7:29
W-Randall Flotte 82 run (Hoemann kick), 3:00
S-Grivetti 10 interception return (Meisel kick), 6:57
S-Blake Dierking 25 pass from Juergens (Meisel kick), :38