Gehlen Catholic uses balanced attack to beat West Monona
LE MARS — Gehlen Catholic opened up the playbook against West Monona as the Jays featured a balanced offensive attack that pushed to a 35-6 victory to begin district play. After a slower start to the game, the Jays picked it up in the second half.
“They’re a much better football team than they were last year,” Gehlen Head Coach Jeremy Schindler said about his opponent. “They really tested us in the first half. Their energy was up. Our guys, I thought we played a good first half, but offensively they were able to move the ball on us. Once we got settled in in the second half, our guys did a really good job.”
The Jays called an aggressive game and likely could have won by an even bigger margin, but a fourth down sack and fourth down interception on second half drives left Gehlen without scores on a pair of red zone drives.
Part of the opening up of the playbook had to do with knowing the team will have to do so if they want to sustain a playoff drive. Another reason was the absence of Eli Ellensohn from the lineup, limiting some of the possibilities out of the triple-option offense.
“We want to be able to try to diversify what we are able to do on offense,” Schindler said. “We want to be able to throw the football. We want to be able to run single back, two back and the fullback. We did a good job this week of growing. We didn’t stick to the same five or six key plays that have really been working for us. We really tried to expand our offense and I think we did a good job of executing the plays we called.”
Adam Ellensohn picked up much of the slack in the absence of his cousin and said he was worn out after the win.
“I was tired, but it went well,” he said. “The line did a good job blocking. We got to the second level real well. We came out ready to play in the second half and got more physical.”
Ellensohn carried the ball 21 times for 148 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The first of those touchdowns was a 26-yard run to start the scoring in the second half. He also added a 6-yard touchdown for the final Gehlen score of the game.
“I was really pleased in the second half he started to finish some runs and shrink those shoulders and reduce down, not just take the punishment, but give a little punishment to the guys who were tackling him,” Schindler said. “At 200 pounds, he’s a big running back so if you can give a little punishment there, that’s a good thing.”
Quarterback Cole Wiltgen, who attempted just six passes last week, ended 17-of-24 for 198 yards and two touchdowns this week. He added 48 yards on the ground on nine carries.
Xavier Roberts ended with a team-high eight receptions for 113 yards. Jacob Nemmers hauled in five catches for 59 yards and a touchdown. Izaac Herbst brought down the other touchdown catch on a 5-yard play to start the scoring with 3:16 in the first quarter.
Defensively, the Jays pitched a shutout until the final play of the game as West Monona punched in a 5-yard run against the reserve defense with a running clock.
“That’s great experience for those JV guys,” Schindler said. “Of course you want to get the shutout, but we’ll take the ‘W’. For them to get valuable time out there, those are going to be the guys who are playing for us next year. For them to get game reps against a really talented varsity offense, they run the football really well.”
Bryan Nohava paced the defense with six tackles. Adam Schuch ended with 5.5 tackles while Adam Ellensohn and Lucas McCarty each had 4.5.
Gehlen (3-0, 1-0) travels to play Woodbury Central (1-2, 0-1) as they look to snap a three-game losing streak against the Wildcats that included last season’s 13-7 Homecoming loss for the Jays.
|West Monona||0 0 0 6 6|
|Gehlen Catholic||7 6 14 8 35|
Gehlen: Passing- Cole Wiltgen 18-25, 198 yards, 2 TD’s, 1 INT; Rushing- Adam Ellensohn 21-148 2 TDs, Cole Wiltgen 9-48, Elijah Freking 4-25 1 TD; Receiving- Xavier Roberts 8-11, Jacob Nemmers 5-59 1 TD, Adam Ellensohn 2-17, Izaac Herbst 1-5 TD