Irish shut out Mayer-Lutheran 7-0

by Dave Schroeder
On a cool, windy home opener, the Irish shut out the Mayer-Lutheran Crusaders 7-0 with an outstanding defensive show. As predicted in last week’s Messenger, this game was a tough, hard-hitting affair that saw the Irish record their first ever shut-out of Mayer Lutheran and pick up some key Section 4AA playoff points in the process.
In the opening quarter the Irish dominated offensively as well as defensively and looked as if they could run away with the game. Jesse Puncochar scored on an 8-yard run after a very long and time consuming drive, set up by an interception by Jordan Goelz deep in Crusader territory. Cam Knudsen, Jesse Puncochar, Brian Redemske and Goelz took the offensive load and marched down-field behind some strong line play to give the Irish the lead. Forrest Coughlin chipped in the extra point and the Irish led 7-0 after one quarter.
In the second quarter Mayer made some defensive adjustments to put the clamps on the Irish offense, but the Irish defense stood strong and continued to stop the Crusaders every time they seemed to start to get on a roll. When Mayer got a big play offensively, the Irish defense seemed to respond with one of their own to keep the Crusaders at bay. The first half ended with the Irish still in control 7-0.
“The first quarter we played with some fire and consistency, which showed as we had over 100 yards of offense, and the defense caused two turnovers to help us build some momentum,” said Head Coach Tim Knudsen. “In the second quarter our offensive execution was not up to snuff. We put the ball on the ground twice, missed some key blocks and reads and seemed tentative. Luckily, the defense rose to the occasion and shut Mayer down.”
The second half started with the Irish kicking to the Crusaders. They came out charging hard and picked up three quick first downs, but the Irish defense got their bearings back and stepped it up and again stopped the Crusaders. This time a Redemske interception turned the ball over to the Irish offense. The offense picked up a quick first down on two plays, but the next set of downs was not very productive as a blitzing Crusader linebacker dropped Knudsen for a 15-yard loss and the offense had to punt back to Mayer. The Crusaders were held to a three and out. The Irish then returned the favor with some shoddy blocking as the third quarter ended with a sack. The Irish still led 7-0.
In the fourth quarter the Irish started on offense with a third down, but after only one play were forced to punt. The Crusaders again started deep in their own territory after a long Justin Bidwell punt. Mayer again proceeded to put together a nice drive, running off four first downs and eating up some clock along the way. After a time-out the Irish defense finally adjusted, and just as you thought they would break, they stepped up once again and forced the Crusaders to turn it over on downs.
The Irish offense got back on the field with less than four minutes to play and tried to run out the clock, but Mayer used their time-outs effectively and the Irish were forced to punt the ball back. Bidwell hit another beautiful punt that also landed out of bounds, so there could be no runback attempted. The Crusaders, with little time left and deep in their own territory, went into a pass desperation mode, but the Irish defense shut down their last two attempts and ended the opener with a shut-out, 7-0.
“Thank goodness our defense stepped it up at the right times tonight. They seemed to come up with big plays at all the right times. We did just enough offensively to win, but we have to get our consistency and play-running clicking if we are going to be successful in the future,” Coach Knudsen said. “Mayer is a well-coached team and always plays us tough. Our defense stopped them, but they also had 11 penalties that really hurt them, especially in the second half.”
The Irish travel to Eden Valley-Watkins to open CMC play on Sept. 10 at 7 p.m. EV-W started their season off with a 39-0 pasting of Pipestone. This will be another tough, hard-hitting contest and will give even a better read as to the Irish progression on both offense and defense.
Offensive stats:
Rushing att yds TDs
Goelz 4 26 -
Knudsen 8 23 -
Jesse Puncochar 14 57 1
Redemske 8 30 -
Bidwell 4 4 -
Totals 38 140 1
Receiving c yds TDs
Wurm 1 7 -
Passing      att   c yds. TDs int.
Knudsen     3     1 7 - -
Defensive leaders: Puncochar, 12 tackles, 1 sack; Redemske, 6 tackles, 1 int.; Goelz, 3 tackles, 1 int., 3 break-ups; Rachel, 8 tackles; Couette, 7 tackles; Kelm, 4 tackles.
by Dave Schroeder
On a cool, windy home opener, the Irish shut out the Mayer-Lutheran Crusaders 7-0 with an outstanding defensive show. As predicted in last week’s Messenger, this game was a tough, hard-hitting affair that saw the Irish record their first ever shut-out of Mayer Lutheran and pick up some key Section 4AA playoff points in the process.
In the opening quarter the Irish dominated offensively as well as defensively and looked as if they could run away with the game. Jesse Puncochar scored on an 8-yard run after a very long and time consuming drive, set up by an interception by Jordan Goelz deep in Crusader territory. Cam Knudsen, Jesse Puncochar, Brian Redemske and Goelz took the offensive load and marched down-field behind some strong line play to give the Irish the lead. Forrest Coughlin chipped in the extra point and the Irish led 7-0 after one quarter.
In the second quarter Mayer made some defensive adjustments to put the clamps on the Irish offense, but the Irish defense stood strong and continued to stop the Crusaders every time they seemed to start to get on a roll. When Mayer got a big play offensively, the Irish defense seemed to respond with one of their own to keep the Crusaders at bay. The first half ended with the Irish still in control 7-0.
“The first quarter we played with some fire and consistency, which showed as we had over 100 yards of offense, and the defense caused two turnovers to help us build some momentum,” said Head Coach Tim Knudsen. “In the second quarter our offensive execution was not up to snuff. We put the ball on the ground twice, missed some key blocks and reads and seemed tentative. Luckily, the defense rose to the occasion and shut Mayer down.”
The second half started with the Irish kicking to the Crusaders. They came out charging hard and picked up three quick first downs, but the Irish defense got their bearings back and stepped it up and again stopped the Crusaders. This time a Redemske interception turned the ball over to the Irish offense. The offense picked up a quick first down on two plays, but the next set of downs was not very productive as a blitzing Crusader linebacker dropped Knudsen for a 15-yard loss and the offense had to punt back to Mayer. The Crusaders were held to a three and out. The Irish then returned the favor with some shoddy blocking as the third quarter ended with a sack. The Irish still led 7-0.
More information and stats appear in this week's Messenger.
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