St. Paul stuns Sacred Heart, 14-12
HALLETTSVILLE —Welcome to the Shiner St. Paul-Hallettsville Sacred Heart rivalry, Coach Paul Johnston.
The first-year Cardinal head coach got quite a greeting from both teams in a 14-12 St. Paul win Saturday evening at Hallettsville Memorial Stadium.
“The atmosphere of this rivalry is awesome,” he said.
Johnston said that defeating Sacred Heart was something that was stressed to him when he came on board at St. Paul.
“Since the day I signed the contract, all I have heard about is if you win one game, it has to be the Sacred Heart game. I have been hearing that all season and especially this last week.”
“I told the players that games like this one make high school football what it is today. Our kids and their kids will remember this game for the rest of their lives. We just needed to play our best game today.”
“It was a great football game,” longtime Indians head coach Pat Henke said. “We just came up short at the very end.”
He said Sacred Heart held the Cardinals offense in check with 14 points.
“Defense did a great job. I would have thought that if they only scored two touchdowns we would have won the game,” he said. “We made too many mistakes on offense. We had a chance to score before halftime and we throw an interception. We ran the power sweep on the two-point conversion and St. Paul stopped it. That is just the way it goes.”
“This game was an emotional roller coaster,” said Johnston as he was surrounded by elated Cardinal fans. “We talked all week long about what a close game we thought it would be and how big extra points and two-point conversions were going to be. Our boys did a great job (on stopping both of Sacred Heart’s two-point conversion plays.”
The Cardinals had prevented the first Sacred Heart two-point conversion play — a sweep right by Sterling Hrncir after he had scored the touchdown. Johnston said the Cardinals have improved their tackling in recent weeks.
“When we tackle, I feel we can pretty much play with anybody,” he said.
Later in the game, after Sacred Heart scored to come within just two points, Hrncir got the ball on the sweep for a potential game-tying two-point play that St. Paul stuffed as well.
“Toss right to Hrncir is Sacred Heart’s bread and butter play,” Johnston said. “If I was Sacred Heart, that is what I would be calling. We had a feeling that it was was coming at us. It (The second two-point )play was just inches short of the goal line but it was short and we are glad.”
Sacred Heart took the opening kickoff but fumbled the ball away on a fourth-down, fake-punt play.
St. Paul appeared to stall until a 29-yard gain on a reverse by Martin Kennedy set up the Cardinals at the 1. A pair of penalties pushed the ball back to the 11 where quarterback Dakota Kresta hit Justin Natal on a short pass and Natal evaded tacklers to the end zone for the 7-0 St. Paul lead.
The Cardinals executed and recovered an onsides kick and got a 20-yard run by Adam Hollenbach on first down to the Sacred Heart 31 but were stifled by the Indian defense and had a 33-yard punt to the 9.
The Indians then drove 91 yards in almost eight minutes off the clock Hrncir, Matt Holub and lineman Regan Hall, playing as a fullback in the wishbone alignment, alternated carries and reached the 10 yard line where Hrncir scored on the Indians' patented power toss play. He was stopped short of the end zone on the two-point conversion play, leaving St. Paul ahead 7-6.
The Cardinals needed just four plays to drive 59 yards — two incomplete passes by Kresta left the drive in doubt until he tossed a short pass to Hollenbach who followed a wall of blockers enroute to a 49-yard gain to the 10, where Brett Hodges scored to help give St. Paul a 14-6 advantage.
After their next drive stalled, Sacred Heart caught a break. Natal caught a 7-yard pass from Kresta and got to the Cardinal 34 where he was tackled and had the ball stripped away to Sacred Heart.
To make matters worse for St. Paul, they were assessed a 15-yard personal foul penalty to move the ball to the 19.
St. Paul managed to sack quarterback Jared Krischke on fourth down but was called for a facemask and Sacred Heart got a first down at the 8. A few plays later, Cole Hybner picked off Krischke to end the threat and the first half.
To open things in the third, Natal hauled in a 16-yard pass for St. Paul on the second play of the opening drive. Several plays later, Kresta threw incomplete on fourth down to give the ball back to the Indians.
The teams traded punts and St. Paul missed a 20-yard field goal. Hrncir later burst for a 41-yard gain out to the 23 and Krischke had a 13-yard option keeper called back on a chop block.
Sacred Heart was later given a first down at the 14 on a St. Paul personal foul and got down to the 11 before a Hybner pickoff in the end zone killed the drive. St Paul drove the ball all the way down to the Sacred Heart 17, getting lots of help from a Hollenbach reception for 46 yards.
The Cardinals later came to fourth down at the 11 and Kresta tried a pass that was intercepted by Leightin Pilat and returned 75 yards to the Cardinal 25.
Three plays later, Krischke found tight end Cole Wick in the end zone for a touchdown pass, and St. Paul prevented Sacred Heart from leveling the score on the two-point play.
St. Paul 14, Sacred Heart 12
St. Paul 7 7 0 0--14
Saacred Heart 0 6 0 6--12
SP-Justin Natal 11 pass from Dakota Kresta (Cole Hybner kick)
SH-Sterling Hrncir 10 run (run failed)
SP-Brett Hodges 10 run (Hybner kick)
SH-Cole Wick 25 pass from Jared Krischke (run failed)
Team stats SP SH
First downs 12 17
Rushes-yards 35-104 45-195
Passing 10-20-1 4-13-2
Passing yards 199 45
Punts-yards 2-79 2-76
Fumbles-lost 1-1 2-1
Penalties-yards 12-153 3-30
Rushing— St. Paul:Brett Hodges 13-41, Martin Kennedy 3-33, Adam Hollenbach
8-22, Cole Hybner 1-6, Dakota Kresta 10-2. Sacred Heart: Sterling Hrncir
22-136, Matt Holub 12-33, Jared Krischke 8-13, Regan Hall 2-10, Colton
Passing — St. Paul Kresta 10-20-1-199. Sacred Heart: Krischke 4-12-2-45,
Cade Brewer 0-1-0-0. Receiving — St. Paul:Hollenbach 3-116, Justin Natal
3-34, Hybner 3-25, Hodges 1-24. Sacred Heart:Cole Wick 3-40, Hrncir 1-5.