By Robert Whitmire
The Pacelli Cardinals stepped on the field Friday night at Goerke Park with the enthusiasm and confidence of a winner — which is just what they did, squeaking by St. Mary’s Central by a final score of 21-20 victory over St. Mary’s Central.
The 2016 Cardinals look to turn things around after just three wins over the past couple of seasons.
The Cardinals were on the board first with a Xander Schmitz run at the 11:10 mark of the first Quarter. Daniel Mitch hit the Point After and Pacelli was up 7-0.
Pacelli kept the Zephyrs from crossing the goal line until late in the second quarter when Christian Jack lit up the board with: 22 seconds remaining. Grant Boyson knotted the score at 7-7 and the teams went to halftime.
St. Mary’s took the second half kick and rolled down the field scoring at 7:56 of the third quarter to take its only lead of the game at 14-7.
Xander Schmitz scored the final two touchdowns for Pacelli with runs of 37 yards at the 5:26 mark and 34 yards at the 3:45 mark of the third period.
The deciding play of the game came with 11:54 left in the fourth period when James Schultz found the end zone on a two yard run to pull within a point at 21-20. The Cardinal defense came up big blocking the PAT and secure the win for Pacelli.
Just a sophomore in his debut at running back, Schmitz rolled up 199 yards and lit up the board with three touchdowns in the Cardinals opener.
Pacelli travels to UW-LaCrosse on Saturday, August 27 to take on Aquinas Catholic. Game time is schedule for Noon.