St. Pat’s made a statement on Friday, albeit in a losing effort.
After falling 50-7 in last season’s opener at Sutton, the Irish gave the defending Class C2 runner-up, and preseason No. 6-ranked Mustangs all they wanted.
St. Pat’s led 7-0 after the first quarter, before Sutton scored 17-unanswered for a 17-7 victory — a stark contrast to a season ago.
"We’re going to watch the film and see some things we did really well, especially for the first game of the year against a really high quality football team," St. Pat’s head coach Kevin Dodson said. "In the end, it didn’t go our way tonight, but we look to improve next week."
Sutton (1-0) opened the game with 11 consecutive rushes behind its imposing offensive line which starts three players over 6-foot-4 and two over 300 pounds.
However, the Irish (0-1) defense met the challenge, stuffing running back Jackson Perrien for no gain on a Fourth-and-2 at the St. Pat’s 25-yard line. On the ensuing Irish possession, St. Pat’s countered the Mustangs’ size with a steady diet of trap plays and punctuated the drive with a 12-yard touchdown scamper by North Central-transfer Charlie Gale, who finished with a team-high 97 yards rushing on 19 carries.
Alex Davies kicked the PAT, giving the Irish a 7-0 lead with 2 minutes, 28 seconds remaining in the first quarter against a Sutton defense which recorded six regular-season shutouts last season.
Sutton’s Wyatt Bergen answered midway through the second quarter, rushing for a 54-yard touchdown. However, St. Pat’s retained the lead after the Mustangs failed to convert the two-point try.
Sutton took the lead for good on a 27-yard quarterback keeper by elusive signal caller Cade Wiseman with 6:25 left in the third quarter.
"We’ve got to improve our tackling," Dodson said. "(Wiseman) was pretty shifty, and when (Sutton) needed a big play they went to him."
Wiseman finished with 78 yards and a touchdown on the ground and was 2-for-4 for 43 yards through the air.
Sutton made it 17-7 on a 28-yard field goal from Jackson Anderson with 3:16 remaining.
Wiseman sealed the game, picking off Irish quarterback Dolan Branch on the ensuing possession on fourth-and-long.
"(Sutton) came out and did what we thought they were going to do," Dodson said. "We thought we had some good plays designed for their defensive scheme, but you miss a block here or there and all of the sudden that great scheme doesn’t work so well."
Jackson Perrien led Sutton with 144 yards rushing on 22 carries. Charles Aufdenkamp added 65 yards rushing on 12 attempts. Branch finished 2-for-11 for four yards and the one interception.
In the end, Dodson was pleased with how his team fought for 48 minutes.
"When you look across the field and look at some of the bodies they have compared to the bodies we have, I was awful proud of our kids," Dodson said. "I thought we came out and played awful hard for four quarters."
St. Pat’s travels to Chase County (0-1) on Friday.
Sutton (1-0) 0 6 8 3—17
St. Pat’s (0-1) 7 0 0 0—7
SP: Charlie Gale 12 run (Alex Davies PAT good)
SU: Wyatt Bergen 54 run (two-point try no good)
SU: Cade Wiseman 27 run (Jackson Perrien run)
SU: Jackson Anderson 28-yard field goal