SOME OF THE TIES THAT BIND IN THIS YEAR'S CHARITY GAMES.
POSTED BY EDDIE DWYER ON 8/8/10 AT 5:20 P.M.
*FAMILY AFFAIRS WILL LINGER IN BROWNS STADIUM: This year's Cleveland Browns/Home Team Marketing Charity Games, matching Mentor and St. Edward (3 p.m.) and Lake Catholic and Saint Ignatius (7 p.m.) in Browns Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 28, will feature emotional and historical connections.
Here is a breakdown on some of them:
Joe Trivisonno, the father of Mentor head football coach Steve Trivisonno, coached the Collinwood Railroaders against the Saint Ignatius Wildcats in the 1967 Charity Game at Municipal Stadium. The 'Cats, behind gutsy performances by quarterback Dan Werner and halfback Frank Gusich, prevailed, 21-0, and handed the Railroaders their only setback in 10 games that season.
In '67, Joe Trivisonno became the first former Charity Game player to return to the event as a coach. Joe scored two touchdowns for Collinwood in the 1951 Charity Game, which was won by Rhodes, 21-14.
Like Steve Trivisonno, St. Edward head coach Rick Finotti has an impressive Charity Game tie.
In a high school event that is still talked about today, Coach Finotti's grandfather, Bill Belanich, was a highly respected assistant coach under Cathedral Latin School coaching legend Herb Eisele in the 1946 Charity Game. The game, which matched the Latin Lions and Holy Name, was played on a Saturday afternoon (Nov. 23) in Municipal Stadium. It attracted a crowd of 70,955, which is still the largest attendance for a high school football game in Ohio and the second largest in the nation.
Following the 35-6 victory over Holy Name, Coach Eisele accepted the head coaching position at John Carroll University and leaving the Lions with Eisele was Coach Belanich.
The Lake Catholic-Saint Ignatius matchup also has its share of family and historical Charity Game ties.
In 1961, current Lake Catholic assistant coach John Gibbons lined up as a starting 190-pound right guard for the Latin Lions in a Charity Game showdown with Holy Name and its superb left halfback Frank Solich, currently the head coach at Ohio University.
Led by the elusive Solich, Holy Name handed Cathedral Latin its only loss in 13 Charity Game appearances, 12-7, in Municipal Stadium.
Nearly 50 decades later, “Gibby” will be coaching his son, Marty, against Saint Ignatius in a Charity Game. Marty Gibbons is a standout linebacker for the Cougars. Yes, John Gibbons has returned to Lake Catholic, where as the head football coach of the Cougars he led the program to back-to-back Division III state championships in 1991 and 1992.
Other blood lines flowing from the Lake Catholic-Saint Ignatius game show Cougars outstanding football player and wrestler Matt Fee being a relative of the Gibbons family, LC's talented runner and receiver Tommy Michals being a nephew of Jim Michals, who is a member of Saint Ignatius' Health and Physical Education Department, and Mike Sullivan, an assistant coach for the Cougars, being a brother of Saint Ignatius head wrestling coach and assistant football coach Mark Sullivan.
DICK ZUNT TO BE REMEMBERED DURING THE CHARITY GAMES.
AN NFL GATHERING OF 'CATS ON THURSDAY NIGHT.
POSTED BY EDDIE DWYER ON 8/23/10 AT 11:50 A.M.
Home Team Marketing and the Cleveland Browns, who are presenting and producing Saturday's Charity Game doubleheader at Browns Stadium, will be awarding a scholarship to a student from each of the participating schools – Mentor, St. Edward, Lake Catholic and Saint Ignatius.
The scholarships will be named in honor of the late Dick “Zip” Zunt, who died on January 2 after a courageous battle with cancer.
Dick, who spent more than 40 years of his life as an award-winning high school sports reporter for The Plain Dealer, is a 1950 graduate of Saint Ignatius and a member of the Wildcats' Athletic Hall of Fame and the Ohio Prep Sports Writers Hall of Fame.
“Zip” displayed endless devotion in his coverage of the area's young athletes, both in girls and boys competition. It is only fitting that he is being remembered during the Charity Games. It was an event he covered for many years, when it was played at Municipal Stadium on either Thanksgiving Day morning or Thanksgiving weekend.
Saturday's doubleheader will match Mentor and St. Edward at 3 p.m., followed by the Saint Ignatius Wildcats against the Lake Catholic Cougars at 7 p.m. Tickets, which are $10 and good for admission to both games, are on sale in the Wildcats' athletic office.
A REUNION, SORT OF SPEAK: Thursday night's NFL preseason game between the St. Louis Rams and the New England Patriots has a rich Saint Ignatius connection.
Jacob Bell '99 is a mainstay on the Rams' offensive line, Jon Gannon '01 is a member of St. Louis' scouting staff and Brian Hoyer '04 is the backup quarterback to Tom Brady in New England.
Former Wildcats All-Ohio lineman Chris Hovan '96, who garnered All-America honors at Boston College and was the 25th overall pick by the Minnesota Vikings in the first round of the 2000 NFL Draft, signed with the Rams in June. On August 6th, the Rams placed Chris on injured reserve with a season-ending back injury.
