RSM to face Lenox in state semifinals

Monday, November 7, 2022

When Remsen St. Maryís and Lenox meet in the state semifinals on Wednesday, it will be the first playoff contest between the two schools. Still, both sides have plenty of history of success in 8-player football.

Remsen St. Maryís brought home a state title in 2004. Four years later Lenox won their only championship. The Tigers do have three runner-up finishes, the first in 2005 and two more in the two years following their state title.

After their last runner-up finish in 2010, Lenox has made the playoffs an additional nine times, but has seen only modest success in the postseason during that time. This 2022 trip to the semifinals is their deepest playoff run since 2010 as they didnít make it to the quarterfinal round in any other trip until this year.

Remsen St. Maryís is in the semifinals for the fifth time in the last six years. They won the 2020 state title, finished runner-up in 2017 and lost in the semifinal round in 2019 and 2021.

Offense

Lenox relies heavily on their ground game as they run the ball about 84 percent of the time. Isaac Grundman leads the way with 26 rushing touchdowns with 1,296 yards on 145 carries. Keigan Kitzman adds 741 rushing yards on 119 carries with 18 rushing touchdowns. Quarterback Gabe Funk mixes in for 563 yards on 85 carries with seven rushing touchdowns.

Funk is 40-of-69 passing for the season for 669 yards, 14 touchdowns and three interceptions. Samson Adams is the top target with 17 catches for 255 yards with seven going for touchdowns. Caeden David and Grundman add double digit receptions as well.

The Tigers are averaging over 55 points per game this season, but they have averaged just 33 points in their last two playoff games.

Remsen St. Maryís has also relied more on the run with about 75 percent of their plays on the ground. Quarterback Cael Ortmann and running backs Brenden Fisch and Alex Schroeder make up the bulk of the rushing attack.

Ortmann is one of the most efficient quarterbacks around as he leads the state with a completion percentage of over 80 percent while throwing just two interceptions all season.

Ryan Willman is his go-to receiver for deep passes while Schroeder is the top target for more of the underneath passes. Bunkers and Fisch are also recipients of multiple touchdown throws from Ortmann this season.

Defense

Lenox is one of the top defenses in forcing turnovers. They have 22 interceptions which is second in the 8-player class. Adams leads the team with eight interceptions including two returned for touchdowns. David has five picks and five others have at least one. The team has also recovered 11 fumbles, returning four for touchdowns.

Keigan and Dalton Kitzman lead the team with 81 and 78.5 tackles, respectively. They are also the teamís leaders in tackles for loss. Keigan has 29 tackles for loss and Dalton has 13.5 for loss.

The Tigers are giving up an average of about 18 points per game this season, but they havenít given up more than 18 in any of their last six games.

RSM is also pretty good at forcing turnovers, just a few behind Lenox on the season with about the same number returned for touchdowns. Bunkers is one of the teamís top ball hawks on defense, leading the way with the most combined interceptions and fumble recoveries including four touchdowns on those turnovers.

Thereís quite a bit of balance when it comes to tackling for the Hawks on defense with about half of the team having at least 20 tackles. Bunkers and Schroeder lead the way in total tackles.

The Hawks have five shutout wins this season and have not given up more than two touchdowns to any of their opponents.

Special teams

The Tigers have had several players return kicks this season, but have just one kickoff return for a touchdown. Adams is the main return man on punts and also has the most kickoff returns.

Adams also takes care of the kickoffs, but he has just eight touchbacks on 79 kickoffs. The team has made just one of their four PAT kicks this season and missed their only field goal attempt.

RSM has had kickoff returns for touchdowns from Keaton Harpenau and Fisch this season. Schroeder is the teamís leading punt returner.

Bunkers takes care of most of the kicking duties. He has made two field goals with a long of 27 yards. He has made about 70 percent of his PAT kicks and has had touchbacks on slightly more than one-third of his kickoffs.

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