Jorgensen, Anderson pass Cardinals by Royals in finale, 35-6
WATERTOWN, Minnesota — Mat Mahoney has developed a penchant for passing the football throughout his 14 seasons as Fairmont’s head coach.
Quarterback Zach Jorgensen and receiver Eli Anderson proved prime examples of Mahoney’s air-strike offensive philosophy during the Cardinals’ final game of the coronavirus-condensed season.
Jorgensen threw for a career-best 295 yards and matched his top single-game mark of four passing TDs, while Anderson collected No. 1 career totals of 14 receptions for 203 yards en route to three TDs to lift Fairmont to a 35-6 non-playoff rout of the Watertown-Mayer Royals on Friday night in Watertown.
“I thought our offensive line really gave Zach time to throw the ball tonight,” Mahoney said in reference to all-South Central Red District honorable mention selections Shayne Steinbrink and Gavin Junkermeier, along with Tyler Davis, Sawyer Tordsen and Noah Rahm. “Zach and Eli just played a game of throw-and-catch, and I think using the no-huddle kept them in rhythm.
“Even though we didn’t use it (no-huddle) all game long, we went with it enough to be very effective.”
Jorgensen, a first-team all-district choice, connected for the first two of his season-best 24 completions to David Maakestad and Anderson to highlight the Cardinals’ game-opening march downfield. Jorgensen fired a 19-yarder to Maakestad to initially reach Royals’ territory at the 32 before threading a 21-yard scoring strike to the sure-handed all-district receiver in Anderson.
Owen Burmeister nailed the first of his five PAT kicks to stake Fairmont to a 7-0 lead with 8:36 remaining in the first quarter.
After all-district linebackers Hudson Artz and Gavin Rodning, along with defensive lineman Hank Artz, stiffened to force a punt after three Royals’ first downs, the Jorgensen-to-Anderson long-distance connection struck like lightning. Jorgensen launched a 50-yard TD pass to Anderson with only 38 seconds remaining in the opening frame en route to a 14-0 edge.
Jorgensen and Anderson ignited the ensuing scoring drive that Rodning capped by garnering a 5-yard screen pass for a TD. Burmeister’s accurate kick widened the gap to 21-0 with 6:31 left in the second.
Fairmont’s smothering defense then forced another punt and left just enough time for Air Jorgensen to cover the distance.
“For only having one day of preparation, I thought (John) Kesselring and (Brad) Johnson put together a great game plan to hold Watertown-Mayer to nothing of real significance on offense,” said Mahoney. “Our defense seemed to be in the right spots all night long.”
Rodning and linebacker Aden Welcome found the right spot in the Royals’ backfield, sacking quarterback Albert Rundell on back-to-back plays to help regain possession via a punt with 1:21 left before intermission.
Jorgensen efficiently used the short time to work down the field with a 5-yarder to Hudson Artz before going to his “go-to receiver” in Anderson on completions of 11, 8 and 3 before lofting a 32-yard over-the-shoulder spiral for six points with 12 seconds to go before halftime.
After Tanner Rosch delivered a key sack to force another Royals’ punt to open the third quarter, Jorgensen rewarded the defensive end/tight end with a 17-yard pass. Jorgensen then fired a 27-yarder to Anderson to march into W-M territory again at the 28.
Hudson Artz took a toss sweep around right end, broke a tackle and just missed crossing the goal line at the 1 on the strength of his 20-yard sprint. Jorgensen punched it into the end zone before Burmeister kicked the PAT for a commanding 35-0 lead with 3:33 left in the third.
Rundell completed a 6-yard TD pass to Dylan Mandt as time expired to account for the Royals’ only points of the game.
Anderson, who finished the five-game season with a team-best five interceptions, was tabbed the South Central Red District’s defensive back of the year, while Hudson Artz transformed his 32.7-yard kickoff return average into the district’s special teams player of the year award.
Jorgensen was named as Fairmont’s MVP, Anderson as the top offensive threat, Hudson Artz as the defensive playmaker, Davis received the Tom Mahoney Award, Junkermeier was tabbed Cardinals’ lineman of the year and Gage Cyphers earned the scout team player of the year for Fairmont (2-3).
FMT 14 14 7 0 — 35
W-M 0 0 0 6 — 6
FMT–Eli Anderson 21 pass from Zach Jorgensen (Owen Burmeister kick), 8:36.
FMT–Anderson 50 pass from Jorgensen (Burmeister kick), 0:38.
FMT–Gavin Rodning 5 pass from Jorgensen (Burmeister kick), 6:31.
FMT–Anderson 32 pass from Jorgensen (Burmeister kick), 0:12.
FMT–Jorgensen 1 run (Burmeister kick), 3:33.
W-M–Dylan Mandt 6 pass from Albert Rundell (no PAT attempted), 0:00.