FAIRMONT - Split end Bryce Holm, starting quarterback Luke Hested and backup signal-caller Spencer Chirpich rewrote three categories in the Fairmont football record book on Wednesday night.
Holm garnered five catches for 98 yards and four touchdowns, Hested proved a perfect 11-for-11 passing for 193 yards and five TDs, while Chirpich completed all four of his passes for 52 more yards and one score at Mahoney Field in Fairmont.
Halfback Brandon Martin erupted for a game-best 200 yards on 23 totes to complement the Hested-to-Holm air attack in engineering Fairmont's 45-0 South Central Conference triumph over the New Ulm Eagles during both teams' regular-season finale.
FOR A LOSS — Fairmont defensive end Levi Becker (8) drops New Ulm running back Isaiah Johnson for a loss of yards during South Central Conference football action Wednesday night at Mahoney Field in Fairmont. Photo by Leanna Becker
The Cardinals (4-4, 3-2 SCC), who await today's official QRF rankings for the Section 3AAA playoffs, will play host to either Belle Plaine or Worthington in a 7 p.m. quarterfinal Tuesday night at Mahoney Field.
The Eagles (1-7, 1-4) will do likewise for the Section 2AAAA postseason pairings. First-round playoff action kicks off Tuesday night.
"My grandfather used to say that three things happen when you pass the football and two of those (incompletions and interceptions) are bad. I guess we beat the odds tonight," Mahoney said with a smile. "Our quarterbacks came into the game prepared, our offensive line (Sean Klein, Nick Roggow, Colton Hines, Zach Brown and Christian Petschke) gave them time to throw, and our receivers made the catches."
Holm did exactly that. The sure-handed senior split end etched his name into the Cardinals' record book as the program's all-time leader in TD catches with 24 over his three-year varsity career. Holm eclipsed 2012 FHS graduate Adam Schultz's previous mark of 21.
And Holm could not have accomplished his record without Hested tying Fairmont's single-game mark of five passing TDs. The accurate-throwing senior signal-caller matched the record set by Eric Hugoson during a 37-14 victory over Marshall on Oct. 7, 2005.
Chirpich's 4-for-4 passing effort, combined with Hested's 11-for-11 performance, rounded out the records by setting the program's single-game passing accuracy mark.
"Overall, it was a good performance in every area for us tonight," said Mahoney, whose 4-4 defense limited New Ulm to 127 yards of total offense, including 119 on the ground.
While Fairmont safety Jay Ruen, linebackers Kyle Guetter and Jacob Portz, along with newly-converted defensive end Levi Becker were keeping the Eagles off of the scoreboard, Martin's punishing ground game and Hested's air attack helped the Cardinal offense score on all seven possessions, including five in the opening half.
Hested capped the game's opening seven-play, 70-yard march with a 4-yard push over the right side for an early 6-0 lead.
After Levi Becker's quarterback sack for a loss of 9 yards and another tackle in the New Ulm backfield for five more yards, the Eagles were forced to punt after their opening possession reached the Fairmont 35.
The 220-pound Martin steamrolled his way to 84 yards to help offset a 19-yard penalty in the process to lead to Hested's 3-yard scoring strike to Holm. Mark Fruechte's PAT kick extended the lead to 13-0 with 11:56 left in the second quarter.
Hested then zipped three more TD passes to Holm to build a 32-0 margin by halftime. Hested connected with Holm on a 32-yarder to cap the third series before threading the needle on a textbook-perfect 38-yarder to Holm. Martin's 6-yard blast later set up Hested's 4-yard scoring bullet to Holm with 1:10 left before intermission.
Defensive tackle Bailey Koppen's stop for a 1-yard loss on fourth-and-1 halted New Ulm's opening march of the third quarter at the Fairmont 37.
Martin reached the 200-yard rushing mark during the Cardinals' opening series of the second half, while Hested finished his record-matching night with an 8-yard scoring strike to tight end Jay Ruen with 4:38 left in the third.
Dan Sumey's interception later set up Chirpich's 1-yard TD toss to Parker Monsen. Chirpich also fired completions of 14, 11 and 26 yards to Luke Peterson, Monsen and Matt Lytle, respectively. Lytle's long-distance catch reached the 1.
Running back Isaiah Johnson gained a team-best 58 yards on 12 carries for New Ulm, while Bryan Dewanz contributed 44 yards on eight totes.
NU 0 0 0 0 - 0
FHS 6 26 6 7 - 45
F - Luke Hested 4 run (kick failed), 9:09.
F - Bryce Holm 3 pass from Hested (Mark Fruechte kick), 11:56.
F - Holm 32 pass from Hested (Fruechte kick), 9:51.
F - Holm 38 pass from Hested (kick failed), 5:21.
F - Holm 4 pass Hested (kick failed), 1:10.
F - Jay Ruen 8 pass from Hested (kick failed), 4:38.
F - Parker Monsen 1 pass from Spencer Chirpich (Chirpich kick), 4:54.
First downs: FHS 20; New Ulm 7. Rushing: FHS 34-228; New Ulm 35-119. Passing (Comp-Att-Int-Yards): FHS 15-15-0-245; New Ulm 1-4-1-8. Fumbles-lost: FHS 3-0; New Ulm 3-0. Penalties: FHS 5-49; New Ulm 3-14.
Offense: Rushing: Brandon Martin (F) 23-200, Kyle Guetter (F) 5-33; Isaiah Johnson (NU) 12-58, Bryan Dewanz (NU) 8-44. Passing: Hested (F) 11-11-0-193, Chirpich (F) 4-4-0-52; Chris Mulder (NU) 1-4-1-8. Receiving: Holm (F) 5-98, Mark Fruechte (F) 2-36, Ruen (F) 2-21, Monsen (F) 2-12; I. Johnson (NU) 1-8.
Defense: Interception: Dan Sumey (F).