The Mater Dei Knights offensive arsenal was on full display Friday against the overmatched and overwhelmed Freeburg Midgets.
Senior quarterback Travis Jasper connected with Garrett Foppe on a pair of long touchdown passes and added a touchdown run as the Knights defeated Freeburg 56-28 before a large turnout at Mater Dei High School.
Receiving votes in the latest Class 4A state football poll, the Knights (4-0) fell behind the Midgets in the first 37 seconds of the game, but responded with a pair of touchdowns by Foppe in the next six minutes to take the lead for good.
A 29-yard scoring strike from Jasper to Foppe was followed less than two minutes later when Foppe intercepted a pass from Midgets quarterback Cal Clossen and returned it 75 yards for a touchdown. That put the Knights up 12-7 and with Jasper directing the Knights offense to perfection, Freeburg (3-1) had no answer.
“I’m very pleased. I thought we executed very well,’’ Knights coach Jim Stiebel said. “We have a lot of weapons and I thought we were able to move the football very well all night.
“On defense we did a great job on defending (Brendan) Meng. We didn’t let him get behind us like he had the first three weeks of the season. We made them (Freeburg) try to beat us with other receivers. Overall, I thought our defense but it didn’t break.
Jasper, who ran for 164 yards in the first half, added a 2-yard scoring run and junior Zach Napovanice added a 21-yard scoring run as the Knights’ lead grew to 28-14 at halftime.
When Logan Ratermann added a short touchdown run and Jasper connected with Mitchell Haake on a 42-yard strike on the Knights first two possessions of the second, the lead was 42-14.
The loss dropped Freeburg to 3-1. But there were a few bright spots for coach Ronnie Stuart’s squad. Clossen was intercepted twice but the senior threw for 266 yards and a pair of touchdowns while running back Tanner Little ran for 175 yards, including a 78-yard scamper in the fourth quarter
“I was pleased at how we continued to battle. Mater Dei is an excellent football team with a lot of speed and weapons on the offensive side of the football,’’ Stuart said. “We made some mistakes and they took advantage of them.
“We have some things to clean up. But I liked our effort. We had some kids step up tonight.”