PARMA – Cleveland St. Ignatius was eager to prove it was back alongside the elite Division I teams in the state. It didn’t take the Wildcats long to make a statement Saturday when they hosted Boardman at Byers Field. St. Ignatius put up three first quarter touchdowns and cruised to a 37-7 victory.
Veteran Ignatius coach Chuck Kyle though, believed his team’s performance was less a statement to other D-I contenders, and more a testament to his own kids of what they can accomplish.
“I don’t believe it’s any kind of a statement,” Kyle said. “This was a really good Boardman team with a lot of talent and to play the way we did against this kind of football team shows ourselves that we can play with any team in the state. It’s more of a confidence booster to ourselves.”
The Ignatius defense set up the offense for early success.
On the second play from scrimmage, Chuck Wepler recovered a fumbled snap for the Wildcats, setting the offense up at the Boardman 31. It took six plays for Ignatius to reach the end zone. On a fourth and goal from the 1-yardline, junior quarterback Andrew Holland found Daniel Fox for the game’s first score.
Holland keyed the offense the entire night. Playing only one series into the second half, he finished the game 8-for-12 for 130 yards and two touchdowns. Holland also added one rushing touchdown. His performance came as no surprise to Kyle.
“Andrew is a very good quarterback,” Kyle said. “We’ve had some good ones here and he has the ability to stand up with anyone we ever had. He can run, he can pass. He’s a good leader with a good head as well.”
Holland’s first scoring pass was just the beginning of an onslaught by the Wildcats. The defense held Boardman on the next possession and gave the the ball back to the offense in Spartan territory. This time no drive was needed, as Mike Anter raced through the Boardman defense for a 44 yard touchdown run.
Another Spartan three and out, and another Wildcat scoring drive quickly followed. This one was capped off by Holland’s second touchdown pass of the night, a 10-yard toss to Connor Ryan. The score was 21-0 at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter was more of the same.
Holland ran in a touchdown and Nick Yako added a field goal to stretch the lead to 31-0 at halftime. The Ignatius first string came out for one more series to begin the second half and Holland led his team on a six-play, 67-yard drive that ended with an Emmet Lydon 1-yard touchdown plunge.
All told, Ignatius scored on its first six offensive possessions.
Boardman finally got on the board late on a 21-yard run by Damien Jarrett.
“I’m very pleased with the way we came right out of the gate,” Kyle said. “Both offensively and defensively we executed. The first quarter was excellent.
“I have no complaints.”