Irish ‘D’ dominant in road victory

Falls City Sacred Heart’s first and only deficit of the season was quickly erased Friday night in Axtell, KS, as the top-ranked Irish used their best defensive performance of the season to rout the Eagles 50-12. Gang Green, now 3-0, held the Eagles to 59 yards of total offense, forced two turnovers and blocked a pair of punts. When it was all said and done, Axtell carried the ball 40 times for 15 yards.

FCSH senior Jarod Fiegener continued his dominance up front, as he finished with 18 tackles (seven solo), three sacks, five tackles for loss and a forced fumble. Collectively, the Irish sacked Axtell’s Tyler Jones six times.  

The Eagles put the first points on the board when Payton Heinen recovered an Irish fumble on the second play of the game and returned it five yards for a touchdown to put Axtell ahead 6-0.

After a three-and-out by Axtell, FCSH junior Sawyer Kean capped off a four play, 65-yard drive with a 39-yard touchdown run to tie the game with just over 10 minutes left in the first quarter. Senior Yianni Haralabidis tacked on the extra point to give the Irish the 7-6 lead.  

On the next Axtell possession, Irish junior Zavan Kirkendall broke through on a blocked punt attempt and sacked the Eagle’s punter at their own 12-yard line, setting up the second Irish score of the game, a 17-yard touchdown run by senior fullback Brandon Schawang. Kean, who finished with 17 carries for 112 yards, added another rushing touchdown from three yards out late in the first that put the Irish ahead 21-6.  

Both second quarter touchdowns for the Irish came via the forward pass, as Irish senior quarterback Chaz Dunn found fellow senior Sean Strasheim for an 11-yard touchdown on the first play of the second quarter. Then, with five minutes left in the half, Dunn found senior Colin Niemeyer for a 24-yard score that put FCSH comfortably ahead, 34-6. The touchdown strikes were Dunn’s sixth and seventh of the season.

FCSH’s only points of the third quarter came on Axtell’s first drive of the second half when Strasheim’s blocked punt bounced out of the end zone for a safety to put FCSH ahead 36-6. The Irish turned it over twice through the air and once on downs on three of their four third quarter possessions.

Fortunately, FCSH kept the pressure up defensively. Fiegener ended two third quarter Axtell drives when he forced a fumble by Dylan Heiman that was recovered by senior Daniel Keithley and later he sacked Axtell’s Jones on fourth down. The Eagles turned it over on downs on their other two possessions in the third quarter and never threatened in the fourth.

FCSH added two fourth quarter touchdowns, both coming from short yardage runs by Schawang.

It was the lowest offensive output of the season for FCSH, who finished with 289 yards, but probably also their best all-around defensive performance. Axtell ran 56 plays for 59 yards (1.05 yds/play). Last week against St. Joseph Christian (MO), the Irish allowed 73 yards on 46 plays (1.6 yds/play).

Homecoming week culminates Friday night when the Irish host district foe Diller-Odell. The Griffins (1-2) are coming off their first win of the season, a 71-42 victory over Johnson-Brock.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. and the Homecoming royalty will be announced following the game.  

Team Stats
                              FCSH     Axtell
First downs              18            7    
Rushing                33-163     40-81
Rushing lost             18          66
Rushing net            145         15
Passing                14-24-2    4-16-0
Passing yds.            144         44
Fumbles lost              1           2
Punts-ave.             2-35.5     7-23.9
Punt Ret. Yds.          20            0
Kickoffs-ave.          8-49.5      4-51
Kickoff Ret. Yds.       24           50
Total return yds.       44          63
Penalties-yds.          9-88       7-60
Total offense    289    59
    FCSH — Dunn, 6-(-11); Kean, 17-112, 2 TD; Malone, 1-8; Schawang, 9-36, 3 TD.
    FCSH — 14-23-2, 144 yds., 2 TD.
    FCSH — Kean, 3-6; Niemeyer, 5-55, TD; Scheitel, 2-16; Strasheim, 4-67, TD.
    FCSH — Haralabidis, 6-7.
    FCSH — 8-396, 49.5 avg.
Kickoff Returns
    FCSH — Kean, 1-24.
    FCSH — Ramer, 2-71, 35.5 avg.
Punt Returns
    FCSH — Malone, 2-20.
    FCSH — Dunn, 1-0; Fiegener, 7-11; Keithley, 5-3; Kirkendall, 3-6; Malone, 2-0; Niemeyer, 2-1; Schawang, 5-7; Scheitel, 1-5; Strasheim, 5-2.
    FCSH — Fiegener, 3; Keithley, 2; Niemeyer, 1.
Tackles For Losses-Yards Lost
    FCSH — Fiegener, 5-28; Keithley, 3-6; Kirkendall, 2-12; Niemeyer, 1-5; Schawang, 2-6; Scheitel, 1-4; Strasheim, 1-5.

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