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If the St. Scholastica football team wanted to give new head coach Mike Heffernan a welcome gift, it couldn’t have been any better, or more exciting, than last Saturday afternoon’s game at Malosky Stadium on the UMD campus.
Quarterback Zach Edwards, a 6-foot-4 senior, and his Saints cohorts might have figured that if one comeback was exciting, two 3-touchdown rallies would have to be out of this world. So that’s what they did, spotting a very good Mayville State team a 19-0 lead in the first half, as quarterback Creighton Pfau lit up the Saints defense, then rallying for two second-quarter touchdowns, on an Edwards run and his pass to Eddie Lee, closing the gap to 19-14.
Edwards followed up his own rushing with another rushing touchdown to open the third quarter, and freshman kicker Jacob Carter’s third straight extra point lifted the Saints to an improbable 21-19 lead.
But Pfau came back for Mayville State with a new formula in the second half. It seemed that whenever the Comets got within range, Pfau could loft an end one pass and Jacquante Pitts would find a way to beat a couple defenders and catch the ball. That worked for a 12-yard pass to Pitts to regain the lead at 25-21, and the Saints great comeback faded in the distance when Mayville added a field goal, and another touchdown formula pass from Pfau to Pitts at the left sideline in the end zone.
That boosted Mayville’s lead to 35-21, and for the second time in the game the Saints appeared out of their element. But with Zach Edwards, appearances can be deceiving. Pfau threw four scoring passes, and Pitts caught three of them among nine receptions he had in the game. But Edwards completed 34 passes on 48 throws for 292 yards and four touchdowns as well.
The Saints and Edwards countered with sophomore Mitchell Adrian, who caught a school record 14 passes, and one of them was a 14-yarder from Edwards with 5:30 remaining that lifted St. Scholastica within 35-28 proximity. The Saints still had a couple of tricks, and Edwards directed them down the field on a 57-yard scoring drive, finishing it with an 8-yard touchdown pass with 1:03 remaining.
That led to overtime, and college overtime has the added excitement of both teams getting the chance to score, and win, from the opposing 25 yard line. St. Scholastica went on offense first, and on first down, Edwards dropped back and pitched a perfect spiral up the left sideline where it was gathered in at full speed by Reese Jensen for a touchdown. Carter’s kick made it 42-35.
But Mayville State had the chance to tie, and moved in. It was time for one more formula attempt, and this time Pfau launched his pass for the right corner of the end zone, but Will Halloran went up and wrestled the ball away for an interception that brought a sudden ending to a highly entertaining battle.
St. Scholastica had moved their home opener to Malosky Stadium because UMD had played there Thursday night and the field was vacant, while construction on the track at the Public Schools Stadium the Saints normally use for home games prompted the move. It worked so well that the Saints are heading back to Malosky this Saturday for another “home” game, against Presentation at noon.
SAINTS TOP UWS IN VB
It sounds like just another cliche to say that whenever St. Scholastica and Wisconsin-Superior meet in any sport it’s worth watching, but that was never more true than last Friday when the two met in women’s volleyball.
As host, UWS jumped ahead and won the first game 25-23, and the Saints countered bh winning the second, 26-24. When the Yellowjackets won the third game 30-28, that slim 2-1 lead meant that only one more victory would give UWS the match. But the Saints rallied behind Brooke Schermann and claimed Game 4 25-15. That brought about the deciding Game 5, and St. Scholastica escaped from Superior with a 15-13 triumph and a 3-2 edge for the match.
If that drama wore out the Saints, it didn’t show, as they bat Concordia-Chicago 3-1 — after losing the fist game 25-19 — on Saturday, and then swept Finlandia 3-0, later on Saturday, for three big victories in two days. Schermann, incidentally, was named UMAC player of the week, having registered 40 kills and 36 digs.
This weekend, the Saints head for Waverly, Iowa, to face Grinnell and Wartburg Friday, and Coe on Saturday.