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Fairmont football reigns in Homecoming win over New Ulm

SCOOP & SCORE — Fairmont linebacker Caleb Chambers (23) scores a touchdown after recovering a blocked punt by Cardinal linebacker Aden Welcome (middle) during prep football action Friday night at Mahoney Field in Fairmont. New Ulm punter Marqavion Haefner (11) watches the play. Fairmont went on to rout New Ulm, 48-12, for a Homecoming victory. (Photo by Greg Abel)

FAIRMONT — Brendan Schmidtke did not run for Homecoming king, but Fairmont’s senior quarterback reigned over Mahoney Field during Friday night’s Week 5 football game against New Ulm.

Schmidtke proved perfect passing, completing all eight of his first-half throws for a game-best 152 yards and three touchdowns to power the Cardinals’ 48-12 rout over the Eagles in Fairmont.

With Fairmont building a 41-6 lead by intermission and running time in place for the second half, Schmidtke just watched from the sideline for the final 24 minutes of regulation.

“We played a perfect first half,” said Fairmont head coach Mat Mahoney, who will be inducted into the Fairmont Athletic Hall of Fame for his coaching prowess tonight at Fairmont High School’s Performing Arts Center. “Brendan completed every pass, we ran for two touchdowns, we didn’t have to punt and our special teams produced a touchdown right out of the gate.”

Fairmont linebacker Aden Welcome utilized his quickness and vertical leap to block New Ulm punter Marqavion Haefner’s first-possession kick and linebacker Caleb Chambers produced a scoop-and-score recovery return from 15 yards out.

Owen Burmeister drilled the first of his six PAT kicks to burst open the proverbial floodgates at the 10:40 juncture of the opening quarter.

“We were incredibly efficient in the first half, converting all five of our first offensive possessions into points,” said Mahoney. “Maak (David Maakestad) didn’t even have to step onto the field to punt once.”

End Hank Artz, Chambers, Welcome and Maakestad turned up the defensive heat in the Eagles’ offensive backfield to force a punt, and Schmidtke only needed two completions to Levi Pooley to cover 53 of the 80 needed yards to hit paydirt.

Schmidtke zipped home a 26-yarder to Pooley before floating home a perfect 27-yard fade pass to Pooley at the right pylon for six points. Burmeister’s PAT kick doubled the gap to 14-0 with 6:38 to go in the first quarter.

Brock Lutterman then garnered the first of Fairmont’s two interceptions by stepping in front of a Graham Glaser pass intended for Colton Benson in the right flat.

Schmidtke found Pooley again, this time from 16 yards out. Pooley grabbed the pigskin at the 10, bulldozed a defender and dove over the left pylon for the TD for an eventual 21-0 lead with 5:10 left in the first frame.

Welcome, Artz and Co. forced another three-and-out New Ulm sequence and Schmidtke utilized the pass-catching skills of Maakestad and Elijah Johnson to march down the field.

Maakestad grabbed a 9-yard out and Johnson pocketed a 13-yarder to eventually set up Artz’s 2-yard TD leap above the heart of a goal-line scrum with 29 seconds to go in the first period.

Pooley’s interception and return to the New Ulm 36 put the Cardinals back in offensive business only 18 seconds later.

Landen Meyerdirk, who gained a team-best 44 of Fairmont’s 150 total rushing yards, reeled off 10 yards before Schmidtke fired a 26-yard post pass to Nolan Schultze.

Schultze, a 6-2 sophomore receiver, displayed his vertical leap and reliable hands on the TD reception. Burmeister’s kick widened the gap to 34-0 in the Cardinals’ favor with 11:54 left in the second quarter.

New Ulm, however, countered by assembling a 17-play, 80-yard scoring drive to inch within 34-6 with 3:13 left before intermission.

Glaser fired a clutch 29-yard completion to James Osborne before later spotting Preston Holberg for six points on a crossing route to slice the gap on the scoreboard to 28.

Meyerdirk, however, used his shifty running style and speed to return the ensuing kickoff 29 yards to gain midfield.

Schmidtke connected with Maakestad for 17-yard out, Meyerdirk took a pitch for a 15-yard end-around run and Schmidtke completed an 18-yarder to Lutterman to reach the 3. Meyerdirk then took the end-around toss and glided into the end zone before Burmeister kicked the PAT for a 41-6 lead with only 31 seconds left before halftime.

Artz’s 8-yard quarterback sack during the middle stages of the third quarter later set up James Johnson’s 1-yard TD run and Burmeister’s kick with 10:28 left in regulation.

Frederick then reeled off 67 of his game-best 110 rushing yards on a hammering run against the Fairmont reserves to cap the scoring.

Osborne and AJ Kauffmann recorded one interception apiece for New Ulm during the second half.

Fairmont (3-2) travels to Worthington next Friday night for a 7 p.m. kickoff on the artificial surface, while New Ulm (1-4) plays host to Class 3A No. 9-ranked Waseca at 7 p.m. Thursday night.

New Ulm 0 6 0 6 — 12

Fairmont 27 14 0 7 — 48

Scoring Plays

1st Quarter

FMT–Caleb Chambers recovery return on Aden Welcome blocked punt (Owen Burmeister kick), 10:40.

FMT–Levi Pooley 27 pass from Brendan Schmidtke (Owen Burmeister kick), 6:38.

FMT–Levi Pooley 16 pass from Brendan Schmidtke (Owen Burmeister kick), 5:10.

FMT–Hank Artz 2 run (kick failed), 0:29.

2nd Quarter

FMT–Nolan Schultze 26 pass from Brendan Schmidtke (Owen Burmeister kick), 11:54.

NU–Preston Holberg 6 pass from Graham Glaser (kick failed), 3:13.

FMT–Landen Meyerdirk 3 run (Owen Burmeister kick), 0:31.

4th Quarter

FMT–James Johnson 1 run (Owen Burmeister kick), 10:28.

NU–Ty Frederick 67 run (kick failed), 9:02.

TEAM STATISTICS

First downs: Fairmont 14; New Ulm 7. Rushing: Fairmont 35-150; New Ulm 22-111. Passing: Fairmont 12-15-2-182; New Ulm 6-15-2-62. Fumbles-lost: Fairmont 0-0; New Ulm 3-0. Penalties: Fairmont 4-25; New Ulm 2-10.

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