8/24 7:30 H
Week #6Chicago (St. Rita)(5-1)
David Takes Down Goliath
By - Brian Snow
In this classic battle, call Brother Rice the "David" and call St. Rita "Goliath." No one thought that David had a chance. Well, think again. Using an inspired defense which led to an efficient offensive attack, the Brother Rice Crusaders scored the biggest win to date in taking down Rita by a count of 21-7 before a crowd of nearly 11,000 at Gary Little Stadium.
In the midst of a scoreless first quarter, you got the sense that the Crusaders were up to the challenge of the two-headed running attack of Darieon Hood and Clifford Moore, who coming into the game had combined for almost 1200 yards rushing. On each of the St. Rita possessions, they were held to a three-and-out. The immovable object had become just that, immovable.
Rice marched down the field on their second posession, but the drive stalled at the St. Rita 10-yard line and placekicker Blake Botchnick missed a 27-yard field goal which kept the game scoreless.
Rita got their kicks from kicker/punter Ryan Donahue as he boomed kicks of 64 and 57 yards in the first period and got only a combined return yardage of 8 yards by Joe Gibson.
As the second quarter began, the Crusaders were still holding the Mustangs to three-and-out series and forced three more punts. Rice wasn't moving the ball at will either in the first half, but something weird happened after another Rita possession. The usually sure-footed Donahue shanked an 18-yard punt out of bounds on the right sideline and set the Crusaders up at the Rita 29. After a near connection between Evans and Gannon, the duo hooked up on a 18-yard gain to the left side on third-and-6 to set up first and goal at the 7-yard line. On the next play, Austin McDonough hurdled in the end zone from seven yards out to put the first points on the board and give Rice a 7-0 lead with 1:44 left in the half.
St. Rita then pulled out all the stops and employed their dangerous four-wide set. Last year, at the same point in the game, the Mustangs pulled this same trick and that drive led to a field goal. This time the Crusaders were ready and forced another three-and-out. The Crusaders took a knee to end the half and kept a 7-0 lead.
To begin the third quarter, the Mustangs struck quickly using that four-wide set and when QB Matthew Ladd hit Mike Gallik slanting across the middle, Gallik turned it into a 40-yard touchdown and in only 52 seconds, St. Rita had turned this defensive battle into a 7-7 tie.
The Mustangs had momentum as they were able to gain some yards against the Crusader defense, but the men in maroon pulled a surprise blitz which led to an interception by linebacker Kevin Konrath on the far sideline after the ball was tipped to set the Crusaders up in Mustang territory at the 48. However, the Mustang defense came up big as defensive lineman Matt Conrath picked off Tim Evans to give the Mustangs the ball at their own 43-yard line and you sensed that the Mustangs were ready to sieze control of the game. But after an initial first down on the ensuing drive, the Mustangs could not come up with a first down and strong-footed Ryan Donahue could not connect on a 55-yard field goal attempt and the game remained tied.
St. Rita had lost their chance.
The Crusaders got the ball at their 20 yard line and faced 80 yards for the lead. On second down, Tim Evans stepped in the pocket calmly and delivered a strike to tight end Pat Walsh for a 14-yard gain and a first down. A penalty against Rice sent them back five yards, and sent the game into the final stanza still tied at 7. Facing third and six, Tim Evans hooked up with Paul Gannon on the left side for 21 yards. Rice averted disaster when Brendan Sheehey fell on a Joe Gibson fumble and preserved the drive. Evans and Gannon hooked up on a 9-yard gain, but Mike Malloy was stopped short of the first down and with 10:18 remaining in the game.
With Rice facing 4th and 2 from the Mustang 36, St. Rita crowded the line expecteing the run. Goliath was ready to make a stand.
But on what turned out to be a broken play, David broke Goliath's back.
Tim Evans rolled out to his left and looked for a short gain to a receiver beyond the first down marker. But with all of the close receivers covered, Evans scrambled to buy some time and Paul Gannon got free up the left sideline. With a mighty heave from Evans, Gannon made a finger-tipped catch on the two-yard line while falling out of bounds. Brendan Sheehey finished the drive by bulling over from two yards and the Crusaders had the lead 14-7.
St. Rita could not score on their next two possessions and only picked up two first downs the remainder of the way and the Crusaders got the ball back.
Austin McDonough then delivered the knockout blow with a 23-yard touchdown run which made the final score 21-7.
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