Saturday evening was a special night for Saint Ignatius football, as the Wildcats collected their 700th win in program history. Head Coach Chuck Kyle ‘69 has accounted for exactly half of those wins, earning his 350th career win for Saint Ignatius on Saturday.
Kyle took over the program in 1983 with one vision in mind – to win.
“I wanted to step up as an alumnus and coach this football team. The kids are my motivation,” said Kyle. “It is just a number. I get to go home and relax and sit on the win, but when I wake up in the morning, we have to prepare for next week.”
The Wildcats hosted West Toronto Prep at Brooklyn Stadium on Saturday, winning 45-0. The Wildcats extended their winning streak to five games, improving to 5-2 overall on the season. Saint Ignatius remains undefeated against Canadian teams, holding a 6-0 record against teams from north of the border.
Senior wide receiver Ethan Biacsi started the game off on the offensive end with an exciting catch. Biacsi snagged the ball for a one-handed catch in the middle of the field for a 31-yard gain, setting up the Cats on the verge of the red zone for the first time of the night.
Senior running back Jahadge “Bo” Floyd capped the drive off with a nine-yard touchdown, giving the Wildcats with a 7-0 lead with 7:42 on the clock in the first quarter. It only took the Wildcats four plays to cover 53 yards in 1:30 for the first score of the game.
West Toronto Prep responded with a game-breaking play of their own on the ensuing kick-off, as junior Kevin Nsabua carried the ball 62-yards on the return. Nsabua set West Toronto Prep in Wildcat territory for the first time of the night. The return did not set up success for West Toronto Prep, as they came away with no points on the drive.
Drive No. 2 for Saint Ignatius ended in similar fashion as the first, as Floyd found the end zone on an 8-yard rushing touchdown. Floyd earned his second rushing touchdown of the night in the match on the carry. The Wildcats had a 14-0 advantage with 1:36 remaining in the first quarter, posting perfection on the offensive end with two touchdowns on two drives.
“Bo is a strong runner and he has really good vision. He does a great job running the football,” Kyle said on his running back’s performance.
The Wildcats’ defense posted three straight three-and-outs to start the game. On West Toronto Prep’s fourth offensive drive, they neared the end zone, looking to capitalize for the first time of the night. Then, senior defensive back Chris Velotta Jr. intercepted junior quarterback Wesley Tshimanga, erasing any potential for West Toronto Prep to add points.
Following the turnover, the Wildcats had their eyes set on more points. The Wildcats drove 77 yards down the field in 4:21, and junior Jack Welcsh closed the drive with a 4-yard touchdown score. Following the extra point, the Wildcats extended their lead to 21 points.
Senior quarterback Patrick Delahunty and the Saint Ignatius offense refused to stop scoring. Delahunty connected with fellow senior wide receiver Jack Kennedy for a 70-yard touchdown score, the longest play of the game for either offense.
With 31 seconds remaining in the second quarter, the Wildcats’ defense continued to attack. On third down, a host of Cats forced an 11-yard loss, setting up a 4th and 28 forcing West Toronto Prep to punt from their own end zone. Following a return just 24 seconds later, the Wildcats scored once again. A 27-yard return by senior Nate Conry made it easy on the Football Cats to set up another score.
Delahunty found junior wide receiver Connor Cmiel in the end zone for a 5-yard touchdown, establishing a 35-0 lead at the end of the half.
To start the second half, the Wildcats grounded and pounded, setting up sophomore kicker Declan Mangan for a 30-yard field goal. Saint Ignatius ate up 7:46, going 54 yards on 12 plays, increasing the lead to 38 points. The Wildcats ended the third quarter with a 38-0 advantage.
All it took was two consecutive drives in the fourth quarter for the Wildcats to collect points. To open the final quarter of play, the Wildcats entered the end zone once again, as junior James Crosby scored from 10 yards out.
Welcsh led the Wildcats in rushing with 90 yards on 12 carries. The Wildcats reached the end zone four times on the ground, surpassing 40 points for the second consecutive week for the first time since the start of 2016 season. Delahunty completed 12-of-15 passes for 193 yards and 2 touchdowns.
On defense, Tommy Eichenberg racked up 2.5 tackles and 2 tackles for loss, but Bennett Adler led the squad in tackles (3), sacks (2), and tackles for loss (2). Eighteen different Wildcats had a hand in a tackle.
Next week, the Wildcats will host Archbishop Moeller. The Wildcats and Crusaders will meet at Byers Field at 2 p.m. next Saturday. Coach Kyle is already looking towards next week.
“Their offense does a great job controlling the football. Our defense will be challenged.”
Editor's Note: This week's game recap was written by Kyle Kelly. A student at John Carroll, Kelly covers the Browns for WaitingForNextYear.com and the Toledo Walleye for AHM.