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Late Quarter Chances Not Enough for the Wildcats

By Eli Maistros '24, 10/10/22, 11:15AM EDT


In a one-possession game in the fourth quarter, the Wildcats could not take advantage of Moeller's turnovers; fall to 4-3 on the season.

PARMA, Oh - The Football Wildcats looked to shake off their defeat last week to the Eagles. Unfortunately for them, that task would not get much easier as the #19 team in the nation and number one in the state, the Archbishop Moeller Fighting Crusaders, rolled into Byers Field. In Head Football Coach Chuck Kyle's '69 final regular season game on his home turf, the Cats fought hard but could not come up with the result they sought. 

The Wildcats received the opening kickoff and started things out by advancing the ball with first downs via Steven Favazzo and a Moeller personal foul. But the Crusaders got a third down Sack to bring out the punt team for the first time. 

As they have done all season, the defense stood firm on the first drive, only allowing one first down and forcing a punt. However, immediately, quarterback Joshua Papesh overthrew his target and was intercepted by Moeller's Matthew Seliga. 

The interception was returned deep into Cats territory and it didn't take long for Moeller quarterback Luke Dunn to hit Eli Jacon-Duffy in the end zone to give the Crusaders an early touchdown lead. Moeller would go for a two-point conversion, but the Wildcats thwarted Dunn's pass and the score would stay 6-0 in favor of the Crusaders.

However, the Wildcat offense was not phased, as nice runs from Favazzo and junior Sean Martin got the ball to the Moeller 40-yard line. Papesh connected with Brandon Webster over the middle, who ran the width of the field and scored a touchdown. 

The Crusaders used their running game led by junior Jordan Marshall, who has over 30 division one football offers, to get to midfield, but found themselves in a fourth and one. On the final play of the first quarter, Eugene Gibbons stopped Marshall for a turnover on downs. 

The home side could not take advantage of the turnover and punted the ball right back. Moeller finally found some rhythm on offense and drove down inside the 10. Marshall capped off the drive with his first touchdown of the contest, but again the two-point conversion was unsuccessful, making it a 12-7 game. 

The offense went three and out again and Collins punted. Moeller had both the running and passing game clicking on the ensuing drive. The drive was capped off when Ryan Mechley caught a pass in the flat and made a nifty move to get into the end zone and increase the lead to 18-7. 

The Wildcats got one more drive in the first half and moved the ball well down the field. With under a minute left, Papesh took a shot to the end zone, which was intercepted by Seliga, ending the half. 

Moeller got the ball to start the half and drove down the field into the red zone. The Wildcats stopped Marshall on third and short, forcing a fourth and two. Dunn took to the air and connected with Jacon-Duffy, but Martin tackled him before the line to gain, giving the Wildcats possession. 

Grant Washington would enter the game after an injury and make an immediate impact. The sophomore impressed, picking up critical first downs along with Jonathan Merimee. Ultimately, Tommy Kilbane would knock in a 21-yard field goal to make it a one-score game. 

With the pressure of a one-score game, Moeller was facing a third down. Dunn tried to scramble, but Gibbons tripped him up and forced a punt. The Wildcats punted right back after a three-and-out to end the third quarter. 

Dunn threw into traffic on the quarter's first play and Webster made a diving catch to make it Wildcat ball. Washington picked up a sizeable chunk on his first run, but on third down, Papesh was sacked on an attempted screen and the Cats punted. 

With the legs of Marshall, the Crusaders picked up a few first downs, milking the clock. Dunn dropped the ball on an attempted handoff and Gibbons recovered the loose ball, giving the Cats excellent field position. 

Again, the offense stalled and Kilbane was tasked with a 45-yard field goal which fell short. The Crusaders took five minutes off the clock on their drive and Marshall capped it off with a run of 20 yards, leaving only 2:24 and a 15-point deficit for the Wildcats. 

Saint Ignatius was unsuccessful in moving the ball and the final was 25-10, with the Cats dropping their second in a row. 

The Wildcats head into week nine as they travel to Cincinnati to take on the St. Xavier Bombers. The Bombers just snapped a three-game losing streak, defeating GCL foe La Salle 16-7. Saint Ignatius will travel down on Saturday and kick-off will come at 3 p.m. from RDI Stadium and Ballaban Field.