SAINT IGNATIUS VERSUS LAKE CATHOLIC VARSITY FOOTBALL PREVIEW.
POSTED ON 8/25/10 AT 3:26 A.M.
WILDCATS AND COUGARS WILL RENEW THEIR RIVALRY IN A SEASON OPENER AT CLEVELAND BROWNS STADIUM.
WE LOOK BACK AT SOME LANDINO LIGHTNING, CONGRATULATIONS GO OUT TO 'CATS' CO-CAPTAIN MIKE RAMOS AND A NOTE OF THANKS TO ONE OF SAINT IGNATIUS' “MEN FOR OTHERS.”
By Eddie Dwyer
Copyright, August 2010
As he was walking off Wasmer Field following Tuesday's practice, Saint Ignatius senior linebacker Tyler Kette displayed a determined, fire-in-his-eyes grin.
“It's awesome, I mean my juices are already flowing,” Kette said. “I'm really pumped up for this game. I know in the past there has been a big rivalry between Lake Catholic and Saint Ignatius, and I know both teams are going to come out hitting hard.
“We just have to go out there and show them what we're made of.”
“There” will be Cleveland Browns Stadium, where the Wildcats and the Cougars, who have not matched up on the gridiron since 1997, will meet for the 16th time in Saturday's second game of the Home Team Marketing/Browns Charity Game doubleheader.
Mentor and St. Edward will square off in the opener at 3 p.m., and Saint Ignatius and Lake Catholic are scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m. The Saint Ignatius Broadcasting Club will bring you the 'Cats-Cougars game live, with Jeff McCormick '83 and Mike Watts '11 describing the action. The link is www.sibn.weebly.com.
The Wildcats' game will also be broadcast live by WHKW (1220 AM).
In a series that has Saint Ignatius on top, 9-6, the last three meetings between the Wildcats and the Cougars were among the most memorable of those previous 15 encounters.
Behind the tough inside running of Mike Sako (two touchdowns) and a 52-yard catch and run for a TD by Bill Peters, Saint Ignatius defeated the Joe Jurevicius-led Cougars, 20-17, in 1991 at Lakewood Stadium. Lake Catholic would go on to win the first of its back-to-back Division III state championships and the Wildcats captured their third Division I crown.
In 1996, the Cougars snapped Saint Ignatius' 25-game winning streak with a 21-12 victory on a Mentor field that was drenched with rain and mud, and in 1997 the Wildcats, behind the powerful left arm of quarterback Dave Ragone, defeated Lake Catholic, 52-14, in Lakewood Stadium.
After going 12 years without Saint Ignatius on their schedule, the three-time state champion Cougars are eager to face the 10-time state champion Wildcats.
Lake Catholic coach Mike Bell will feature 14 mainstays from a team that advanced to the Division II state semifinals last season and finished 12-2 after losing to eventual state runner-up Maple Heights. Ten of those veteran players garnered All-District honors in 2009 and three of them – two-way senior lineman Chase Hounshell (6-foot-6, 245 pounds), senior linebacker Joe Ribeiro and senior defensive back Connor Briggs – were All-Ohio picks in '09.
Ribeiro was the state's co- Defensive Player of the Year in Division II last season, Briggs is competing for time at quarterback this year and Hounshell recently committed to the Florida Gators.
Among the other names to remember are senior wide receiver/defensive back Adam Urbania (4 interceptions in '09), senior running back/safety Matt Fee (830 yards rushing and 7 touchdowns in '09), senior linebacker Marty Gibbons, senior running back/defensive back Tommy Michals (34 receptions and 3 picks in '09) and a healthy senior tailback/linebacker Richie Sanders.
Sanders rushed for 11 touchdowns and nearly 700 yards before breaking his collarbone in Week 6 of last season. He also was the team's leading tackler when he went down with the injury.
“I know Lake Catholic is going to be excited to play us,” said Kette, who will be counted on to help lead a Saint Ignatius defense that graduated all 11 starters. “They're Division II and are going to want to prove that they can hang with the big dogs.
“No one really knows any of our names,” Kette continued, referring to the 'Cats' 2010 defense. “Last year, there was Scott and Jake (All-Ohio linebackers Scott McVey and Jake Ryan, now at Ohio State and Michigan, respectively). I know as a linebacker that we're just trying to show what we are made of inside. You can really tell that there is a big difference from the first day we stepped on the field (in mini camp) to where we are now.”
Along with Kette (15 tackles in '09), junior linebacker James Sheehan (25 tackles, 2 sacks and 8 for losses), junior safety Mike Svetina (35 tackles), senior linebacker Ryan Gibbons (10 trackles), senior safety Kevin Ryan (14 tackles), junior linebacker Zack Ryan (6 tackles) and junior safety Chad Aerni (9 tackles) will bring some big-game experience into Cleveland Browns Stadium. And keep an eye on junior linebacker /defensive lineman Ed Cleveland (6-0, 240) and junior linebacker Rustom Khouri.
St. Ignatius head coach Chuck Kyle, who is taking a record of 273-59-1 into his 28th season, describes Lake Catholic as being a very challenging and experienced opponent, a hungry group of kids who want to take their team to the next level – the state championship game.
