NEW ULM - New Ulm Cathedral was hitting on all cylinders.
Cathedral jumped to a 36-7 halftime lead and used that to roll by Cedar Mountain/Comfrey 42-27 Saturday night in a Section 2A semifinal game at Johnson Field.
Austin Cooper scored on scoring runs of 58 and 2 yards in the first half. He was complemented by a pair of touchdown passes from quarterback Collin Helget to tight end Tyler Franta of 22 and 55 yards and a 1-yard touchdown run by Helget in building that 30-point lead after the first 24 minutes.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
Cathedral’s Tyler Franta (22) catches a pass after getting past Cedar Mountain/Comfrey defensive back Chandler Rose (9) during the Greyhounds’ Section 2A playoff win Saturday at Johnson Field in New Ulm. Franta scored on the play.
For more photos of this event go to cu.nujournal.com
"Tonight was a really good confidence-builder for our guys," said Cathedral coach Denny Lux. "Cedar Mountain came in with a lot of confidence coming off their win over Minnesota Valley Lutheran. We knew they were going to be a good opponent but we were able to come out and get things clicking early."
Jacob Gangelhoff added a third-quarter touchdown run of 5 yards.
For the game, Cooper carried the ball 14 times for 107 yards with Gangelhoff ending with 99 yards on 17 carries.
Andy Lux, Brady Kerkhoff and Andrew Richter scored touchdowns for the Cougars on runs of 1, 1 and 3 yards, respectively.
Cathedral (7-3, 5-3 SMC) will travel to Sleepy Eye next Saturday to take on the top-ranked Sleepy Eye St. Mary's at 7 p.m. The Knights toppled Springfield 46-0 on Saturday.
The Greyhounds, who had defeated the Cougars 31-12 in the regular season, scored on their first five possessions of the game.
Cooper got the Greyhound express going when on the second play of the game, he galloped 59 yards for a touchdown at the 9:01 mark.
Cathedral then mounted its longest drive of the night when it marched 70 yards on 13 plays capped off by a 1-yard Helget run on the second play of the second quarter.
After the Cougars (2-8, 1-7) responded with an Andy Lux 1-yard touchdown run aided by a 51-yard completion from Chandler Rose to Brady Kerkhoff, the Greyhounds added their third touchdown.
Cooper high-stepped it in from 2 yards out ending a 65-yard, 10-play march with Cooper adding the 2-point conversion run for a 22-7 lead at the 5:59 mark of the second quarter.
After a Franta interception of a Riley Kerkhoff pass, Cathedral used just four plays to find the promised land when Helget found Franta for a 22 yard touchdown pass for a 29-7 lead
The tandem of Helget-to-Franta hooked up again on the next Cathedral possession for a 55-yard touchdown pass with less than a minute left in the first half for a 36-7 halftime lead.
"It was important that we were able to throw the ball," said Lux about Helget, who completed 5-of-6 passes for 113 yards. "You could see the confidence in Collin tonight. That was a big part of our success in the first half."
The Greyhounds also played solid on defense.
"We had a good game plan," Lux said. "Their skilled guys caused problems but overall it was a solld defensive game for us."
Gangelhoff ended the Cathedral scoring late in the third quarter on a 3-yard touchdown run.
"We feel very good about where we are at right now," Lux said. "We wanted to get back to the section title game. Our guys have worked for that and now we have a week to prepare."