The much anticipated, first-time meeting between Cleveland St. Ignatius and Cincinnati LaSalle Friday night lived up to its billing – and then some.
Matt Natali was on hand and has the details from the wild affair.
CINCINNATI – The much anticipated, first-time meeting between Cleveland St. Ignatius and Cincinnati LaSalle Friday night lived up to its billing – and then some.
It took a 30-yard Nick Yako field goal in the closing seconds of the game to put Ignatius up 22-20 sealing the win in front of a near capacity crowd at LaSalle’s Marge Schott Field at Lancer Stadium.
Ignatius then added a safety on the ensuing kickoff as time expired to escape the Queen City with a 24-20 win.
“It was definitely a dogfight,” Ignatius head coach Chuck Kyle said after the game. “I knew it was going to be a physical battle and I told that to our kids all week. You have to give (LaSalle) a lot of credit.”
“This was the craziest game I have ever played in my life,” LaSalle WR/DB DeVier Posey said. “I felt like I was watching a movie.”
In a back-and-forth game, LaSalle trailed the visiting Wildcats most of the game. Down 19-14 in the fourth quarter, LaSalle’s Kendall Owens took a Ryan Hanson punt 66 yards to the end zone to put the Lancers up 20-19 with 2:16 left in the contest.
Electing to go for the 2-point conversion to put LaSalle up by a field goal, QB Brendan Jones rolled out of the pocket and skipped his throw to a wide-open Eric Watson in the end zone.
Following a touchback on the kickoff, Ignatius started on its own 20 and sophomore QB Mark Myers orchestrated an 11-play, 67-yard drive capped off by the 30-yard Yako field goal on third down and 13 with nine seconds left in the final frame to seal the win for the Wildcats.
The drive included to two passes that were nearly intercepted that would have secured the win for LaSalle. On first down and 10 on their own 47, Posey almost intercepted a Myers pass but the ball tipped out of his hands and into the hands of Conner Ryan for a 17-yard gain.
Three plays later on third down and four, Myers converted on a 21-yard run to put Yako well within his range.
The youngster Myers finished the night 8-of-19 passing for 100 yards and an INT after stepping in for junior signal caller Andrew Holland who went to down with an apparent collarbone injury in the second quarter.
“(Myers) did a great job for getting thrown in like that,” Kyle said. “It was an amazing effort on his part. He hit some key passes and made that key run there on the last drive.”
Ignatius got on the board first as LaSalle (4-4) went three-and-out on the first possession of the game. Aaron Walter lined up to punt deep in the LaSalle territory but the snap sailed over his head and out of the end zone for the safety putting Ignatius up 2-0 less than a minute into the game.
On the free kick from the LaSalle 20, Ignatius junior RB Francis DeSico had a 36-yard return out to the Lancer 39. Ignatius wasted no time lighting up the scoreboard again in four plays as Holland connected with Ryan for a 14-yard TD strike.
Yako’s point after put the Wildcats up 9-0 early.
LaSalle was forced to punt on its next two possessions but got a takeaway late in the first quarter as Lamar Robinson recovered a Michael Anter fumble on the Ignatius 46.
The Lancers settled in putting together a 5-play scoring drive with Jones hooking up with Posey for a 9-yard TD strike.
The Walter point after cut Ignatius’ lead to 9-7.
Ignatius wasn’t done scoring in the first half, though, with Yako splitting the uprights on a 43-yard field goal with six seconds left as Ignatius converted on an Owens fumble late in the period.
The Wildcats went in to the locker room with a 12-7 edge at the break.
The defenses took over the second half with both teams converting turnovers to points. With 1:41 left in the third quarter, Patrick Hinkel picked off Jones and returned it 49 yards for the score to put Ignatius up 19-7 following the Yako point after.
LaSalle was forced to punt on its next possession but Posey intercepted Myers after Ignatius took over and sprinted 44 yards to the end zone cutting the Ignatius lead to 19-14 after Walter’s point after setting up the late-game dramatics.
Ignatius (7-1) held a 236-175 advantage in total offensive yards in the game.
Jones led all stat-getters going 13-of-25 passing for 236 yards including the TD to Posey and the costly Hinkel INT.
Posey, an Ohio State recruit, had 121 yards receiving on six catches and two INTs on defense.
“We had some missed opportunities but I had (the missed interception) late in the game where I really needed to make that play,” Posey said. “It is a team effort and I can’t blame everything on myself but I feel I’m the player that should make those kinds of plays and I choked.
“It is just going to make me practice harder this week to step up my game,” he added.
Ryan reeled in eight catches for 106 yards and the TD in the first quarter.
Holland was 5-of-11 passing for 75 yards with the TD to Ryan and an INT to Posey in the early in the second quarter before suffering the injury.
“(Holland’s injury) is a real disappointment. He was really getting us going and I just hope everything is alright and hopefully he’s ok,” Kyle said.
Both teams were held in check on the ground as Ignatius had 69 yards rushing and LaSalle had -77 yards, respectively.
Owens had 18 yards on 14 carries eclipsing the 1,000-yard mark for the season.
The two teams combined for a dismal 5-for-27 on third down conversions.
The Ignatius defense had eight sacks in the game and six takeaways.
“You have to give our defense credit,” Kyle said. “After (Holland) went down, the defense just did a great job. The defense kept their poise there. We felt we had to get pressure and with a receiver like Posey we felt like we couldn’t give the quarterback time so we had to commit to that. He made his plays but he didn’t kill us.”
Ignatius is allowing just nine points per game this season.
A Leg Up
Yako had a 60-yard field goal attempt in the first quarter that fell just short and to the right. In season opener against Youngstown Boardman, he nailed a 58-yard attempt.
“He’s guy that once we are past midfield, we’re going to take that shot,” said Kyle.
North Vs. South
With the win over LaSalle, Ignatius now has a 13-9 all-time record against Cincinnati schools. The Wildcats are set host Cincinnati St. Xavier (ranked No. 2 in the country according to USA Today) next week and will be looking to snap a six game losing streak to the Bombers.
A Veteran’s Affair
LaSalle honored veterans both past and present offering discounted tickets to the game for those who have served in the United State military. The games balls were delivered before the game by five skydivers that parachuted onto the field with one diver sailing in with a 7,500 square foot American flag trailing behind him.
The skydivers made another jump onto the field at halftime.