Jorgensen, Fairmont trample St. Peter, 41-19
ST. PETER — Zach Jorgensen looks like the legitimate heir apparent at quarterback for the Fairmont football team, both through the air and on the ground.
The 6-foot-3, 170-pound sophomore signal-caller completed 10 of 18 passes for a game-best 267 yards and four touchdowns to complement rushing 10 times for a game-high 84 yards and another score to power the Cardinals to a 41-19 victory over the St. Peter Saints on Friday night at Floyd B. Johnson Field.
Trailing 12-0 on the heels of two Ethan Grant TD receptions from St. Peter quarterback Wyatt Olson, Jorgensen and senior split end Caden Baarts needed only one snap midway through the second quarter to pare Fairmont’s deficit in half.
The Cardinals’ spread offense created seams in the Saints’ defensive secondary, and Jorgensen threaded the needle to a sprinting Baarts for a 60-yard TD connection. Jack Hested kicked the PAT to inch Fairmont within 12-7 with 7:38 remaining in the second quarter.
“We definitely weren’t explosive offensively in our season-opener against Marshall, but our playmakers stepped up and delivered for us tonight,” said Fairmont head coach Mat Mahoney, whose offense generated 417 total yards on the night. “Defensively, our guys woke up after the first quarter, made adjustments and turned in one heckuva performance for the duration.”
Defensive back Hudson Artz and Cale Steuber limited St. Peter to an ensuing three-and-out offensive series to regain possession via a Saints’ punt on the Cardinals’ 34.
Jorgensen zipped an 11-yard strike to Tyson Kube on a roll-out play for a key third-and-five conversion during the following march downfield. Fairmont’s sophomore QB then hit Blake Buntjer for 13-yard sideline completion to reach the St. Peter 14, and Jorgensen and Steuber worked their magic through the airwaves. Jorgensen lofted a perfect spiral to Steuber in the right corner of the end zone for six more points before Hested kicked the PAT for a momentum-turning 14-12 lead with only 46 seconds remaining before halftime.
“We just took the wind out of their sails by scoring 41 unanswered points, starting in the second quarter. Our defense played lights out, and our offense struck from long distance,” said Mahoney.
It took the Cardinals’ offense just two snaps into the third quarter to strike like lightning on the scoreboard. Jorgensen fired a left-sideline pass to Baarts, and the senior split end broke a pair of tackles, slashed right and sprinted 67 yards for his second TD catch of the game for a 20-12 lead at the 11:04 juncture.
Linebacker Gavin Rodning’s run-snuffing tackles and defensive tackle Josh Heinze’s quarterback sack later stymied the Saints’ drive at the Cardinals’ 15-yard line with 4 1/2 minutes left in the third period.
Jorgensen took the second snap of the possession, lofted the football 35 yards to midfield, where Steuber corraled the jump-ball toss, broke free and raced to paydirt for his second score of the game – an 86-yard catch. Hested booted the PAT for a 27-12 margin with 4:13 remaining in the third quarter.
Fairmont defensive end Zach Soelter’s run-stopping skills helped stall out another St. Peter possession and forced another Saints’ punt 3 1/2 minutes into the fourth frame.
This offensive series, Jorgensen let his legs deliver the damage, weaving through traffice in the middle of the field before accelerating his way 34 yards to the end zone for six more points. Hested’s PAT kick put the game almost out of reach at 34-12 with 8:30 left in regulation.
Artz later added a 23-yard scoring run around left end and Hested chipped in another PAT for a commanding 41-12 edge with 5:09 remaining.
Linebacker Ryan Wilmes’ late fumble recovery later set up St. Peter running back Vinny Guappone’s 3-yard TD sprint with 1:28 to go.
Baarts made only two catches for a game-best 127 yards and two TDs, while Steuber nearly matched his teammate by garnering three Jorgensen spirals for 103 yards and two scores. Steuber also produced the Cardinals’ first defensive gem of the season by pocketing a fourth-quarter interception.
Olson completed 18 of 35 passes for 209 yards and two TDs – both to Grant, who finished with four catches for 55 yards. Tight end Josh Johnson garnered four receptions for 48 yards for the Saints, while Guappone and running back Michael Connor each netted 45 yards to top the ground game.
Fairmont (1-1) plays host to Class AAA No. 2-ranked Waseca at 7 p.m. next Friday night at Mahoney Field, while St. Peter (1-1) travels to Wilson Field to square off against Blue Earth Area.
Fairmont 0 14 13 14 – 41
St. Peter 6 6 0 7 – 19
SP-Ethan Grant 29 pass from Wyatt Olson (pass failed), 10:32.
SP-Grant 6 pass from Olson (pass failed), 7:54.
FA-Caden Baarts 60 pass from Zach Jorgensen (Jack Hested kick), 7:38.
FA-Cale Steuber 14 pass from Jorgensen (Hested kick), 0:46.
FA-Baarts 67 pass from Jorgensen (kick failed), 11:04.
FA-Steuber 86 pass from Jorgensen (Hested kick), 4:13.
FA-Jorgensen 34 run (Hested kick), 8:30.
FA-Hudson Artz 23 run (Hested kick), 5:09.
SP-Vinny Guappone 3 run (Ryan Braun kick), 1:28.
First downs: St. Peter 13; Fairmont 10. Rushing: Fairmont 34-150; St. Peter 24-86. Passing: Fairmont 10-18-0-267; St. Peter 18-35-1-209. Fumbles-lost: Fairmont 2-1; St. Peter 0-0. Penalties: Fairmont 5-45; St. Peter 3-15.
Offense: Rushing: Jorgensen (F) 10-84; Michael Connor (SP) 12-45, Guappone (SP) 6-45. Passing: Jorgensen (F) 10-18-0-267; Olson (SP) 18-35-1-209. Receiving: Baarts (F) 2-127, Steuber (F) 3-103, Blake Buntjer (F) 3-20; Grant (SP) 4-55, Josh Johnson (SP) 4-48.
Defense: Interception: Steuber (F). Fumble recovery: Ryan Wilmes (SP).