Sedan rallies from big second-half deficit to knock off St. Paul

ST. PAUL — Facing the defending state runner-up in Eight Man Division I, Sedan rallied from 24 points down in the second half to stage a 44-36 come-from-behind victory over St. Paul Friday night.

“I’m very proud of our second-half effort,” said SHS coach Mick Holt. “We were starting a couple of freshmen and a senior in his first varsity game. I think it took awhile to get adjusted to the speed and physicality of the game there in that first half. They were able to respond much better in the second half. We took advantage of the mistakes they made, especially turnovers.

“A game like this speaks a lot about our character as a team. They believe in themselves and never gave up. Plus, I think we just wore them out. They were cramping up in the second half, and we were able to avoid that. Being in shape made us fortunate in a game like this. Having that grit and determination not to quit spoke volumes about this team.”

St. Paul led by as many as 24 points at 30-6 following a 31-yard touchdown run by quarterback Adam Albertini early in the third quarter. But that’s when things started to turn in favor of Sedan.

The Blue Devils stepped it up defensively, forcing the Indians into three second-half turnovers. That eventually translated into offensive production for Sedan.

SHS got its second-half comeback started on a two-yard dive into the end zone by Layton Sears. Moments later, Nile Osburn was on the receiving end of a 15-yard touchdown pass from Dameion Hatten that got them back within 12 at 30-18 at the end of three quarters.

Sedan wasn’t finished. Hatten found Sears for a 24-yard strike, and Tayte Halderman added the conversion run to get the Blue Devils back within four. SHS then took its first lead of the game on a 27-yard pass play from Halderman to Sears for a 32-30 edge.

Halderman increased the Blue Devils’ lead on a 20-yard scamper for six as they had scored 26 unanswered points to seize control of things. St. Paul made things interesting as a 30-yard touchdown strike from Albertini to Kenny Haney had the Indians back within two.

With less than two minutes remaining, the Blue Devils had a chance to run out the clock. Instead, Sears broke loose for a 51-yard scamper into the end zone. The conversion run failed, though, leaving St. Paul with one last chance with under a minute to go.

The Indians moved the chains and had a shot at the end zone. But on the final play of the game, Sedan intercepted an Albertini pass to seal the deal and come-from-behind victory.

Earlier in the contest, St. Paul jumped out to a 10-0 lead after one quarter on a safety and a 12-yard run to the end zone by Albertini. In the second period, Albertini tossed a 25-yard touchdown pass to extend its lead to 16-0. The Blue Devils’ only score of the opening half came on special teams as Sears ran back a kickoff 78 yards for a touchdown. The Indians added another score before halftime, though, to take a 24-6 lead into the break.

St. Paul had a 364-311 advantage in total yardage for the game. The Blue Devils had a balanced attack that included 177 yards on the ground and 134 through the air. Sears hit the century mark rushing, carrying the ball 19 times for 112 yards. He also had three catches for a team-high 79 yards. The Indians racked up 268 rushing yards, with Albertini leading the way with 18 carries for 189 yards.

At 1-0, Sedan will remain on the road for a second straight week on Friday as it travels to Oxford, which is 0-1 following a 52-6 road loss at Central of Burden.

St. Paul (0-1) will remain at home on Friday against Wichita Prep.