PARMA, Oh - The Wildcats returned to Byers Field in Parma, Ohio, to clash with their storied rivals, the St. Edward Eagles. In Head Football Coach Chuck Kyle's '69 final regular season game vs. the Eagles, he experienced the worst loss in the rivalry's history.
St. Edward started with the ball and, as the night theme, marched down the field via senior standout running back Marvin Bell. They found themselves at the Wildcat seven-yard line with quarterback Casey Bullock only attempting one pass. He tried to force a pass over the middle that bounced off three different players and into the hands of Sean Martin, who recorded his second pick of the year.
After the interception, the ball was placed on the Saint Ignatius one-yard line and the offense could not move the ball. Punter Jimmy Collins faced pressure in the end zone, and his punt was shanked, landing out of bounds at Saint Ignatius' 22-yard line.
On the drive's first play, the Eagles ran a play action that fooled the secondary and left junior receiver Brian Sullivan wide open in the end zone to get on the board early and the Eagles would take a 7-0 lead with 4:14 remaining in the first quarter.
The Wildcats got the ball and junior quarterback Joshua Papesh connected with Johnathan Merimee for a 21-yard gain. However, Papesh was hit hard on the play, knocking him out of the first half. Sophomore Quinn Woidke chekced in for the injured quarterback.
After another punt by the Cats, Bullock and the Eagles marched down the field and put a laser throw on the money for Kyan Mason in the end zone for Saint Edward's second score. The 20-yard connection gave the Eagles a 14-0 lead with 10:22 left to go in the first half.
The Wildcat offense needed an answer and Woidke was able to step up. The Sophomore made veteran-level throws, connecting on a critical fourth down with Cody Haddad to get to the Eagle's nine-yard line. On a read option play, Woidke kept the ball and shook tackles for his first varsity touchdown. Unfortunately, that would be the only score of the night for the Wildcats, with 5:05 remaining in the second quarter. With the missed extra point, the score remained 14-6.
Again, the Wildcat defense had no answer, specifically for Bell, as he broke tackles and frankly made defenders look silly all night. He was able to bounce a run to the outside and get into the end zone from 26 yards out to increase the lead to 21-6 in the second quarter.
The St Edward defense would figure Woidke out this time and force another punt. With 40 seconds left in the half, Mason found himself unguarded in the end zone and Bullock threw a dart to him, making the score 28-6 at the half.
Things did not get any better in the second half when the Eagles again made their way down the field and Joshua Groudle scored from one yard out with 8:22 to play in the third. The two-point try would fail and the Eagles led 34-6.
The Wildcat offense stalled deep in their territory and Collins came out to punt. On that punt, Wyatt Gedeon broke through and blocked the punt, which he picked up in the end zone to put the Eagles up 41-6. With that touchdown, a running clock was in effect and the Wildcats stood no chance with 6:28 left to play in the third quarter.
The Eagles added one more score, a Josh Gribble 11-yard rushing touchdown before the dust had finally settled. The Wildcats had suffered the worst loss in the rivalry, losing by 42 points and giving St. Edward their fifth consecutive win, dating back to the 2018 Regional Quarterfinal.
Saint Ignatius won't have time to dwell on this loss as they will host the 7-0 Archbishop Moeller Crusaders next Saturday. The Crusaders feature one of the most potent offenses in the state, averaging 35 points per game.
The Moeller game will be the final regular season game from Byers Field in Parma. The Wildcats are battling for playoff positioning with three games remaining in the season. Kick-off on Saturday will be at 4 p.m.