Beaver Local came into the game without injured starting quarterback Ethan Russell. In his place junior Shawn Mercer was making his first high school start, and Ursuline seemed to feed off the inexperience. A pressuring pass rush gave Mercer little time to throw and the Beavers’ rushing game was held in check, managing just 50 yards on 28 carries.
Ursuline head coach Dan Reardon was pleased with the effort of his defense.
“Our defense played great, we’ll take a shutout any day of the week,” Reardon said. “So far this year our offense has been putting up points but our defense has always been steady. Tonight our offense was inconsistent but our defense led the way.”
Beaver Local had its chances in the first half, twice getting inside Ursuline’s 20 yard line, but each time the Irish defense shut the Beavers down. The first opportunity came in the second quarter following a blocked punt. Beaver Local started from Ursuline’s 22 but couldn’t pickup a first down.
Beaver coach Rich Wright elected to try to convert a fourth-and-five, instead of attempting a 35-yard field goal, but Mercer’s pass went incomplete and they were forced to turn the ball over to the Irish.
In the closing minutes before halftime, Beaver Local got another chance. A halfback pass went for a 65-yard gain, moving the ball to the Ursuline 15. The Beaver’s took the ball down to the Irish 4, but a fourth-and-goal pass play was intercepted in the end zone by Nick McGahagan.
In a great team effort, one player standing out above the others was sophomore Jamel Turner. Turner recorded three sacks and was also responsible for several other plays in the backfield.
The offensive star of the night for Ursuline was junior tailback Darrell Mason, who Ohio High has rated among the top junior prospects in the state. Mason, who has been fighting injury problems since Week 3, was back at 100-percent for the first time since the injury according to coach Reardon. Splitting time, Mason rushed 16 times for 134 yards and three touchdowns.
With Beaver Local (1-7) team coming to town just one week before a clash with nationally ranked Mooney, Reardon worried during the week about his team possibly overlooking the Beavers.
“Throughout the week there was a fear of us just going through the motions,” admitted Reardon. “But those fears were answered with a great week of practice. There was definitely potential to overlook a one-win team, but our kids handled it well.”
Ursuline started the scoring on its second drive. Senior quarterback Lamar McQueen set up the Irish with a 38-yard run that Mason turned into points two plays later with a 5-yard run.
Another big play helped Ursuline to its next touchdown. Dale Peterman returned a punt 43 yards to put Ursuline into Beaver territory at the 34. After converting a fourth-and-one to save the drive, Mason scored his second touchdown of the night, this one from 15 yards out, giving Ursuline a 14-0 lead that it took into halftime.
In the third quarter, Ursuline again was able to start on Beaver Local’s end of the field, this time following a shanked punt. On the second play, McQueen connected with Ross Revella on a 46 yard touchdown pass to all but put away a pesky Beaver team.
The final nail in the coffin came during Darrell Mason’s welcome back statement. Playing his first full drive since Week 3, Mason rushed the ball on 10 of 11 plays, accounting for 71 of 83 yards. He finished the drive off with his third score of the night, from 5-yards out, capping off the scoring at 28-0.