By Mr. Eddie Dwyer, Copyright Credit September 2016
Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio - Unlike last season on Parma's Byers Field, there was no need for any last minute heroics in Walsh Jesuit's Conway Memorial Stadium on Friday night.
The Varsity Football Wildcats, who turned Walsh Jesuit away by three points in the final 53 seconds in 2015, came out and established their superiority from the get-go last night and walked away with a decisive 30-0 victory over the Warriors in a packed Conway Memorial Stadium.
Saint Ignatius, behind arguably the top offensive line in the seven-county area and a defensive front that can play with anyone in Ohio, rode a powerful running game keyed by senior tailback Jimmy Andrews, an authoritative defense and the powerful legs of junior Matthew Trickett and senior Colin Goodfellow to its fourth victory in five games.
Walsh Jesuit, a young team that has had its share of injuries early on, now stands at 1-4.
"Yeah, it's a pretty consistent pattern this year, the effect of our offensive line and defensive front," said Wildcats Hall of Fame Head Coach Chuck Kyle, who will lead his Wildcats against the now 4-1 Parma Senior Redmen on Saturday, October 1 at 7 PM on Byers Field in Parma's Robert M. Boulton Stadium. Can anyone say Dan Jawarski or Gilbert Hopeful?
The pattern Coach Kyle referred to was established early and often, as Saint Ignatius, with Andrews picking up 57 yards on his first three carries, muscled its way to a 35-yard field goal off the foot of the gifted Trickett on the first offensive series of the game.
Andrews, displaying power, balance and speed, finished the night with 164 yards rushing on 22 carries.
After the 'Cats' defense forced the Warriors to punt from their goal line, Andrews and his offensive line, which is anchored by All-Ohio senior center and East Carolina recruit John Spellacy and 6-foot-6, 317-pound junior left tackle Darian Kinnard, went to work again.
Taking possession at the Walsh Jesuit 45-yard line after the punt from the goal line sailed out of bounds, Saint Ignatius, with Andrews, off a picture-perfect cut to the left while still maintaining his balance and power, ran to a first down at the Warriors' 16-yard line.
Two plays later, hard-nosed junior tailback Mark Bobinski scored on an 8-yard run over the right side and Trickett's extra-point kick made it a 10-0 game with 5:05 remaining in the opening quarter.
With senior quarterback Patrick Ryan helping engineer a 13-play, 93-yard drive, the Wildcats, behind the receiving of senior Travis Pot and the running of Bobinski, pushed their lead to 17-0 off a smooth 6-yard keeper for a touchdown by Ryan and the ensuing extra point by Trickett with 8:22 to go in the first half.
Ranked ninth in this week's Associated Press Division I State Poll, Saint Ignatius led 20-0 at halftime after Trickett, who is also a standout for Coach Mike McLaughlin's state and nationally acclaimed soccer program, booted a high and true 40-yard field goal into the wind with plenty to spare.
Trickett totaled 12 points on the night and Goofellow, the Wildcats' Student Athlete of the Week for his outstanding kicking and punting in last weekend's tough overtime loss at Detroit Catholic Central, sent kickoff after kickoff deep into the end zones of Conway Memorial Stadium. Talk about a pair of special teams weapons.
Saint Ignatius, moving the football behind the running of Ryan and Andrews, led 23-0 after Trickett sent a 25-yard field goal into the Friday night lights of Wyoga Lake Road late in the third quarter, and closed out the scoring on a 1-yard keeper by junior quarterback Daniel Alexander and Trickett's 12th point.
Coach Kyle's team was knocking on the door again in the final minute, but knelt down twice at the Warriors' 14-yard line to end the game.
Saint Ignatius ran the ball 50 times for 338 yards and Walsh Jesuit managed 38 yards on 27 carries. The 'Cats passed for 83 yards and the Warriors totaled 74 yards through the air. Along with Andrews' big night on the ground, Saint Ignatius got 10 carries for 67 yards from Bobinski and two carries for 71 yards from senior tailback Dean "The Dream" Stowers.
The first downs were 27-7 in favor Saint Ignatius and the total plays and yards showed the Wildcats with 64 for 471 and Walsh Jesuit with 38 for 112.
Defense, take a bow.
"They would pick up a first down and then we would hit them for a loss or no gain, and that would slow things down," said Coach Kyle. "Offensively, it's not a shock that we're running the ball pretty well. The offensive line did a great job, like they've been doing all season."