Three different players took a snap at quarterback for Edgar on Friday, but none could help jump start a Wildcats offense against a determined Regis defense.
The trio of Tyler Kirsch, Connor Handrick and Kaleb Wolf went 2 for 13 with three interceptions, and the Wildcats were held to 107 total yards in a 21-0 loss to the Ramblers in a WIAA Division 6 state semifinal at Dorais Field. Edgar also lost a fumble, while Regis did not turn the ball over.
Kirsch injured a finger on his throwing hand during last Friday's win over Rosholt, and didn't practice until Thursday. The injury clearly affected him as he was intercepted twice in the first half and was pulled at the break in favor of Wolf. Handrick didn't attempt a pass, but ran three times for 13 yards -- including a run of 15 yards that was Edgar's longest in a first half in which the Wildcats took just 15 offensive snaps.
"Maybe we should have run the ball a little earlier, we obviously were having difficulty passing," Edgar coach Jerry Sinz said. "Tyler Kirsch's finger wasn't feeling as good as he hoped it would because he was having trouble gripping the ball. We wanted him to give it a go and see how it went. "We generally have 10 pass plays out of our first 20 in our script sometimes," Sinz added. "We don't run them always because we've gotten a lead already and those kinds of things. Tonight, obviously we were going to continue running them and we just didn't complete many of them." Edgar was held to 86 yards rushing on 23 carries, and Phillip Lemmer had the longest gain of the night as he went 20 yards on a fake punt in the fourth quarter. Edgar had only three plays that went for 10 yards or longer in the game. "You've got to give them credit for playing good defense," Sinz said. "Obviously the turnovers hurt."
The Ramblers rushed for 253 yards in the win with seven different players getting at least one carry. Regis attempted just one pass in the game and it went for a score as Adam Loftsgaarten connected with a wide-open Michael Maenner from 25 yards out in the fourth quarter for the final score of the game.
It was the first loss of the season for the Wildcats, who also lost in the state semifinals last year.
"We tried to stick together, but we just couldn't do what we wanted to do (defensively). We couldn't play on their side of the ball," Edgar senior linebacker/running back Will Hannemann said. "That was the problem, but everyone tried their best. It just didn't turn out in our favor."
The Ramblers (12-0) marched 72 yards in 13 plays on the opening possession of the game with Hayden Frey scoring from 3 yards out. Regis converted on a fourth-and-1 at midfield on the drive in what amounted to the first points that the Wildcats had allowed this postseason.
Regis took advantage of a short field to extend its lead in the second quarter. Kirsch was intercepted by Regis linebacker Garrett Nowak, who made a leaping grab at the Edgar 14 along the sidelines in front of the Wildcats bench. The Ramblers took eight plays on the scoring drive that ended with Chris Pica-Anderson diving into the end zone on a fourth-and-goal play from the 1.
Kirsch was intercepted at midfield by Regis defensive end Victor Bourget on a ball that fluttered. It turned out to be the last pass that the senior would throw.
"He worked his butt off all season, a great quarterback," Hannemann said. "Sometimes it just doesn't work out. Those little injuries come and you can't play your best, but he did a great job all season and I'm very proud of him."