Touchdown on opening play leads to big win for Gehlen over Lawton-Bronson

Tuesday, September 13, 2022
(Photo By Roy Tucker) Gehlen Catholic’s Kale Pearson celebrates with his teammates after scoring a touchdown. He ran for a 39-yard touchdown to make it 28-0 early in the second quarter.

LE MARS — Gehlen Catholic sent Lawton-Bronson reeling with a 68-yard bomb on the opening play from scrimmage and then creased the Eagles consistently on the ground early in a 35-0 Class A District 1 football win Friday in Le Mars.

The Jays took the ball first but did not have it for long as Connor Kraft found Keaten Bonderson for a 68-yard touchdown pass on the first play. The kick was good, and it was 7-0 just 15 seconds into the game.

“That first play was something we saw on film that they do,” said Gehlen Catholic coach Jeremy Schindler. “We thought we could get behind their safety. We were able to get it to Bonderson, and once he gets behind the defense, you aren’t going to catch him.”

The Jays then turned mostly to the ground game to keep the scoreboard churning. Aiden Spangler finished a drive with a TD run. Kraft hit Bonderson with a 12-yard TD pass to finish a third drive to make it 21-0 after one quarter. A Jays’ drive that started in the first quarter ended 10 seconds into the second period on a 39-yard run by Kale Pearson and the kick made it 28-0.

“It was just our offensive execution. Our run blocking in the first half was fantastic,” Schindler said.

The overall level of play dropped after the Jays put the fourth TD on the board.

“In the second quarter we drove the ball down the field on them, but then we turned it over,” Schindler said. “They ended up having a long drive. It wasn’t any big plays or anything. We ended up having to stop them on fourth down deep in our territory. On that drive, they had a play where they fumbled but they recovered it for a first down, then on the next play we intercepted the ball, but had it called back on a pass interference. We got a little lax — a little sloppy. I didn’t think our defense should have been on the field that long.”

The problem was fixed in the third quarter and Gehlen Catholic went back to dominating the time of possession. Pearson had his second TD run of the game at the 2:24 mark of the third quarter. Keaton Logan’s fifth point-after kick of the game made it 35-0.

Schindler went to his bench extensively throughout the contest.

“We’ve been rotating a lot of guys, especially with our ball carriers and then on our defensive line and with our linebackers,” he said. “We are trying to build some depth. We’ve been able to get those guys some meaningful snaps.”

Gehlen Catholic had 515 yards of total offense while holding the Eagles to 176 total yards.

Spangler ran for 168 yards and Pearson picked up 142. Kraft threw for 193, with Bonderson having five catches for 136.

Logan led the Gehlen Catholic defense with 5.5 tackles. Cole McCarty had five stops.

Gehlen Catholic, 2-1 overall and 1-1 in the district, plays at Hinton next week. The Blackhawks are 2-1 overall and 2-0 in the district after beating Alta-Aurelia 40-28 on Friday.

“They are coming off a nice win and took their previous one in overtime. They are much improved. We’re going to have to have a great week of practice and really work on the little things,” Schindler said. “The (Beau) DeRocher kid is very fast. He’s an explosive athlete so we’ll have to identify where he is at. They did change up their defense so we’ll really have to dig into some film and see what we can do against that.”

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