CEDAR FALLS — That wasn’t a monkey the Xavier Saints got off their backs Friday night.
It was a Tiger. And a lot of history.
Cedar Rapids Xavier solved Cedar Falls in the regular season for the first time in school history, outmuscling the fifth-rated Tigers, 24-7, in a Mississippi Valley Conference Valley Division showdown Friday night at the UNI-Dome.
Class 4A fourth-rated Xavier (8-0 overall, 5-0 division) wrapped up its third divisional title. The Saints reigned in 2006, their state-championship year, then shared a title in 2007.
“I’m very happy for the kids and the assistant coaches,” said Xavier Coach Duane Schulte. “I’m just a small cog in the deal.”
The Saints held No. 5 Cedar Falls (7-1, 5-1) to 188 yards, 10 first downs and just one trip into the end zone.
“We came prepared,” said defensive end Matt Nelson. “We had to do our jobs, and we just want to keep getting better every day.”
Quarterback Reggie Schulte was efficient as always, completing 15 of 19 passes for 167 yards and two touchdowns. And Wes Gardner replaced Brendan Miller at tailback in the second half, and rushed for 101 yards and a score.
“I had to be ready when they called my name,” Gardner said. “If we keep working hard every day, we’re going to be hard to beat.”
Xavier improved to 2-11 all-time against Cedar Falls, with the only previous win coming in the quarterfinals of the 2006 playoffs, at Saints Field.
The ’06 team was the only Xavier team to win a game in the UNI-Dome — it beat Bettendorf and Southeast Polk here in the semifinals and the championship — and had never beaten Cedar Falls indoors.
“Cedar Falls has such a good team, such good tradition,” Coach Schulte said.
But the Saints were simply superior Friday.
Reggie Schulte threw touchdown passes to Bryce Grimm (11 yards) and Corbin Woods (33 yards) in the first half as the Saints took a 14-7 lead into the locker room.
Woods’ acrobatic grab snapped a 7-7 tie with 4:16 left in the first half, and the Saints led the rest of the way.
Ryan Persick converted a 30-yard field goal to cap the Saints’ first drive of the second half to make it 17-7, then Gardner’s 16-yard scamper with 1:20 to play capped the scoring.
Grimm caught six passes for 70 yards; Woods snared five for 78.
Meanwhile, the Saints held Cedar Falls quarterback Brayden Longnecker to 70 passing yards on 7-of-23 attempts. Longnecker scored the Tigers’ lone touchdown, a 2-yard run.
The Saints try to cap a perfect regular season next week at home against Linn-Mar. Cedar Falls is at Dubuque Hempstead.
C.R. Xavier 24, Cedar Falls 7
|TEAM STATISTICS||CR Xavier||Cedar Falls|
|Rushes-yards||41 – 123||29 – 118|
|Comp-Att-Int||15 – 20 – 0||7 – 24 – 1|
|Fumbles-lost||1 – 0||2 – 1|
|Punts-average||6 – 35.5||6 – 35.3|
|Penalties-yards||6 – 49||8 – 60|
C.R. Xavier – Wes Gardner 18-101, Brendan Miller 12-30, Matt Thorsteinson 3-5, Reggie Schulte 8-(minus-13). Cedar Falls – Eli Berregaard 11-57, Jake Buck 12-53, Nick Clark 4-10, Brayden Longnecker 2-(minus-2).
C.R. Xavier – Schulte 15-19-0-167, Corbin Woods 0-1-0-0. Cedar Falls – Longnecker 7-23-1-70, Buck 0-1-0-0.
C.R. Xavier – Bryce Grimm 6-70, Woods 5-78, Gardner 2-17, Miller 1-2, Thorsteinson 1-0. Cedar Falls – Ike Boettger 4-46, Austin Mennen 2-17, Karl Kramer 1-7.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
CRX – Bryce Grimm 11 pass from Reggie Schulte (Ryan Persick kick)
CF – Brayden Longnecker 2 run (Jacob Newton kick)
CRX – Corbin Woods 33 pass from Schulte (Persick kick)
CRX – FG 30 Persick
CRX – Wes Gardner 16 run (Persick kick)