One season removed from Richfield earning the first-ever Battle of the Train Tracks trophy with a 28-14 win over Holy Angels, the Holy Angels football team was hoping for a measure of revenge during the teams’ latest match-up Sept. 29.
Holy Angels overcame a slow start to score 42 points in the second quarter to seal a 56-13 win over Richfield to improve to 5-0 on the season.
“It feels great, the last time we played them it didn’t feel so good,” Holy Angels head football coach Jim Gunderson said. “They do a lot of really good things, they are a very well-coached team.
“They are young and they will be good in the future and are battling in every game. They do fundamentally great things in football.”
Holy Angels started the game well, as quarterback Joe Heimbold connected on a 43-yard touchdown pass with John Kosmach, but Richfield, on its third offensive play on the game, hit on a 75-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Caleb Carlson to wide receiver Emmanuel Blackshear to tie the score at 7-7 after the first quarter.
“I come in with the mindset that nobody can cover me when I’m running,” Blackshear said. “I run full speed with that mind set, and once I have that mind set there isn’t anyone that can stop me.”
Richfield head football coach Kris Pulford was pleased with how his team was able to come back after Holy Angels drove down the field to score with relative ease.
“They scored first and we came right back, we have been in games every game,” Pulford said. “Scoring like that right away gives us a mental edge because Holy Angels is a ranked team that is 4-0, 5-0 now, and when they go down and score like that and we come back right away in three plays, our guys think they can play with those guys.
“It was really good to start like that.”
Holy Angels, after it played to a 7-7 tie in the first quarter, scored six touchdowns in the second quarter to take a 49-7 lead into halftime.
“They hit us with the big one, that’s the biggest play we have had on us the whole year,” Gunderson said. “That’s what they’ve been doing all year.
“The guys tested it out a little bit and woke up in the second quarter, won the battle of field position and started capitalizing on turnovers and the boys really responded.”
Heimbold connected with Ryan Mazurek on a 21-yard touchdown pass and Kosmach on a 42-yard touchdown pass before hitting Keontay Shorter on a 22-yard touchdown pass. Heimbold also picked up touchdown runs of 16 and 30 yards to end his day with a total of six touchdowns scored.
“Everybody just performed well and did their jobs,’ Heimbold said. “The linemen opened up big holes, the backfield blockers were doing their jobs and it opened up some big holes for me to run through.
“The passing game was working really well, I trusted my reads, was able to throw a couple good balls and the receivers did the rest.”
Pulford, despite the score at halftime, told his team to keep playing its hardest. While the Spartans ultimately lost the game, he was pleased that his team was able to play to a 7-6 score in the second half.
“We just had three turnovers in the second quarter,” Pulford said. “They scored seven points in the first quarter, we scored seven points in the first quarter. They scored seven points in the second half and we scored six.
“If you look at that the second quarter kind of stacked against us and we couldn’t overcome that. We could have been really down at halftime, but I challenged them to play as hard as they could for the rest of the game, to play for their buddies, and they came out and did that.”
No matter the score, Pulford said the atmosphere the game provided added an extra element to the game.
“It’s always fun to walk down the tracks, either they do or we do, it’s always going to be a good community event to come out and support the local teams,” Pulford said. “When fans can have fun and the community can have fun, that’s a win.”
Holy Angels collected 416 total yards of offense in the victory. While his skill players were able to produce in the game, Gunderson was left most impressed by his team’s offensive line.
“It starts up front, it always does, and the offensive line responded,” Gunderson said. “Those guys are good, they were pinching hard on us, so we had a couple outside plays to make them defend the outside and then we went back inside.
“I think the offensive line just blocked whatever play was called.”
Holy Angels (5-0) will play next against Benilde-St. Margaret’s at 7 p.m. Friday, oct. 6, at Benilde St. Margaret’s School, while Richfield will play next at its homecoming game against Cooper at 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7, at Richfield High School.
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