Lourdes overcomes jitters in win over Hayfield
Mark Pagel waited a long time to start his first game as a varsity quarterback.
"I first started playing quarterback in the fourth grade,'' he said.
The Rochester Lourdes senior got the chance to start Friday night when the Eagles hosted Hayfield at the Rochester Regional Sports Center.
He fumbled. Hayfield took over.
"No,'' he said, "that's not the way I envisioned it. That's not what we had in mind.''
He called it a case of jitters.
"I think we were all a little shaky,'' he said.
Pagel turned his game around and so did the Eagles, who cruised to a 42-0 in the season opener for both teams.
Last year, Pagel played behind senior Sean Griffin but did see plenty of time at quarterback. In fact, Griffin moved to a wide receiver whenever Pagel played QB. And Griffin, as it turned out, was the leading Eagles receiver.
"I learned a lot from Sean the last couple of years,'' Pagel said. "It's a little different playing in an actual game, however.''
Pagel rushed for 50 yards, including a nifty 37-yard run down the sideline for a second-quarter touchdown. He only had to pass four times, completing two, one for 22 yards to Jordan Treder and the other 39 yards for Kyle Kapraun.
"Run first, that's the way we do it,'' he said. "And the way the game went, we just didn't have to pass.''
The 6-foot-4 Pagel is not a stranger as a first-teamer; he started last year as a defensive back.
"We expect big things from Mark this year,'' said Lourdes head coach Mike Kesler. "He had some first-game jitters, sure, but managed the game and threw the ball well.''
The Eagles were a little shaky, committing 10 penalties and losing four fumbles.
"Too many mistakes, and we talked about that,'' said the Lourdes head coach. "We have a lot of things to clean up, and we will. It was a typical first game, everybody was anxious to play.
"We can't continue to make those mistakes and expect to win.''
There were, of course, some bright spots for the Eagles, who have won five straight season openers, including back-to-back shutouts over the Vikings.
"McKay (Carstens) had a heck of a night,'' Kesler said, "and our young guys really played well in the second half. The defense picked it up as the game went on.''
McKay Carstens rushed for 129 yards and three TDs, including a 78-yarder. He also had a 60-yard punt return for a TD called back because of a penalty.
McKay's brother Kane Carstens scored on a 24-yard run, Griff Slightam ran 15 yards for a TD and Pagel scored the other. Slightam rushed for 69 yards.
Lourdes held Hayfield to 54 yards — 27 yards rushing and 27 passing — and just six first downs. The Eagles built a 35-0 halftime lead. Hayfield crossed midfield only once.
"We focused on the second half,'' said Andrew Weiers, the first-year Hayfield coach, "and took a lot of positives out of the way we played. We came out and flew to the ball and started to make some plays. We can learn from that.''
The Vikings are winless the last two seasons, but Weiers says there's too much talent on his team for that to continue.
"We were in position to make some plays tonight,'' he said, "but that said, we have to make it happen. It was only 7-0 in the second half against a very good team, so that's a positive we can build on.''
Next Friday Lourdes hosts Byron, which also won its opener 42-0 over Triton.
"We can't start the way we did tonight against Byron,'' said Kesler. "We're going to put this game behind us and get ready to play next week.''