ELKS POWERFUL GROUND ASSAULT AND A SHAKY FIRST QUARTER MAKE FOR A LOING NIGHT IN THE SOUTHWEST DISTRICT.
POSTED ON 9/19/10 AT 4:37 A.M.
By Eddie Dwyer
CENTERVILLE, OHIO – With 5 minutes and 25 seconds remaining to be played, some of Centerville's fans began yelling: “Overrated, overrated!”
That over-used, hay-is-in-the-barn chant was a bit off center on Saturday night, especially when you consider it came while Saint Ignatius junior quarterback Matt Hoyer was being attended to on the field after a late hit and that the Elks entered the game ranked 11 spots higher than the Wildcats in the weekly Associated Press Division I state football poll.
If that portion of Centerville's faithful wanted to get a point across to the poll voters, it could have waited until Hoyer was helped from the field and then the cheer should have been: “We're underrated, underrated!”
The Elks, who had the appearance of a team much stronger than its 10th-place state ranking would indicate, controlled the better part of 48 minutes and went on to wear down the Wildcats, 31-7, in atmosphere-rich Centerville Stadium.
In improving to 4-0, Centerville, led by multi-skilled senior quarterback Jon Overstreet, amassed 484 rushing yards. The 5-foot-10, 165-pound Overstreet accounted for 283 of those yards while operating behind one of the strongest lines Montgomery County, or any county in Ohio for that matter, has to offer.
“We knew they were going to run the football and we've had trouble with that – people just pounding away at us,” said Saint Ignatius head coach Chuck Kyle '69, after the 'Cats slipped to 2-2. “First of all, the first quarter we just played awful, I mean it was 14-0. We fought back to 14-7, we're running the football and throwing for some things. But the turnovers, that was ridiculous!”
After a fumble recovery by junior middle linebacker Rustom Khouri thwarted the Elks' first drive, Centerville, after recovering its own fumble, struck with a 31-yard touchdown pass from Overstreet to senior running back Tristin Boykin. Senior Chris Kuzma kicked the extra point and the Elks led, 7-0, with 8:01 left in the opening quarter. The TD strike to a wide open Boykin highlighted an 84-yard drive.
Saint Ignatius' rough first quarter continued, as on the ensuing kickoff Centerville executed a perfect pooch kick and recovered the ball after it traveled the required distance and seemed to die along the right sideline.
Junior Dan McCoy pounced on the ball at the Wildcats' 30, but Saint Ignatius dodged a bullet when Kuzma came up short on a 41-yard field goal attempt.
With the elusive Overstreet hurting the Wildcats with his ball-faking skills and quickness, and junior running back Chris Barr challenging Saint Ignatius' interior defense, Overstreet finished off a 77-yard march by scoring on a 4-yard keeper over the right side with 1:54 to go in the first quarter.
Following a fumble recovery by junior defensive lineman Mike Ryan at midfield, Saint Ignatius, hampered by two holding penalties, gave the ball right back to the Elks on an interception at the Centerville 27.
The Wildcats, who defeated the Elks, 24-21, in the 1991 big-school state championship game, cut the deficit to 14-7 on a 20-yard touchdown pass from Hoyer to senior wideout Fred Davis and an extra-point kick by junior Tim Shenk with 1:49 remaining in the first half. Hoyer put the ball the only place he could, Davis made a nice adjustment, grabbed it with two hands and stayed in bounds in the right corner of the end zone.
Saint Ignatius' score was set up by some hard-nosed running by all-state senior tailback Bobby Grebenc, a 35-yard pass from Hoyer to sophomore running back/slotback Tim McVey off a third-and-22 from the Saint Ignatius 30, and a 10-yard, sliding catch by senior Nick D'Amico off a fourth-and-5 from the Centerville 30. Grebenc rushed for 82 yards on 17 carries.
It was the Elks' night, however, as they extended their seven-point halftime lead to 24-7 with two authoritative, time-consuming drives. The first one was capped by Barr's 1-yard touchdown run in the third quarter and the second one – an 82-yard march – was highlighted by a 37-yard field goal by Kuzma with 9:17 left in the fourth quarter.
McVey gave the 'Cats some life with a crowd-pleasing, second-effort kickoff return to the Centerville 39. But the Elks' defense came up with an interception inside the Centerville 15. It was the third of four picks on the night by an active Elks secondary.
From there, Overstreet took the keys to the car again and drove for his second touchdown on a 35-yard turn around the right side with 5:59 remaining on the clock.
“We put the defense in a horrible situation,” said Coach Kyle. “A group of guys who are just struggling, and then we're turning the ball over left and right. And dropping footballs.
“It was pretty obvious we got pushed (by the Elks' offensive line). You're in a situation where you're trying to change the alignment a little bit, but they had gotten into the flow of their offense.”
The Wildcats will now prepare for their third consecutive demanding road trip, as they take on 2009 national champion Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, New Jersey) on Saturday at 4 p.m. The game, which will be played in Steubenville's Harding Stadium, is part of this year's “Rally in the Valley” and will be televised nationally by Fox Sports.
Don Bosco Prep is 2-0 after beginning its regular season after Labor Day.