The Fairmont football players came to town last Friday night with a bunch of big chips on their shoulders and they used the SJA football team to rid themselves of those chips by thumping the Saints 52-0.
One week earlier Fairmont had lost their first conference game in five years to St. Peter and came into St. James with a 2-3 losing record.
What might have given some hope to the Saints before the game started was the fact SJA had played St. Peter tough two weeks earlier. However, the Cardinals squashed any idea SJA might have had of winning early on.
The Saints came out gambling by trying a onside kickoff at the start of the game, but Fairmont covered the ball and started in great field position. In their first series, Fairmont went for a first down on fourth and four and the Saints stopped them with an inch or two to spare.
The Saints started with a no huddle hurry up offense, but went three and out.
Fairmont then went on a long drive to take a 7-0 lead with 5:28 left in the first quarter.
The Saints could not move the ball and attempted to punt it away but a bad snap/fumble gave Fairmont excellent field position at the SJA 19. Fairmont used the opportunity to put up their second TD with 2:22 left in the first quarter.
The Saints couldn’t get anything going on the long, cold night. For the game SJA had 61 yards on the ground and the pass offense had only three completions for 18 yards.
Ryan Menssen rushed 15 times for 63 yards. Quarterback Sam Carlson was sacked three times.
Under pressure most of the time he was back to pass, Carlson was 3-10. Walker Froehling played QB in relief and was 0-5 with one interception.
The Saints only had five first downs for the night. Fairmont had 21 first downs and rolled up 281 yards on the ground and had another 165 yards through the air.
Special teams on both sides were a bit of an adventure. SJA has some long snapping issues, but Fairmont sure can’t kick extra points. Fairmont missed two extra points and had two others blocked by SJA.
Late in the second quarter, SJA stopped the Cardinals on four downs and SJA took over with 3:27 to go in the half on their 36 yard line. The Saints couldn’t go anywhere on three running plays. Fairmont called timeouts on each play. Fairmont then got a great punt return to the SJA 29 and a personal foul on the Saints gave Fairmont the ball on the 14.
Page 2 of 2 - They scored on a TD pass with 1:01 to go in the half, so Fairmont led 32-0 at the break.
The Saints came close to punching it in during the third quarter. SJA had a great long drive starting at their own 22 that went down to the Fairmont five, but the Cardinals stopped SJA on a fourth down attempt when SJA was trying to pick up a first down to make it first and goal. Fairmont then went 95 yards to score their next touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter. The Cardinals added one more before the night was over.
Head Coach Jeff Whitney praised the effort of several of his players, “Ryan Menssen had a good night defensively. He tackled the big halfback from Fairmont in one on one situations numerous times. Zack Gleiter also had a good defensive night.”
Talking about the offense, Whitney said, “We struggled with the blitzing of Fairmont but some of that comes back to just being outplayed with Fairmont being stronger and having more overall team speed.”
Friday night is the last home game for the Saints this year. Whitney is happy with the effort the players are giving in practice and said, “Our kids are working very hard and giving it their all so please come and support the kids, they deserve it.”
SJA plays Waseca at 7:00 pm on Friday.