WEST CARROLTON – Last season the Alter Knights completed their first undefeated regular season in school history on the way to a Division III state runner-up finish.
And with a 41-27 win Friday night at Pirate Field at West Carrolton High School over rival Dayton Chaminade-Julienne, the Knights claimed their second perfect season in as many years.
But the Knights had to do it in come-from-behind fashion trailing the Eagles a good portion of the game.
“We did some good things and I think we also did some things that weren’t real smart and hurt us,” Alter head coach Ed Domsitz said. “It was a close football game that could have gone down to the end. It could have gone either way.
“I had a feeling it was going to be this kind of a ball game.”
C-J opened up the game with an 11 play, 80-yard scoring drive that included three third down conversions and was capped off by QB Kurt Hess connecting with Zack Kauth for a 5-yard TD strike to go up 7-0 early.
On the ensuing kickoff, Alter’s Ben Gough fumbled the ball on the five yard line and C-J’s Zac Lentz recovered. On the next play, Hess hooked up with Travis Jackson for another 5-yard TD pass to put the Eagles up 14-0 less than three minutes into the game.
Alter threatened on its next possession but RB Cory Roark fumbled on the C-J five yard line and the Eagles recovered. Hess fumbled the snap on the next play and Alter pounced on it to give the Knights the ball on the five yard line.
Roark redeemed himself barreling in for the 5-yard TD run to cut C-J’s lead 14-7 on the first play of the possession.
C-J netted a 1-yard punt on its next possession and two plays later Alter QB Austin Boucher found Gough in the end zone for a 24-yard TD toss.
The point after tied the game 14-14 early in the second quarter.
Late in the half, C-J’s DB Ricky Franklin picked off Boucher at the C-J 15 returning the interception to the Alter 46. On fourth down and four on the Alter 40 with 0:01 left on the clock, Hess heaved a pass toward the end zone that was reeled in by WR Mike Raiff to put the Eagles on the board again to go into the break with a 21-14 lead.
The 7-point deficit marked Alter’s first time trailing at halftime this season.
The Knights came out of the break with a vengeance scoring on a 70-yard Boucher sprint to the endzone on the second play from scrimmage on the opening drive to tie the game 21-21
C-J answered on its next possession orchestrating an eight play, 83-yard scoring drive highlighted by a 63-yard Derrick Goddard reception. Hess tossed his third TD pass of the night connecting with Isaiah Cordell from five yards out.
Alter blocked the Alex Kauth point after giving C-J the 27-21 lead.
But it would be all Alter after that as the Knights pulled away starting with a 12 play, 78-yard scoring drive on the their next possession with RB Chris Borland barreling in from four yards out giving Alter a 28-27 lead.
On C-J’s first play from scrimmage on the ensuing possession, Alter DB Brian Dougherty picked off Hess for a 22-yard return to pay dirt putting the nights up 34-27 with the failed Scott Vannatta point after.
Dougherty picked off Hess again on C-J’s next possession and the Knights took advantage scoring in 11 plays with Boucher hitting Danny Jasper for a 14-yard TD hook up with 8:25 in the final frame giving Alter the final 41-27 win.
Dougherty had three picks on the night giving him six for the season.
“I was just in the right place at the right time tonight. I kept jumping in front of the patterns and the ball was right there,” Daugherty said. “It was an emotional win for us and it is good to be 10-0 again. I am proud of this team for coming back and fighting in the second half.”
Roark paced the Alter ground attack with 117 yards.
Hess threw for 145 yards in the first half but was unable to maintain that rhythm in the second half thanks to Dougherty and the Alter defense.
With the win, Alter (10-0, 7-0) claims its sixth straight Greater Catholic League North title.
C-J (6-4, 5-2) finishes the regular season third in the conference standings.
“I can’t be more proud of our kids,” said C-J head coach Andy Helms. “We came out and fought right from the beginning. We said that we wanted to make sure they knew they were in for a fight and I thought we did that. We hit them in the mouth, created turnovers and put the ball in the end zone early.
“In a big game of this magnitude when your playing a team like Alter, they are very opportunistic and take advantage of any mistakes that you make.”
Domsitz said, “I think Chaminade played some solid football. I think a lot of credit has to go to their preparation, too. Chaminade is not a bad football team at all.”