Cedar ground game churns out win
HARTINGTON — It was quite the confident and comprehensive way to open a football season for the Cedar Catholic Trojans.
Coming off a C2 quarterfinal playoff appearance a year ago, head coach Chad Cattau was looking for a good start to the campaign and got just that as the Trojans slowly pulled away for a 26-0 win over O’Neill in the nightcap of a double-header at Russ Hochstein Field Friday night.
Three different Trojans scored on touchdown runs as Brett Kleinschmit (44 yards), Tate Thoene (one yard) and Easton Becker (46 yards) set the marker on a 20-0 edge midway through the third quarter.
A pick six right before the end of the third quarter by Jaxson Bernecker sealed the opening night victory.
“I thought our team did a good job in preparing for O’Neill and it showed on the field,” Cattau said. “We played pretty decent fundamentally and we didn’t make a bunch of big mistakes. We definitely have a lot of things to improve upon, but that is always the case, especially after a week one game.
“I think we have a good baseline to start with and we will get better for sure. There were a lot of good things that came out of the game. We played a bunch of kids and I believe it really showed as the game moved along. We were able to use our depth at multiple positions to help try and keep some kids fresh and that really helped us throughout the game. I felt our conditioning was another factor that helped us. We felt we would be in better shape and be able to wear them down as the game moved along and I thought that was a big factor in the outcome.”
Cedar outgained O’Neill 302- 145 in yards, rushing for 205 of those yards — a 6.4 yard per carry average.
Tate Thoene completed nine of 14 passes for 97 yards while Becker ran for 115 yards on 16 carries. Grant and Carter Arens each caught three passes for 45 and 34 yards apiece. “We got some very good play from a lot of people,” Cattau said. “Our offensive line did an excellent job of allowing us to have success on the ground and in the air.”
Having Brett Kleinschmit healthy again is another real bonus for the team, Cattau said.
“It was exciting to see Brett come out and get an early TD after missing almost all of last year with a shoulder injury,” he said. “Having his ability to make plays for us will really help take some of the pressure off of Easton and Tate because it just gives us another weapon that teams have to prepare for.”
The Cedar defense looked to be in mid-season form, Cattau said.
“I thought defensively we were pretty solid on all three levels,” he said. “Getting a pick-six from Jaxson was a big play for us on that side of the ball and really helped seal the game for us.”
Senior linebacker Hunter Thoene said the win came with the same dressing of a first game.
“We had confidence, but you could still tell there were butterflies in some players, and they were a little bit nervous,” Hunter Thoene said. “But once we hit the field, everything went the way it should have. There were times we could have made some better plays, but we put ourselves in the spot to win the game. We had some players that made some big-time plays, and we played an overall good game.”
Hunter Thoene said the win was a good ignition for a follow up to last year’s big year in hopes of a grand encore.
“We have been beating ourselves up in practice for three weeks now and we hit the field and hit them good,” he said. “I feel like that really made our team and teammates happy and put the taste of winning in their mouth and they will want more.
“We were in the locker room and were already talking about Battle Creek. We now want to keep the train rolling and get better every week. We just have to make sure we are doing everything right. It just comes down to having all the mental reps you have had by the time Friday comes. You’ve got to go out there and be prepared to get it done.”
Next up is the always anticipated meeting with rivals Battle Creek.
“I know they will be well prepared to play us,” Cattau said. “After beating them in overtime last year, they will be highly motivated. They do a lot of similar things to us so both teams will somewhat mirror each other in what they do. We will need to play with a high level of emotion and be fundamentally sound.”
Battle Creek has some real playmakers, Cattau said.
“They have two very talented running backs, and their quarterback can throw the ball and run it with success,” he said. “They also play physical on defense, and they are going to force us to use a variety of weapons to beat them. We will have to do a good job of mixing up the run and pass throughout the game.”
Cedar Catholic 7 7 12 0 —26
O’Neill 0 0 0 0 — 0
Rushing 32-205 31- 43
Passing 9-14-97 10-17-102
Total 46-302 48-145
First Downs 16 11
Penalty yds 4-25 3-35
PASSING Cedar - Tate Thoene, 9-14-97; O’Neill - Landon Classen, 7-14-52; Drew Morrow, 3-3-50.
RUSHING Cedar - Easton Becker, 16-115; Brett Kleinschmit, 6-40; Ty Thoene, 3-36; Tate Thoene, 7-14.
RECEIVING Cedar - Grant Arens, 3-45; Carter Arens, 3-34; Jaxson Bernecker, 3-18. TACKLES Cedar - Jaxson Bernecker, 6; Easton Becker, 5; Tate Thoene, 5; Spencer Albers, 5; Carter Arens, 4; Ty Thoene, 4; Brett Kleinschmit, 3; Owen Dendinger, 3; Keaton Steffen, 3; Max Steffen, 2; Conner Hochstein, 2; Hunter Thoene, 2; Grant Arens, 2; Ethan Becker, 2; Jaelen Lammers, 2; Carson Arens, 1; Brandon Rohan, 1.
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