OHIO CITY, Oh - “The kids came out in the second half and settled in,” says Head Football Coach Chuck Kyle ‘69 after the Wildcats 42-12 victory over the Stow-Munroe Falls Bulldogs. After a defensive battle in the first half and leading 7-0 at the break, the Wildcats were looking for separation from the Bulldogs. For the second consecutive week, the Cats would score 21 points in the third quarter to take control of the game.
The Cats took care of business in the Regional Quarterfinal with an entire team effort, as the defense would hold Stow to just 12 points in the victory,
“I think we deserve to be in the Regional Semifinal,” says Kyle. “The bracket we are in is a challenging one, but so far so good, we’ve knocked down two, now let’s try and get three and make it to the Regional Final.
SAINT IGNATIUS OFFENSE VS. MEDINA DEFENSE
The Saint Ignatius offense continues to get the job done with a good balance of the run and pass. Throughout most of the season, the offense’s anchor was the ground game with seniors Marty Lenehan and Joey Georges. Now, with a healthy Joey Pfaff at quarterback, the Cats offense has exploded to what Coach Kyle was looking for all season long.
In last week’s game vs. Stow, Pfaff would go 13-of-26 passing for 227 yards and two touchdowns. Pfaff would spread the ball around, but his favorite target on the night was senior Colin Vollmer. Vollmer would haul in six receptions for 88 yards and a touchdown. Pfaff also found Max Muresan four times for 90 yards and Patrick Tompkins once for 44 yards. The offense would score 35 points in the second half to secure a victory over the Bulldogs.
The ground game was terrific for Saint Ignatius, which saw seven different rushers have a carry. Joey Georges was the rushing leader for the Wildcats as he would rush eight times for 73 yards and two touchdowns. Georges was an integral part of the breakout in the second half as his back-to-back touchdown runs came early in the third quarter.
For the Medina defense, they are an aggressive bunch. “They do like to blitz,” explains Kyle. “We need to be able to pick up on those blitzes on the offensive front and read and react to what the defensive line is doing before the play.”
With how explosive the Medina offense has been this season, it is sometimes overlooked how good the defense has been for the Battling Bees. This defense will run a base 4-2 in the box and is aggressive with their blitz packages and defensive line stunts. Matt Hamula and Matt Spatny lock down the linebacking core for the Bees defense, while JuJuan Jackson, Isiah Perry, Keagan O’Reilly, Zack King and Keon Johnson. The Bees had first-half trouble shutting down the run against Cleveland Heights last week, but what makes Medina great is their ability to make in-game adjustments as they figured out the Tigers in the win.
SAINT IGNATIUS DEFENSE VS. MEDINA OFFENSE
The Saint Ignatius defense saw significant contributions from their sophomore studs in the secondary victory over the Stow Bulldogs. AJ Spellacy has been a terrific addition in the safety slot, while Sean Martin has filled significant needs at the cornerback spot. Spellacy led the defense with nine tackles against the Bulldogs, while Martin earned his first varsity start for the Wildcats. Martin saw snaps on both sides of the ball as he would also rush the ball three times for 18 yards and a touchdown.
He even got involved on the special teams unit, blocking a Bulldog PAT. The secondary will focus on the Regional Semifinal as Saint Ignatius faces an air-raid offense known as the Medina Battling Bees.
Mr. Football nominee Drew Allar leads the Bees. Allar is a five-star recruit and will be continuing his football career at Penn State University. You run out of adjectives when describing a player like Allar and he is looking to catapult the Bees back to the Regional Final.
“There is no debate, he is a major Division I college quarterback and with the tools he has on the field, he can even get to the NFL,” says Kyle. “He is big and strong and has a clear understanding of the offense; defensively, we can not stay in one coverage; we have to give them various looks to pressure the offense.”
The Wildcats defense will try and disrupt Allar’s timing in the Regional Semifinal. Allar threw for an astonishing 488 yards and four touchdowns in last season’s game, all while going 25-of-45 passing in the 33-26 win over Saint Ignatius in 2020.
Cleveland Heights’ defense may have figured something out on the Medina offense that could benefit the Wildcats. Allar threw for a season-low 18-of-46 and the Tigers kept it close through the first half. Allar would make adjustments and it would be a highlight reel of a game for Brennen Schramm. Schramm caught eight passes for 202 yards and three touchdowns in the win.
“Ideally, we want to control the line of scrimmage better than we did in last season’s game,” Kyle explains. “When we settled down, we were able to crawl back in the game, but we fell behind by too much. We need to keep Allar on the sideline and not give the offense that many chances.”
In last week’s Regional Quarterfinal, Marty Lenehan was the punt return man for the first time this season. Last season, Lenehan was the primary punt returner for the Wildcats, so this was not unfamiliar territory for the senior. Lenehan had two punt returns for 47 yards and was dangerous in the open field.
“We have had a couple of guys rotating in on punt return and want to get a couple of new looks,” Kyle says. “Marty helps us in the field position game and we’ll see how he does this week.”
The winner of the Regional Semifinal will take on the winner of St. Edward and Canton McKinley. The Wildcats and Bees will have a 2020 Regional Semifinal rematch as kick-off is at 7 p.m. from Brunswick Auto Mart Stadium.