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JV Football Experiences First Loss of Season, a Tough 21-20 Setback at Kirtland

By Eddie Dwyer, 10/08/16, 7:00PM EDT


By Mr. Eddie Dwyer, Copyright Credit October 2016

From Walter A. Rogers Field in Hornets Stadium - To describe Saturday morning's setback at Kirtland as a tough one to swallow for the JV Wildcats and their coaches would be an understatement, and then some.

Despite two outstanding touchdown receptions by Saint Ignatius' gifted sophomore receiver Nigel Drummond off strong throws from sophomore quarterback Caden Campolieti, the second effort-running of sophomore tailback Jahadge "Bo" Floyd that produced an early touchdown, and an exceptional day by sophomore wide receiver Luke Cooper that saw Cool Hands Luke make numerous clutch catches and add key yards after the catch, Coach Paul Yappel's Junior Varsity Team suffered its first loss in seven games this season, 21-20 to Kirtland's JV Hornets.

The JV Wildcats, who were hampered by penalties throughout the morning and early afternoon, will try to use Saturday's game as a learning tool and take their now 6-1 record into the October 15th matchup with the Junior Varsity Team from Cincinnati Archbishop Moeller. The kickoff will be 11:30 AM at Otterbein University's Memorial Stadium.

Kirtland's Jayvees, who are part of the development system for a storied small-school Varsity program that has produced five consecutive state-championship game appearances and three state titles, also stand 6-1 following one of the biggest victories in the history of Hornets JV Football.

Along with the penalties, a few justified and some other calls that were questionable, a missed extra point, a missed field goal and a couple of turnovers also played roles in Saint  Ignatius' first taste of defeat on the Junior Varsity level this season.

"Our kids played hard, Kirtland's a good team," said the classy Coach Yappel. "We just came up short today, but we have to learn from this and move on. We have three important weeks coming up. We'll get better and go on to next week."

After next weekend's matchup with Archbishop Moeller, the JV Cats will close out their season with games at Cincinnati St. Xavier and home to St. Edward. The only loss Kirtland's Jayvees were hit with this season came at St. Edward.

Things got off to a grand start for Saint Ignatius' sophomores on what was a cool, but sunny and blue-gray skied day on Chillicothe Road in Lake County, the home of the always friendly folks at the Kirtland Diner, as "Bo" Floyd ran 4 yards into the right corner of the scoreboard end zone of Rogers Field for a nifty touchdown. Patrick Otter was high and true on the extra point, and the JV Cats led, 7-0, with 2 minutes and 33 seconds left in the opening quarter.

It didn't take long for the Hornets to respond, as Kirtland's man for all positions, Jake Neibecker, scored on a second-effort, 50-yard touchdown gallop down the right sideline. The extra point knotted the score at 7 with 2:04 to go in the first quarter.

The first of Drummond's two highlight-reel TDs, along with another PAT by Otter, put Saint Ignatius back in front, 14-7, with 6:58 remaining in the second quarter. After a short TD run and an extra-point kick by the Hornets, the teams took the halftime break locked in a 14-14 tie. 

Drummond came to the fore again with a leaping, two-handed touchdown grab in the same corner of the end zone as his first TD on the day. Unfortunately for the 'Cats, the extra-point kick was no good on what was the last play of the third quarter.

After a field goal attempt by Saint Ignatius just missed to the left with 2:45 left to play, Kirtland put together the decisive 80-yard drive.   

On second-and-8 from the Wildcats' 15-yard line, Hornets quarterback Tommy Powers rolled right and found his tight end wide open in the back of the end zone. The low extra-point kick appeared to be heading left, but possibly a small wind gust or fate sent the pigskin back to the middle and it just crawled over the crossbar with 45.2 seconds of playing time on the clock.

The Hornets then sealed the victory on a diving interception by the ever-present Neibecker off a deflected pass with 25.1 seconds remaining.

Saint Ignatius had its positive moments on defense and special teams, including a fumble recovery by defensive back Danny Scelza on a botched fair catch by Kirtland off a punt. 

A FEW PERSONAL NOTES IN CLOSING: It was great to see Saint Ignatius' former outstanding quarterback Andrew Holland '09 at Saturday's JV Game. Andrew helped lead the Wildcats to State Championship No. 10 in the fall of 2008, a season that also saw Andrew selected as the co-Offensive Player of the Year on the Associated Press Division I All-Ohio Team.

The Fall of 2008 was this old-timer's first season of covering athletics for Saint Ignatius High School's web site, and what a privilege it was to report on the many outstanding accomplishments by Andrew and the 2008 State Champions and National Runners-Up.

And, this corner would be remiss not to say THANK YOU to the folks at the Kirtland Diner, who presented this old-timer with a free pre-game coffee on Saturday morning. I didn't know that the Kirtland Diner was cash only. However, one of its wonderful employees told me it would be her "Good Deed for the Day" to give this veteran reporter a coffee on the house. I promised her I would come back with cash the next time.

Have a wonderful rest of the weekend and we'll see you at more Wildcats' athletic events in the coming weeks.