WILDCATS PULL OFF A SURPRISE ONSIDE KICK AND GO ON TO DEFEAT THE TARBLOODERS.
POSTED ON 9/13/10.
Ryan Franzinger '02 was a tough and savvy performer during his playing days and now, as an assistant coach in Saint Ignatius' varsity and junior-varsity football programs, “Zinger” relates those same qualities to the young men who are under his guidance.
“Coach Franzinger said let's run that onside kick,” said sophomore linebacker Ken Stephen, who combined with classmate Alex Staffileno on a perfectly executed surprise to start the second half – a gutsy move that led to the Wildcats' 21-14 victory over Glenville on Monday night in a junior-varsity encounter at Wasmer Field.
“They weren't expecting it,” said Stephen, who recovered Staffileno's text-book onside kick just over the 50-yard line.
Riding the emotion of Staffileno's kick and Stephen's recovery, Saint Ignatius went on to score the only points of the second half, as sophomore tailback Dan Way turned on the jets and swept the left side for a 33-yard touchdown. Staffileno tacked on his third extra point and the Wildcats' gifted sophomore class would improve to 3-0 on the young season.
The second half also featured some hard-nosed and disciplined pursuit by Saint Ignatius' defense, with linebacker Brett Bendokaitis, safety/tailback Tim McVey and defensive linemen Matt Gawlik and David Katusha among those applying the pressure.
In a first half that was more of an offensive affair, the Wildcats, sparked by a second-gear run around the left side by McVey and a as-it's-drawn-up catch and instinctive cut-back run by the versatile Conor Hennessey, struck first on an 11-yard run over the right side by McVey.
Forcing the Tarblooders to punt from their end zone, Saint Ignatius took advantage of a shank kick that went out of bounds at the Glenville 17.
From there, quarterback Mike LaManna hooked up with strong and skilled tight end Kevin Kavalec on a 16-yard strike and McVey powered his way into the end zone from a yard out. Kavalec and Rocky Zingale combined with LaManna to lead the Wildcats' passing attack.
Trailing, 14-6, the Tarblooders brought their faithful back into the game when Herbert Walker Jr. returned the ensuing kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown. Walker Jr. fielded the kick on the run, burst up the middle, bounced outside and outran the pursuit down the left sideline. Glenville followed Walker Jr.'s effort with a two-point conversion pass, and the score was knotted at 14 with 33.3 seconds remaining in the first half.
J.J. IN THE HOUSE: Cavaliers promising young front-court player J.J. Hickson, a first-round pick by the Cavs in 2008, was at Kyle Field on Monday speaking to the Wildcats' freshman team. J.J. is a good friend of Saint Ignatius assistant coach Tyrone White.