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PREP FOOTBALL: Sacred Heart holds off Coleman in tight MSAC battle

Sacred Heart defensive end Brooks Hyble stops Coleman running back Lars Murray (24) after a short gain at Mt. Pleasant Community Stadium Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013.

Sacred Heart running back Austin Neyer (9) tries to hurdle the Coleman defense for a short gain at Mt. Pleasant Community Stadium Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013.

Coleman running back Lars Murray (24) breaks through the Sacred Heart defense for a short gain at Mt. Pleasant Community Stadium Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013.

Those “Cardiac Kids” were at it again Thursday night at Community Memorial Stadium.

For the third straight week, Mt. Pleasant Sacred Heart played a football game that was decided by two points or less.

First it was a 24-23 win over Vestaburg followed by a 51-49 loss to Carson City.

And Thursday on a cool, dreary evening it was the Irish escaping with a 23-21 Mid-State Activities Conference win over Coleman.

The victory vaulted Sacred Heart into the playoffs with a 6-2 record overall and 4-1 in conference play. The visiting Comets had already qualified and are 6-2 along with a 3-2 mark in MSAC action.

“We seem to shoot ourselves in the foot,” said Irish coach Rick Roberts. “But, we are a resilient group that’s for sure.”

Sacred Heart overcame three interceptions and a fumble for the win. And, the Irish had to ward off a late Coleman drive to secure the victory.

The Comets, noted for their passing attack, moved from their own two on 12 consecutive running plays to a first-and-goal at the Sacred Heart three. Senior Zack Frazer gained 67 of those yards on nine carries.

However, Frazer was stopped for no gain on the Comets’ first play from the three and then was tackled by Irish sophomore Jake Starry for a seven-yard loss on the ensuing play. Frazer then picked up five yards and Coleman’s drive ended on an incomplete pass.

“We thought we had a good play,” explained Coleman coach Chad Klopf of the seven-yard loss. “But, we had a little miscommunication in the backfield and it cost us.

“We have a field goal kicker (Mitchell Franklin) but he was hurt and we had to go for it on fourth down.”

With the Comets stacking the defense against the run, Sacred Heart managed two rushing first downs to run out the clock.

“Our offensive line was fantastic at the end,” Roberts said. “We got those two first downs with a lot of Coleman players trying to stop the run.”

Roberts was elated about reaching the playoffs.

“I don’t care who we play,” he said. “We’ve come a long way this season and we’re a pretty good football team right now.”

The game started as though it was going to be another offensive shootout.

Sacred Heart scored on its first possession on a 35-yard pass from Dustin Neyer to Brooks Hyble at 9:46 in the opening session. Coleman countered on its first play with Adam Stremlow teaming with Matthew Warner on a 66-yard TD pass to tie it at 7-7 at 9:25.

The Irish then scored on a seven-yard run by Ben Goenner to make it 14-7 after one period. Matt Kornexl booted a 32-yard field goal in the second period to give the home team a 17-7 lead.

Coleman scored twice before half on a Stremlow-Warner pass play of 56 yards and a one-yard sneak by Stremlow. Frazer’s two-point conversion put the Comets up 21-17 at the half.

The only score of the second half proved to be the winner. It came with 2:23 to play in the third on a 12-yard scamper by Goenner.

“We came out a little flat early but got pumped up and got ourselves back into it,” Klopf said.

Sacred Heart finished with 237 yards rushing and 168 passing for 405 total yards while the Comets had 149 rushing and 178 passing for 327 yards.

Austin Neyer led the Irish with 97 yards in 21 carries while Goenner added 85 in 12. Dustin Neyer was true on 11-of-20 passes for 168 yards. Goenner caught six for 69 yards and Hyble four for 62. Frazer led Coleman with 84 yards on 15 cracks. Stremlow was 6-of-17 for 178 yards, five of his passes going to Warner for 168 yards.

Last Updated: 10/17/2013 10:41:45 PM EST

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