Lakewood Stadium in the form of Cleveland’s Holy War between St.
Ignatius and Lakewood St. Edward. More then 10,000 rabid football fans
came out for this latest installment, in which the Wildcats of St.
Ignatius were able to hold off there rivals for a 19-13 win. The loss likely knocks St. Edward out of the playoffs. Ignatius is in.
Ignatius, already knowing it was heading for the playoffs, had to weather an early storm from a St. Edward team that needed a win to get themselves to Week 11. The Eagles came out setting the tone offensively, defensively and on special teams.
After the teams exchanged punts on their first possessions, St. Edward put the first points on the board. Led by sophomore quarterback Alex Lavisky, the Eagle offense marched down the field deep into Wildcat territory. It appeared that the Eagles would settle for a field goal, but first year coach Scott Niedzwiecki reached into his bag of tricks. Holder Jack Wooley kept the ball and rushed untouched into the end zone for a touchdown off the fake field goal, giving St. Edward the early 7-0 lead.
Matt Shurtleff tried to get Ignatius back into the game on the ensuing kickoff, nearly breaking it for a touchdown before being stopped at the Eagle 40. However, the St. Edward defense kept the team’s momentum going, holding Ignatius out of the end zone, and normally automatic kicker Nick Yako missed a 37 yard field goal, preserving the Eagle lead.
As the game turned into the second quarter, mistakes by St. Edward began to turn the momentum of the game.
“Not to take anything away from St. Ignatius, because they played a very good game,” admitted Niedzwiecki. “But we dropped balls, had stupid penalties. We had our chances.”
The first big mistake came off the arm of Lavisky. Trying to force a pass to a covered receiver, the pass was deflected by Dan Fox and intercepted by Shurtleff who returned the ball 85 yards for the first Wildcat touchdown to tie up the score 7-7.
St. Edward had the opportunity to answer on the next possession. Lavisky showed off his arm strength, launching a deep pass that traveled nearly 50 yards in the air, but receiver Jeff Burke couldn’t make the catch and the Eagles were forced to punt the ball over to Ignatius.
Ignatius had their own sophomore quarterback starting in Mark Meyers. Meyers was making just his second start after taking over for injured starter Andrew Holland. After helping take his team to overtime against nationally ranked Cincinnati St. Xavier in his first start, Meyers again played well to defeat their arch rival.
Meyers helped give Ignatius the lead in the second quarter, avoided the Eagle pass rush and throwing on the run to complete a 20 yard pass to Joseph Parris to the three yard line. On the next play, Emmett Lydon rushed into the end zone, giving the Wildcats a 13-7 lead, after the extra point was missed.
St. Edward mistakes again came back to haunt them as they were driving to take back the lead. Lavisky completed a 40 yard pass to put St. Edwards deep in Wildcat territory, but a holding call negated the gain and ended the chances of the Eagles scoring before the half.
Coming out in the second half, the Ignatius running game took over. Michael Anter on two rushes took the ball from the Wildcat’s own end of the field to the St. Edward 3 yard line. Anter finished with 100 yards rushing on 21 carries. Two plays later, Lydon scored his second touchdown, pushing the lead to 19-7.
St. Edward tried to rally late in the fourth quarter. After being pinned back at their own 15, Lavisky made a connection with Branden Williams first on a 60 yard pass to get his team out of trouble. After a dead ball penalty pushed them back, Lavisky again found Williams for a 36 yard gain. Two plays later, Dominique Goodwin scored from three yards out to cut the lead to 19-14. But that would be as close as St. Edward could get, and the visiting St. Ignatius went home with the win, and are poised to make a run towards the Division I State Championship.
St. Edward falls to 4-5 and likely finds itself left out of the playoffs.