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Football: LeMoine, Lindberg lead the way at Kennedy

A lot of things didn't go right for Rosemount in its season opener last Thursday night at Bloomington Stadium.

The Irish turned the ball over three times, failed to reach 100 yards rushing, were out-gained 246-204 and controlled the ball nine fewer minutes than a Bloomington Kennedy team that finished 3-7 a season ago. The defending Class 5A runner-up's saving graces turned out to be the play of first-time starting quarterback Nate LeMoine, the special teams play of Logan Lindberg and a defense that bent, but didn't break, in a 28-6 South Suburban Conference victory.

LeMoine made up for two interceptions and a lost fumble by completing 9 of 14 passes for 107 yards. He found Lindberg for a 19-yard scoring strike that made it 14-0 early in the second quarter, then targeted Lindberg again for a 13-yard touchdown early in the fourth to stretch the visitors' lead to 22 points. LeMoine also ran for a team-high 57 yards on 15 carries.

"(LeMoine) did a great job for us. He forced one of his interceptions, but other than that he threw very accurately and was very poised. He's a smart kid and makes pretty good decisions," Rosemount head coach Jeff Erdmann said. "We're excited about what he can do this year."

Lindberg ended up with four receptions for 61 yards. As a team, the Irish ran for 97 yards and passed for 107.

"We're going to need to be more balanced this year. The last couple of years we've been able to run on teams even if they knew we were running. We could do it because we were bigger, faster and stronger," Erdmann said. "We're going to be one of the smallest teams in the conference physically, so we need to balance things out more offensively."

One way the Irish found to compensate for their lack of a dominant running game at Kennedy was with their special teams. The Irish blocked an extra point, made all four of their extra points (Lindberg) and got a couple of big plays in the return game. Lindberg provided a spark early in the third quarter with an 80-yard punt return for a touchdown that made it 21-6, and Andy Gustafson, who accounted for the game's first score with a three-yard run with 7:11 left in the first, returned a kickoff 52 yards.

Kennedy mounted their only scoring drive of the game with 2:37 left in the second quarter to move within 14-6 at the break. The Eagles failed to convert on a pair of fourth downs in the game and were forced to punt five times.

"We gave them a couple of opportunities from point blank after turnovers. For the defense to only give them one touchdown was a pretty good showing for us," Erdmann said.

The Irish are back in action tomorrow night when they host Burnsville in a South Suburban Conference showdown at Irish Stadium.