For the fifth straight time, Columbus DeSales defeated rival
Columbus Watterson Friday night 24-10 in the Division III, Region 10 regional
finals at Dublin Coffman Stadium.
It is the second straight regional championship for DeSales.
DUBLIN – Columbus DeSales has had rival Columbus
Watterson’s number under third-year head coach Ryan Wiggins.
That number is now five.
For the fifth straight time, the Stallions defeated their
Golden Eagles foes Friday night 24-10 in the Division III, Region 10 regional
finals at Dublin Coffman Stadium.
It is the second straight regional
championship for DeSales and its eighth overall.
“We’re just excited. To win a regional championship over
Watterson adds a little extra spice,” Wiggins said. “It is a great win for our
guys and they played hard. This game always comes right down to the wire and
this one was no different.
“The games are all very similar. The ball can bounce either
way. It is a great rivalry and I have a lot of respect for Watterson’s program.”
For as satisfying as the win is for DeSales (10-3), the
loss is equally as painful for Watterson (9-4).
“It is tough anytime. When you get to this point, the
further you go it hurts more whether it is DeSales or someone else,” Watterson
head coach Dan Bjelac said. “That is the great part about it – the challenge –
and that is the part that hurts the most because you put so much into it. The
further you go you get that much closer to your ultimate goal and when you don’t
get it it’s painful.”
DeSales, which defeated Watterson 17-10 in the regular
season for an unprecedented fourth straight Central Catholic League title,
trailed 7-3 at halftime but scored 21 points in the second half behind 89 yards
on 12 carries and two scores from running back Adam Griffin.
“I thought I played alright,” Griffin said. “There were a
couple holes I could have busted longer but I think I ran hard and didn’t let the
first guy bring me down so I thought I played pretty decent but a win is a win.”
Griffin had the final touchdown with 1:41 left in the game
from three yards out to put an explanation point on the win.
“It was real nice just to go off and score on Watterson on
our last offensive play,” he said.
DeSales racked up 314 rushing yards and quarterback Nick
Gentile led all rushers with 150 yards rushing on 28 carries and a touchdown
leading the triple-option offense. With Gentile orchestrating the offensive
attack, DeSales was successful in gaining long yards on first down the whole
“We were getting six and seven yards on first downs and we
were trying to get first downs on every play and knew if we kept getting first
downs we would eventual score and that is what we did,” said Gentile.
Wiggins was pleased with the offense as well, particularly
in the second half.
“They executed well and held onto the ball for the most
part,” he said. “Adam Griffin played outstanding. The way he took over and made
plays when he had to, I was very happy and impressed with him.
“We went in at the second half and challenged our guys and
told them we just needed to finish. If we finish we win this game and that is
what we did. We said we could put three more scores on the board to if we finish
and that is what we did.
“Once our guys settled down in the second half we were able
to win the game.”
The DeSales defense was equally impressive making just one mistake in the first half allowing a 39-yard touchdown run by
Watterson quarterback Patrick Rohmberg early in the second quarter.
It was the first touchdown scored against the DeSales first
team defense in the postseason.
“Our defense stepped up real big tonight,” DeSales
linebacker Chi Chi Ariguzo said. “They had the big quarterback scramble in the
first half. So, we got into the half and just said we had to correct the
mistakes we were making.
“We knew exactly what they were going to do. We made one
mistake in the first half and gave up a couple plays so we just had to do our
jobs and stop them.”
And stopping Watterson has become the norm with DeSales
grad Wiggins patrolling the sideline with a perfect record against the bitter
“We weren’t going to lose to Watterson in the regional
finals and have that be the last game for the seniors,” Gentile said. “All of
them just had so much fight in them and that is what really kept us going on
offense and defense.
“We just took all that energy and emotion and just played
DeSales will play Cincinnati Wyoming (13-0) next Friday at Dayton’s Welcome Stadium at 7:30 p.m. in a state semifinals tilt.