SHINER -- There are, no doubt, thousands of football coaches across the country who would simply love to have Jake Wachsmuth’s dilemma: how to keep a team that’s out-scoring opponents by 40 or more points week in and week out at the top of its game.
"We got off to a good start but I think it was clear we let down a little bit," Wachsmuth said after his 11-0 Cardinals piled up more than 650 yards of offense en route to a 68-20 bi-district playoff win over Rockwall Christian Friday at Shiner’s Comanche Stadium.
"Any time you let up on a team that’s capable of making big plays, they’re going to challenge you, and I just feel like we didn’t defense them well enough," he said.
St. Paul will take on Sacred Heart Muenster in area action Friday at China Spring at 7 pm
The Cardinals bolted to four first-quarter touchdowns, led 33-8 at halftime and sealed the deal with a 23-point blitz to open the second half. All three primary St. Paul running backs -- Adam Hollenbach, Martin Kennedy and Brandon Sciba -- topped 100 yards rushing, with Sciba compiling a dizzying 174 yards on only five carries.
The big offensive numbers enabled the Cardinals to weather a 44-pass blitz by the Warriors. Quarterback Justo Garcia and receiver Aaron Eastin kept things interesting by connecting nine times on the night for 132 yards and TDs of 33 and 28, but Garcia completed just 15 of his 43 pass attempts.
The St. Paul defense set the tone early as lineman Dustin Adamek and linebacker Blue Hybner terrorized the Rockwall backfield, forcing three consecutive three-and-outs to start the game. St. Paul capitalized on all three occasions.
The Cards got their first score after a short punt and Adam Hollenbach’s 33-yard return put them at the warriors’ 25-yard line. Hollenbach slashed out a 24-yard gain on the first play, then ducked it in from a yard out for a quick 7-0 lead on a drive that took all of 38 seconds.
The Cards turned to Kennedy next, as he carried four times on a 59-yard march, with a 25-yard swing pass from devin Pesek to Dakota Kresta moving the ball to the Rockwall 15. Kennedy slid in from 3 yards out for a 14-0 lead.
The third St. Paul drive took even less time than the first. Pesek slid a pass in the flats to Justin Natal, and the junior shot down the sideline for a 42-yard score that made it 21-0.
Eastin and Garcia got Rockwall on the board with their 33-yard scoring pass to cap a nice 9-play drive by the Warriors, but the Cardinals came right back and marched 53 yards in eight plays. Hollenbach turned a stretch play into a 20-yard TD on the final play of the first quarter for a 27-8 lead.
Hollenbach added his third TD of the game, a 2-yarder, midway through the second quarter but an interception and fumble stopped two other scoring opportunities.
Both teams scored every time they had the ball in the third quarter, although one of Rockwall’s possessions wound up as points for St. Paul.
The Cardinals opened the second half by driving 40 yards in just three plays following a 38-yard return of a pooch kick by Kresta. Hollenbach made an 8-yard run his fourth score of the evening.
An intentional grounding call set the Warriors back on their next try, then Matthew Baker and Brandon Metcalfe caught Garcia in the end zone for a six-yard sack and a two-point safety.
Kennedy followed the free kick by capping a six-play, 48-yard drive with an 8-yard scoring run that made it 49-8.
Following the second TD from Garcia to Eastin, Kennedy cut loose on a 70-yard tour of the Rockwall defensive backfield before Hololenbach got his fifth TD on a 2-yard plunge.
The Cardinals tacked on two more scores in the final period, with Sciba turning on the burners twice. The first came on a 48-yard charge around left end on the first play of the final period, and the second was an 88-yard quick opener after the St. Paul defense had stopped the Warriors on downs at the Cardinals’ 12-yard line.
GAME STATISTICS:Rockwall St. Paul First Downs 13 29 Rushes-Yards 27-51 42-513 Passing Yards 196 159 Passes 16-44-0 7-13-1 Punts 6-215 0-0 Fumbles-lost 5-1 3-1 Penalties-yards 8-57 10-98 SCORING SUMMARY: 1 2 3 4 -- Final Rockwall 8 0 6 6 -- 20 St. Paul 27 6 23 12 -- 68 Scoring Summary SP–Adam Hollenbach 1 run (Cole Hybner kick) SP–Martin Kennedy 3 run (Hybner kick) SP–Justin Natal 42 pass from Devin Pesek (Hybner kick) R–Aaron Eastin 33 pass from Justo Garcia (Easton pass from Garcia) SP–Adam Hollenbach 20 run (kick fail) SP–Hollenbach 2 run (kick fail) SP–Hollenbach 8 run (Hybner kick) SP–Safety, Garcia tackeld in end zone SP–Kennedy 8 run (Hybner kick) R–Eastin 28 pass from Garcia (pass fail) SP–Hollenbach 2 run (Hybner kick) SP–Brandon Sciba 47 run (kick fail) SP–Sciba 88 run (kick fail) R–Shelby Sharpless 8 run (pass fail) Individual Statistics RUSHING: Rockwall, Raymon Stewart 4-(-10), Justo Garcia 10-12, Aaron Eastin 7-32, Shelby Sharpless 2-7. St. Paul, Adam Hollenbach 17-160, Martin Kennedy 10-138, Brandon Sciba 5-174, Devin Pesek 5-11, Blue Hybner 3-37, Stephen Curtiss 1-(-1), Spahn 1-1. PASSING: Rockwall, Garcia 15-43-0-189, Eastin 1-1-0-7. St. Paul, Pesek 7-13-1-159. RECEIVING: Rockwall, Eastin 9-132, Raymon Stewart 5-27, Seth Berkshier 1-17. St. Paul, Justin Natal 3-75, Sciba 3-52, Dakota Kresta 1-25. SCORING DETAILS: First Quarter StP: Adam Hollenbach 1 yrd run (kick failes) 7:56. StP: Devin Pesek to Martin Kennedy 31 yrd. pass (2 pt good) 3:35 LCH: Micheal Saunders to Jordan Hoffman 4 yrd. pass (Marshall Smith kick) 1:50 Second Quarter StP: Hollenbach 16 yrd. run (kick blocked) 9:56 LCH: Saunders to Smith 52 yrd. pass (Smith kick) 8:14 LCH: Saunders to Hoffman 4 yrd. pass (Smith kick) 1:29 Third Quarter StP: Hollenbach 10 yrd. run (2 pt. good) 4:15 StP: Brandon Sciba 25 yrd. run (Cole Hybner kick) 2:03 Fourth Quarter StP: Hollenbach 3 yrd. run (kick blocked) 11:28 StP: Hollenbach 4 yrd. run (Hybner kick) 7:07 INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS: Rushing St. Paul, B. Sciba 8-64, M. Kennedy 7-90, D. Pesek 4-(-12), A. Hollenbach 30-161, S. Curtiss 2-(-4), C. Spahn 1-0. Passing St. Paul, D. Pesek 7-4-128-1. Receiving St. Paul, A. Hollenbach 2-36, J. Natal 1-64, B. Sciba 1-28.