WACO - For the group of nine St. Paul seniors, it was the perfect ending to their high school careers.
The nine members of St. Paul football class of 2022 put their 2021 football state trophy and banner on display. all photos by Mark Lube
[ click any photo to enlarge ]
The Cardinals downed Muenster Sacred Heart 36-8 Friday evening at Waco ISD Stadium to claim their fourth state title in a row.
Seniors Kade Leist, Sean Humes, Caden Malinovsky, Noah Boedeker, Zak Johson, Ashton Rath, Cris Reyna, Peyton Brown and Ethan Easterling have helped St. Paul win a TAPPS IV state championship every season of their highschool tenure.
"It's pretty special," Johnson said of winning state every year in all four years. "It is something not everyone gets to get. I am just real glad and hope for the future classes to be able to keep the streak going."
St. Paul just played St. Paul football - Time consuming, sustain drives by keeping the ball on the ground courtesy of Johnson and Boedeker and hard-hitting defense that limited the Tigers to 178 yards and one score.
"We all came out and played our hardest," Johnson said. "We practiced hard all week and kept the mentality, and played hard in the game."
"Our kids came ready to play when they took the field at the opening kickoff," St. Paul head coach Jake Wachsmuth said. "We set the tone early, moving the ball down the field like we wanted to. Credit to Muenster, they had a few drives where they put some things together. I told our players if we play like we can play, we will be okay."
Winning state is always the Cardinals' ultimate goal and like plenty of other seasons in the past, St. Paul accomplished their goal.
"It gets harder and harder to win state because of the expectations, which those expectations are a good thing. Everyone is going to talk about four in a row but every year is a new year. None of the things we did before this season mattered this season; all that mattered was this year," Wachsmuth said. "Tradition is nice and winning state again is fun but it's tough."
St. Paul's Ethan Easterling (68) and the St. Paul defense lock in on Tiger running back Seth Swirczysnki.
When the 2022 seniors were freshman (2018), the Cardinals struggled at the start of the season. In 2020, Boedeker dealt with adversity as he missed a good part of the season due to injury.
"We really struggled but those 2022 seniors did not give up; Noah Boedeker had an injury last season but never gave up," Wachsmuth said. "I hope the kids learn more from football than just trophies. You hope they learn how to persevere and I think the 2022 seniors did that as individuals and a group."
The Cardinals took the opening kickoff and used over half the first quarter to drive 70 yards in 11 plays; Johnson was the ball carrier on nine of those 11 plays and finished it off with a 4-yard run for a 6-0 lead with 5:50 left in the quarter.
The Tigers' first drive was also a sustained drive but with Sacred Heart throwing the ball a little. They got inside the Cardinal 10 but faced fourth down and a batted pass was caught by an offensive lineman who was tackled for a 6-yard loss at the 15 to end the drive.
St. Paul had an 85-yard drive in 10 plays that ended with a 4-yard run by Johnson and Boedeker scored the two-point play for a 14-0 lead with 8:11 left in the second quarter. St. Paul never had to convert a third down on the drive.
After exchanging some punts, St. Paul started at the Tiger 47 and scored in just three plays with Johnson scoring on a 35-yard run; he also had the two-point conversion for a 22-0 lead with 59 seconds until halftime. Sacred Heart was unable to get anything substantial going before the end of the quarter.
The Tigers took the second-half kickoff and drove from their 30 to the Cardinal 5 with Ryan Swirczynski. com- pleting a 34-yard pass to Nathan Hesse along the way. Sacred Heart was unable to punch the ball in and had an incomplete pass on fourth down from the 5.
Boedeker had a 13-yard run to move St. Paul out to the 18 and he eventually finished the drive with a 3-yard run at the 0:28 mark of the quarter for a 30-0 lead after Johnson's two-point run.
The Cardinals added six more points on a 5-yard run by Johnson with 7:24 left in the game.
The Tigers pulled back eight points on a 44-yard pass from Ryan Swirczynski to Gus Ganzon and Seth Swirczynski ran in for the two-point play with 39 seconds left in the game.
|The St. Paul Cardinals football team won their four straight TAPPS IV state championship with a 36-8 win over Muenster Sacred Heart Friday night, December 3, 2021 at Waco ISD Stadium. The Cardinal class of 2022 members have won a state championship every year of their high school career.|
GAME STATISTICSShiner St. Paul 36, Muenster Sacred Heart 8 TAPPS Division IV State Championship Game Friday, December 3, 2021, 7:00 p.m. Waco ISD Stadium, Waco SCORING SUMMARY 1 2 3 4 F Muenster 0 0 0 8 -- 8 St. Paul 6 16 8 6 -- 36 SCORING DETAILS: First Quarter SSP - Zak Johnson 4 run (kick failed), 5:50 1Q Second Quarter SSP - Johnson 4 run (Noah Boedeker run), 8:11 2Q SSP - Johnson 35 run (Johnson run), 0:58 2Q. Third Quarter SSP - Boedeker 3 run (Johnson run), 0:28 3Q, Fourth Quarter SSP - Johnson 5 run (pass failed), 7:24 4Q. MSH - Gus Ganzon 44 pass from Ryan Swirczynski (Seth Swirczynski run), 0:39 4Q. TEAM STATISTICS: MSH SSP First downs 8 21 Rushes-yards 25-57 48-285 Passing yards 121 36 Passes 9-17 1-3 Penalties-yards 5-30 3-20 Fumbles-lost 1-0 1-0 Punts-aver 2-26.5 1-49.0 INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS: Rushing MSH: Nathan Hesse 4-56, Seth Swirczynski 9-33, Ryan Swirczynski 12-(-22). SSP: Zak Johnson 31-199, Noah Boedeker 13-91, Brayden Slaughter 2-0, Zane Barta 2-(-5). Passing MSH: Ryan Swirczynski 9-17-0-121. SSP: Jacob Wachsmuth 1-3-0-36. Receiving MSH: Hesse 4-62, Gus Ganzon 2-55, Max Ganzon 1-10, Seth Swirczynski 1-0, Joe Gehrig 1-(-6). SSP: Boedeker 1-36.
Mark Lube is the sports editor for the Shiner Gazette.
Contact him at 361-594-3346 or email@example.com