It’s hard to expect perfect execution in a first game, but even by that measure the O’Gorman Knights were putting on a chaotic display in the early going on Friday night.
There were three misplayed pitchouts in the first quarter, a misplayed field goal attempt and a punt that went for a safety to give Rapid City Stevens a 2-0 lead. O’Gorman had made it virtually impossible for the underdog Raiders to be trailing in the game.
When the slapstick ended, though, so did Stevens’ upset prospects in this 34-9 O’Gorman victory.
“We were definitely struggling,” said Knights senior running back Matt White, who ran for 147 yards and a touchdown. “But we rallied around each other and we found a way to win.”
His coach was a little more to the point on the first-half scuffling.
“A rocky start? Well, yes, we fumbled on every play for a while there,” O’Gorman coach Steve Kueter said, exaggerating only slightly. “It’s a new year, a new group, it was hot out there – we just played awful in the first half. Stevens had something to do with that, though.”
The Knights retook the lead with a 41-yard Ben Briggs score on a reverse, but were trailing 9-7 after the Raiders’ Austin Hagen, who completed 13 of 27 passes for 239 yards, connected with Justin Hoff for a 4-yard TD pass with 8:11 left in the second quarter.
O’Gorman answered, however, with a 16-play, 68-yard yard drive that took up nearly six minutes and ended with a two-yard White TD. It was as neat and clean as the previous drives had been sloppy.
“We started hitting our blocks and following our assignments,” White said. “And we ran some new plays, gave 100 percent and got the job done.”
Up 14-9 at half, O’Gorman opened the second half with similar conviction, taking a 21-9 lead on a Jaden Holzer 29-yard run with 9:41 to play in the third quarter. Nothing was the same thereafter.
An Eion Donelan three-yard score made it 27-9 with 11:55 to play and O’Gorman added another score with Luke Fritsch, playing quarterback after senior Tanner Schulte went out with a leg injury, going in from the 5 with 4:17 to play.
Schulte is expected to have the leg X-rayed today, so his status was uncertain Friday night.
“We wanted to come into this game to accomplish playing hard,” said Rapid City Stevens coach Scott Hagen. “We wanted to come away knowing we were able to overcome some adversity. And we did that. We played hard.”
O’Gorman gained 421 total yards with 379 of it coming on the ground. The Raiders had several promising moments behind the quarterbacking of Hagen, but rushed 12 times for negative 1 yard.
“A game like this should help us when we play the city teams,” White said.
Rapid City Stevens 0 9 0 0 — 9
O’Gorman 0 14 7 13 — 34
RCS – O’Gorman safety
O’Gorman – Ben Briggs 41 run (Tommy Entwistle kick)
RCS – Justin Hoff 4 pass from Austin Hagen (Noah Diamond kick good)
O’Gorman – Matt White 2 run (Entwistle kick)
O’Gorman – Jaden Holzer 29 run (Entwistle kick)
O’Gorman – Eion Donelan 3 run (kick failed)
O’Gorman – Luke Fritsch 5 run (Entwistle kick)
RUSHING – OG: Matt White 20-147, Ben Briggs 9 -71, Eion Donelan 16-60, Fritsch 5- 40. RCS – Carter Wevik 3-9, Hagen 8-(-10)
PASSING – OG: Tanner Schulte 2-4 42. RCS: Hagen 13-27 239
RECEIVING – OG : Fritsch 1-22, White 1-20. RCS – Schick 6-82, Minnick 3-60, Hoff 2-8, Hipple 1-65.