The Richfield and Holy Angels football teams matched up Sept. 29, as the inter-city rivals competed in the Train Tracks Battle game. While Holy Angels was able to get revenge from last season's 28-14 loss with a 56-13 victory, players from both sides were able to stand out in the relatively one-sided game. With a few days to reflect, here, in no particular order, are the top five impressive players from the game.
Quarterback Joe Heimbold– Holy Angels
Heimbold has long been considered more of a rushing threat than a legitimate passing quarterback, but, with a strong wide receiver corps, Heimbold has been using his skills in the passing game more this season. Heimbold passed for four touchdowns and ran for an additional two scores in the victory and, as Holy Angels looks to challenge Benilde-St. Margaret's for a state berth in Section 5AAAAA, the Stars will need to continue to lean on their quarterback to continue to produce both on the ground and in the air.
Wide receiver Emmanuel Blackshear– Richfield
After the game, Blackshear told me that his mind set going into a game is that he can't be defended by any opposing cornerback. Three plays into the game, Blackshear took advantage of one-on-one coverage from Holy Angels corner Keontay Shorter by sprinting past his defender on a go-route and hauling in a 75-yard touchdown catch-and-run. Blackshear is tied for fourth in the state with eight touchdowns and he figures to continue to be a match-up nightmare for opposing defenses.
Wide receiver John Kosmach– Holy Angels
Kosmach ended the game with three catches for 98 yards, but 85 of those yards came on two touchdown catches on similar plays that saw Heimbold fake out the Spartan defense with a play-action fake before finding Kosmach wide open down the field. Heimbold and Kosmach have connected for two touchdowns in each of the last two games and, while Heimbold has plenty of talented receiving options, the chemistry he has built with Kosmach seems to lead to the fact that Kosmach might get the most targets moving forward.
Running back Jevonte Howard– Richfield
Entering the game against Richfield, the Holy Angels defense had not allowed more than 68 rushing yards to a single ball carrier this season, but Howard broke that streak by rushing for 104 yards on only 15 carries in the contest. Howard, who has rushed for 459 yards this season, had yet another big game for the Spartans and has really come on strong in his first year as Richfield's top option in the backfield.
Defensive back Mason Wolf– Holy Angels
While playing time hasn't come easily for Wolf, he was able to break into the varsity lineup last week against DeLaSalle and has intercepted a pass in each of the Stars' last two games. With strong safety Thomas Shelstad moving to linebacker after Jack Anderson's injury, Wolf stepped in as the Stars' ball-hawking safety and he has come up with some big plays for the Stars over the last two games.