Mike Kesler describes Seth Haight as “ornery, sometimes.”
Haight nodded his head and agreed with that description.
“He’s a tough, hard-nosed kid. He can be frustrating at times,” Kesler, Rochester Lourdes’ head football coach, said with a laugh. “He’s grown up throwing pigs around. He’s just a hard worker.”
Wait, what? Throwing pigs around?
“My dad’s a farmer, that’s how I’ve grown up,” Haight said. “It’s a little bit rougher, different upbringing than a lot of kids.
“I grew up throwing hay bales, working in landscaping. I work for a company that does exterior contracting. I really like (physical play); it’s fun to go out and hit people.”
Haight’s blue-collar work ethic paid off in a big way not only for the senior running back, but also for his Lourdes teammates on Friday night. Haight, who moved from fullback to tailback to fill in for injured classmate Abe Gapinski, carried the ball 22 times for 284 yards and five touchdowns as the Eagles took out their frustrations from an 0-3 start with a 49-8 homecoming victory against La Crescent-Hokah at Rochester Regional Stadium.
While the Eagles’ offensive line opened up big holes for Haight and his backfield mates all night, Haight stiff-armed and bounced off would-be Lancers’ tacklers at an impressive rate. Of his 22 carries, 11 of them went for 8 or more yards.
He scored touchdowns on Lourdes’ first three possessions — the Eagles scored TDs on their first five — and topped the 100-yard mark just eight minutes into the game. He added his fourth TD with exactly a minute to play in the first half, then scored again on Lourdes’ second play of the second half, which turned out to be his final carry of the night.
Haight’s touchdowns came on carries of 23, 4, 32, 29 and 41 yards.
“I couldn’t be more impressed with these guys,” the 5-foot-9, 170-pound Haight said of Lourdes offensive linemen. “They made some gigantic holes for us tonight. They were all doing their jobs, getting up to the second level. That’s how Lourdes football is supposed to be played.”
Lourdes also received touchdowns from Sam Stanley, who scored on a 28-yard end-around in the second quarter, and backup QB Luke Bigler, who sprinted 51 yards for the Eagles’ final score midway through the third quarter.
The victory eased some of the pressure the Eagles’ had put on their own shoulders after losing their first three games to teams that were a combined 8-1 going into Friday’s action. All three of those opponents — Triton, Cannon Falls and Lake City — are or have been ranked in the state at some point this season.
“We have a tough conference,” Haight, one of Lourdes’ four captains, said. “We have to carry everything good that we did this week over into next week. And we can improve; every week is a building block and we can keep going up.
“Everybody's been getting a little better each week. We just have to carry that into next week and the week after that.”
Lourdes gets thrown right back into the Southeast District fire next week, when it hosts No. 7-ranked Plainview-Elgin-Millville at 7 p.m. Thursday at Rochester Regional Stadium. P-E-M suffered its first loss of the season on Friday, a narrow 13-7 setback against No. 3 Lake City.
“There’s a lot we can take out of this win,” Kesler said. “No. 1, the feeling of winning, getting that bad taste out of our mouths and getting this good feeling back. Everyone was worried about doing their own job, not anyone else’s, to the best of their ability tonight.
“I said at the beginning of the year we have a good football team and I still believe that.”
Lourdes finished with 521 yards of total offense, including 480 rushing yards. La Crescent had 63 yards of total net offense, led by Jaden George’s 65 rushing yards. George snapped the Eagles’ shutout bid with 46 seconds to go in the fourth quarter, scoring on a 2-yard run.
The Lancers (0-4, 0-4) are playing for those little highlights in each game this season with a group of upperclassmen who are just happy to be playing a varsity schedule. La Crescent-Hokah didn’t field a varsity team the past two seasons, as it built up numbers and more experienced players in its program under head coach Ryan Vinzant.
“We’d like to congratulate Ryan and his staff,” Kesler said. “They’ve not been able to play the last couple of years, so to come out and compete this year, it’s just great to have La Crescent back out here competing and playing.
“I’m happy for Ryan and the kids. Those kids who decided to go out and play football, it’s great to have them back.”
LOURDES 49, LA CRESCENT-HOKAH 8
La Crescent-Hokah 0-0-0-8—8
Rochester Lourdes 14-21-14-0—49
LOU — Seth Haight 23 run (Aidan Jahns kick). 6:53
LOU — Haight 4 run (Jahns kick). 1:48
LOU — Haight 32 run (Jahns kick). 11:16
LOU — Sam Stanley 28 run (Jahns kick). 4:56
LOU — Haight 29 run (Jahns kick). 1:00
LOU — Haight 41 run (Jahns kick). 9:48
LOU — Luke Bigler 51 run (Jahns kick). 7:44
L-H — Cody Kowalski 2 run (Kowalski run). 0:46
First downs 5 — 23
Total net yards 63 — 521
Rushes-yards 26-46 — 53-480
Passing yards 17 — 41
Comp.-att.-int. 3-15-2 — 3-6-0
Penalties-yds. 2-10 — 4-40
Fumbles-lost 2-2 — 3-3
Punts-avg. 6-29.7 — 0-0
Time of poss. 23:08 — 24:52
L-H: Jaden George 8 att.-65 yards, 1 TD; Cody Kowalski 7-6; Tony Haack 1-3; Logan DeBoer 1-0; Carter Shay 5-(minus-4); Camron Manske 4-(minus-24). Lou: Seth Haight 21-284, 5 TDs; Luke Bigler 3-97, 1 TD; Sam Stanley 1-28, 1 TD; Trevor Heindel 7-20; Braden Mlenar 6-18; Noah Wieneke 4-14; Caleb Akinbolu 7-8; Deacon Langsdale 1-7; Eli Haight 1-4; Eli Araoz 2-0.
L-H: Camron Manske 3 comp.-11 att.-1 int., 17 yards; Carter Shay 0-4-1, 0 yards. Lou: Braden Mlenar 3-6-0, 41 yards.
L-H: Carter Todd 1-9; Noah Bjerke-Wieser 1-7; Cody Kowalski 1-1. Lou: Sam Stanley 2-23; Luke Bigler 1-18.