Aberdeen Roncalli cruises by WagnerABERDEEN — Aberdeen Roncalli is not only still playing, the Cavaliers are still playing exceptionally well.
By: By DAVE VILHAUER, Aberdeen American News
ABERDEEN — Aberdeen Roncalli is not only still playing, the Cavaliers are still playing exceptionally well.
Roncalli excelled in every phase of the game and racked up another shutout victory, this time humbling Wagner 38-0 during the quarterfinals of the Class 11B football playoffs at Swisher Field on Monday night.
Roncalli, which will host Flandreau in the semifinals on Saturday, has now outscored its last four opponents at home by a combined total of 188-0.
“We told ourselves we were going to come out and get after it and not be tentative,” said Roncalli all-state quarterback Christian Cox, “and that’s exactly what we did.”
It was Cox who set the tone for the night when he scampered 54 yards on an option play for a touchdown less than three minutes into the contest.
The play was a prime example of Roncalli’s evening on offense as the Cavaliers racked up 263 yards rushing and controlled life on the line of scrimmage.
Roncalli even used a little deception in its offensive scheme, executing a hook and lateral to perfection on a play that covered 23 yards for a touchdown.
The Cavaliers also dominated the other side of the ball, not allowing the Red Raiders room to run and not giving the visitors time to throw. The result was just three first downs for Wagner, one coming on the final play of the first half.
“They did a good job against us. They took away our running game,” said Wagner coach Jason Knebel. “Hats off to them. They played well tonight against us.”
Then there was the special teams category where Roncalli covered a live ball on a kickoff to set up a score, blocked a punt and had a successful 39-yard field goal by Cox.
Andrew Holmstrom played a key role in the triumph. The senior rushed for 138 yards, blocked a punt, picked off a pass and scored three times.
“Holmstrom is a great player,” senior Landan Pietz said. “We have a lot of great players on our team.”
Cox finished the night with 78 yards rushing, 43 yards passing, had a hand in three touchdowns, booted a field goal and nailed five straight PAT kicks.
Brett Kuca passed for 95 yards to lead Wagner, which ended the season at 8-2.
“I’m proud of these guys. They played four quarters of football and didn’t give up,” Knebel said.
However, the Red Raiders found out what many opponents have come to experience against Roncalli at Swisher Field.
“We knew coming in that we were going to have to play one of our best games,” Knebel said. “They played well, tonight.”
AR: Christian Cox 54 run (Cox kick)
AR: Andrew Holmstrom 9 run (Cox kick)
AR: Holmstrom 1 run (Cox kick)
AR: Cox 39 FG
AR: Holmstrom 20 run after pitch from Austin Bierle 3 pass from Cox (Cox kick)
AR: Cox 2 run (Cox kick)