Gehlen Catholic rebounds with victory over Akron-Westfield
LE MARS — A week after suffering their first loss of the season, Gehlen Catholic bounced back with a decisive 48-23 victory over Akron-Westfield to maintain their standing as a second place team in the district. The Jays entered the game in a three-way tie for the second spot along with the Westerners and Westwood with the Rebels and Jays maintaining their spot tied for second.
The defense of Gehlen put the Westerners in several tough spots during the game including a 4th-and-45 situation. Penalties also backed up A-W on their first drive of the game and led to a safety after quarterback AJ Nemesio was called for intentional grounding when trying to get rid of the football from his own end zone.
Gehlen responded with a pair of quick touchdown drives as Xavier Roberts came down with a 23-yard touchdown reception and Adam Ellensohn followed his blockers for a 61-yard scoring rush with each of those scores occurring within a minute and a half span.
“Offensively, we started to hit our stride,” Gehlen Head Coach Jeremy Schindler said. “We were able to run the ball, throw the ball. They were playing us man-to-man, zero coverage so we thought we could have some success in the passing game. The biggest thing was that the offensive line was able to protect Cole Wiltgen. When you give him time, we have receivers who can make plays downfield.”
Wiltgen ended with an 11-of-21 passing line for 230 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
The Westerners were able to respond just a minute later as Conner Anderson broke past the secondary and scored on a 48-yard pass.
Izaac Herbst caught a 25-yard pass for the Jays and was brought down just shy of the goal line on Gehlen’s next possession. Eli Ellensohn finished the drive on the next play with the 1-yard score.
Reagan Frankl returned the ensuing kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown to make the score 21-15 with the Westerners still trailing in what was the final scoring play of a very active first quarter by both teams.
The final three quarters weren’t nearly as heavy on scoring plays as the two teams combined for five scoring plays as opposed to the six scoring plays in the first quarter alone. It was also pretty lopsided after the first quarter as Gehlen scored the next four touchdowns before A-W added the final score of the game with a 14-yard rush from Nick Jacobs. The Jays added a pair of 20-yard scoring plays from Elijah Freking, one a rush and the other a pass completion. Adam Ellensohn added a 2-yard score and the defense picked up more points as Adam Schuch returned an interception 55 yards for the score.
It was a balanced offensive attack from the Jays as 246 yards came from running the football and 230 were from passing the ball. Adam Ellensohn led the way with a pair of touchdowns on 18 carries for 136 yards. Xavier Roberts was the top receiver with six catches for 124 yards and a touchdown.
“Xavier Roberts had a heck of a game catching the ball,” Schindler said. “They all did a really good job. I thought we did a great job of spreading the ball around. We have lots of talented offensive playmakers, so we want to be able to get the ball in a lot of guys’ hands. Elijah Freking had a nice game. Not a ton of yards, but he had two touchdowns.”
The Westerners were much more dependent on the passing game as they rushed for just 18 yards on 17 attempts. Nemesio completed 18-of-41 passes for 200 yards with a touchdown and interception. Anderson led the way with 87 receiving yards on three catches with the touchdown.
Akron-Westfield (4-3, 3-2) returns home to face MVAOCOU (0-7, 0-5) on Friday.
Gehlen Catholic (6-1, 4-1) travels to Lawton-Bronson (1-6, 1-4) on Friday.