FAIRMONT -- Sophomore quarterback Brendan Schmidtke fired four touchdown passes in the first half and the Fairmont Cardinals tripped visiting Worthington 46-0 in a Big South Conference high school football clash Friday night.
The hosts led just 7-0 at the end of the first quarter, but they outscored Worthington 27-0 in the second quarter to take a 34-0 lead into halftime. Trojans head coach Geno Lais said his team lost its composure after the first quarter.
"We didn't play very well for at least a quarter and a half," he maintained.
"They're probably the best team we're going to play," Lais continued. "But that doesn't mean you make the same mistakes you've made game after game. it's the same thing every time. No consistency."
Friday’s challenge was obvious for WHS, which entered the game winless in five starts. The Cards, the second-ranked Class AAA high school team in Minnesota, went in with 5-0 record and their closest game was a 13-point victory.
Fairmont got off to a fast start. After Worthington took the opening kick and failed to pick up a first down, the home team scored three plays after receiving a punt on a 42-yard screen pass from Schmidtke (in his second game as a starter) to sophomore wide receiver Levi Pooley. The extra point was successful.
The Trojans had another three-and-out on their next possession, but after punting again they stopped Fairmont on downs on the WHS 26.
In the second quarter, FHS gained possession near midfield after another stalled Trojan possession. Senior Eli Anderson made a big gain down the sideline to the WHS 28, and the next play resulted in a 19-yard run to the Trojan 9 as a big hole opened up in the middle of the line. Worthington stiffened then, but on fourth-and-goal at the 1, Schmidtke tossed a touchdown pass to Anderson as the clock said 7:37. Again, the point-after was converted.
On its next possession, Worthington made a nifty pass hookup for a first down from quarterback Jake Brandner to Ryan Lais, but a few plays later another punt was needed. However, a bad punt snap forced Brandner to fall on the ball at the WHS 15.
On their very first play from there, the Cardinals scored on Schmidtke’s third TD pass of the game. It was caught by Pooley in the corner of the end zone. Another PAT later and the score was 21-0.
Schmidtke’s fourth scoring pass of the half came after Fairmont took possession in a position to maneuver on a short field. This time, Hudson Artz was the receiver who scored, from 16 yards out. Later, with 1:31 remaining till intermission, Anderson closed the first-half scoring when he ran back a punt 52 yards.
The Trojans’ fine freshman running back, Jacari Swinea, broke free on a 35-yard run in the final moments of the half but Worthington’s best offensive play of the first two quarters resulted in no score. Swinea broke free again on a 36-yard run late in the third quarter to the FHS 35, but once again no points came of it.
Earlier in the third frame, Fairmont made it 40-0 when Anderson took a handoff and threw a scoring pass with 8:52 on the clock.
The fourth quarter was played in running time. Substituting for Schmidtke, another sophomore Fairmont quarterback -- Blaze Geiger -- threw a 32-yard touchdown pass with 4:20 remaining.
Worthington’s next game is Friday at home against Waseca. The Trojans end the regular season on the road against New Ulm.
Worthington 0 0 0 0 -- 0
Fairmont 7 27 6 6 -- 46