Holdingford's early lead is enough to fend off St. Cloud Cathedral, 22-19

Holdingford's early lead is enough to fend off St. Cloud Cathedral, 22-19

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Holdingford's early lead is enough to fend off St. Cloud Cathedral, 22-19

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The Holdingford Huskers are all about grinding out yards. Pounding out five yards a pop between the tackles is just fine with Holdingford.

They didn’t quite do it on a sweltering Thursday evening at St. Cloud State’s Husky Stadium, but they were close.

They got up big early and held on for a 22-19 win over St. Cloud Cathedral.

“When we get five yards a pop, everything is good,” said Holdingford quarterback Mitch Messman, who is built more like a college fullback at 5-foot-11 and 205 pounds.

Putting together 12-play, 65-yard and 17-play, 56-yard scoring drives is truly nirvana for the Huskers. And just for flair, Messman hooked up with Cody Bialka for a 10-yard touchdown pass with seven seconds remaining in the third quarter to put the Huskers up 22-7.

“Close, too close,” was how Bialka described Thursday’s victory. “(We) screwed up some.

“We shouldn’t have made some of those (penalties).”

Holdingford had seven penalties for 59 yards and six of them came in the second half.

The Huskers had to withstand a couple of late scoring drives by the Crusaders, who got big games from quarterback Jeff Fasching and wide receiver Brady Yoerg.

Fasching was 15 of 22 passing for 192 yards and two touchdowns. He was intercepted once by the Huskers’ Brody Davidson in the first quarter and was sacked five times.

Holdingford, meanwhile, rushed 56 times for 232 yards. Overall, the Huskers ran 70 plays for 301 yards to Cathedral’s 230 on 42 plays.

The Crusaders ran 19 times for seven yards. Take away the five sacks for 21 yards and it was 14 rushes for 28.

“We hung in there, but we couldn’t get the last stop when we needed it,” said Andy Auger, making his debut as head coach after four seasons as an assistant. “Messman is a good runner.

“He’s a good quarterback, but a really good runner.”

Messman had 25 carries for 89 yards. He took a knee three times for a loss of nine to end the game and effectively coordinated Holdingford’s ball-control offense. The Huskers had six ball carriers Thursday and seemed to get every yard it needed in the crunch, be it one or five down the stretch.

“Obviously, I wish we would’ve came out on top,” Cathedral senior center/defensive tackle John Peschel said. “But for the most part, we played pretty well.

“Our new guys have some experience and with a good week of practice, we should be able to go out next week and get that first ‘W.'”

The Crusaders cut the 15-point deficit to nine when Fasching scored on a 1-yard quarterback keeper with 9:19 to play. They then forced Holdingford to go three-and-out and scored again.

Fasching found Yoerg for a 26-yard touchdown pass with 6:28 to play.

Holdingford then mounted another long drive. And while the Huskers didn’t score, they did go 13 plays and 52 yards to end the game.

“It was nice to be able to spread it out with three or four different backs instead of one or two,” Messman said. “We have more weapons and that makes it interesting.”

They are also a team with huge expectations, expecting to win the Central Minnesota Conference and to get back to the state playoffs. The first potential roadblock to that first goal happens at 7 p.m. next Friday when the Huskers travel to Pierz.

“We had some cramping issues late in the game,” Holdingford head coach Luke Mitchell said. “It was kind of tough. We have a lot of kids going two ways. In 2A football, you don’t have a lot of depth.

“So, I’m proud of our kids for hanging in and hanging tough. Cathedral has a lot of great athletes that we had to keep up with.”

Cathedral opens Granite Ridge Conference play next Friday at Mora.

“I thought there were a lot of positives tonight,” Auger said. “Our kids were resilient, didn’t give up.”

“You have to give their quarterback a lot of credit,” Peschel said of Messman. “They played a heck of a game. They were a tough team.”

Holdingford 6 8 8 0 22
SC Cathedral 0 7 0 12 19

H – Cody Bialka 12 run (kick failed)

C – Brady Yoerg 16 pass from Jeff Fasching (Brady Schmit kick)

H – Jordan Gombos 1 run (Gombos run)

H – Bialka 10 pass from Mitch Messman (Jeremy Springer pass from Mi. Messman)

C – Fasching 1 run (pass failed)

C – Yoerg 26 pass from Fasching (kick failed)

Individual statistics

Rushing: H – Mi. Messman 25-89, Gombos 19-87, Matt Messman 5-28, Bialka 5-25, Nick Catton 1-2, Jake Nelson 1-1. Total: 56-232. C – Nick Manthey 10-22, Blake Addison 1-6, Thomas Imholte 2-1, Fasching 6-(-22). Total: 19-7.

Passing: H – Mi. Messman 5-14-0 69. C – Fasching 15-22-1 192, Manthey 1-1-0 31.

Receiving: H – Bialka 3-39, Springer 1-25, Gombos 1-5. C – Yoerg 6-135, Schmit 3-35, Manthey 2-21, Jake Spaniol 2-12, Imholte 2-2, Tommy Auger 1-18.

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