Coach Kyle emphasized that no longer can his team use the excuse of graduation on defense, that his Wildcats have faced three extremely talented programs in preseason scrimmages – Solon, Twinsburg and Canton McKinley – have played this defense since they were freshmen and have to be ready physically and mentally for game day.
“It is a big game, not just because it is in Browns Stadium and not just because it's an opener,” Kyle said. “We've been trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together, trying to find out who is going to respond. It is a game where we really need to come out and play well, consistently.
“If we come out, play a good football game and win, now we're getting some momentum to take on the schedule we have. In a perfect world, you play a schedule like this when you have an experienced team. But that's not the perfect world for us this year. We have to develop a lot of things and some kids have to step up. So that's what we'll do.”
Facing a schedule that is rated by some football websites and polls as being among the 10 most demanding in the nation, and with a new young man under center in 6-4 junior Matt Hoyer, Coach Kyle and his staff say it is imperative to be able to run the ball with success.
And that has to start on Saturday night against an active, aggressive and tested Lake Catholic defense.
Leading the 'Cats' ground game will be All-Ohio senior tailback and co-captain Bobby Grebenc, whose strength, balance, vision and speed helped lead the way to more than 1,200 yards rushing and 18 touchdowns in '09. Junior Dan Grace, who has had a solid preseason, and speedy sophomore Tim McVey, Scott's brother, will be counted on to give Bobby a breather.
It all starts up front, however, and the responsibility to provide the space for the backs and the time needed for Hoyer to develop falls on the broad shoulders of senior guard and co-captain Mike Ramos (6-4, 280), senior guard Tom Gorbett (6-3, 260), senior tackle Jim Katusha (6-5, 270), senior center Jack Corrigan (6-2, 245), senior tackle Mason Halter (6-7, 260) and junior center Zach Lozar (6-1, 230).
Hoyer, the brother of New England Patriots backup quarterback Brian Hoyer '04, is not only benefiting from the outstanding coaching of Wildcats veteran offensive coordinator Nick Restifo (30 years of experience) and new assistant coach Elvis Grbac, a former standout quarterback at St. Joseph High School and the University of Michigan who went on to an All-Pro career in the NFL, but also the depth and skill of Saint Ignatius' receiving corps.
Looking to keep the Cougars' defense honest will be senior wideouts David Joseph (21 yards per reception in '09), Nick D'Amico and Fred Davis, and one of the best tight end tandems in the area in senior co-captain Zach Strippy and junior Blake Thomas (6-4, 220).
“In scrimmages, it was like the kids were thinking through things,” said Coach Kyle. “And the speed of the game gets a little quicker and you can't do that. So we're going to have to attack more (on defense). If we make a mistake, that's okay. Make it an aggressive mistake, that's all.”
LANDINO'S LIGHTNING STRIKES THE COUGARS TWICE: On August 30, 1985, in a game this corner reported on for The Plain Dealer, Saint Ignatius tailback Pete Landino rushed for 91 yards and three touchdowns in leading the Wildcats to a 21-0 victory over Lake Catholic at John Marshall Field.
Landino's efforts not only spoiled the debut of John Gibbons as the Cougars' head coach, they left Lake Catholic's faithful saying that if they ever saw the Saint Ignatius tailback again, it would be too soon.
Well, the performance by Landino that night in John Marshall Field was almost an exact duplication of Pete's game against Lake Catholic in 1984, when he rushed for 93 yards and three touchdowns in the 'Cats' 31-7 upset of the then unbeaten Cougars.
A WELL-DESERVED HONOR: Congratulations go out to Wildcats senior guard and co-captain Mike Ramos, who will be receiving one of the four scholarships to be presented during Saturday's Charity Game doubleheader.
The scholarships are being named in honor of former Plain Dealer high school sports reporter Dick “Zip” Zunt '50, who passed away on Jan. 2 (see the story posted on Monday, Aug. 23).
Mike, who carries a 4.25 grade-point average, emphasized how honored he is to be receiving an award that is attached to the name of such a great man.
JUST A NOTE OF APPRECIATION: Some of the articles the corner refers to, especially when making an historical reference, come from the scrapbooks that were so thoroughly and devoutly assembled by Mr. Brian Zawicki of The Plain Dealer.
Brian, a 1969 graduate of Saint Ignatius, spent nine years in The Plain Dealer Sports Department and is currently in his 26th year in The PD Library's News Research Department.
The PD Sports Department no longer had the space to store the scrapbooks, so last fall High School Sports Editor Kristen Davis called me to ask if I would like to have them. I headed for East 18th and Superior, my former home away from home, and put them in my small, but tough Ford Focus. They now have a special place in my apartment, where I can go back and fondly re-read the efforts of the late Dick Zunt '50, the late Don Friedman, some guy named Dwyer and others.
SAINT IGNATIUS' JUNIOR VARSITY AND FRESHMAN FOOTBALL TEAMS MAKE SUCCESSFUL DEBUTS.
POSTED BY EDDIE DWYER ON 8/27/10.
IT WAS A PERFECT NIGHT FOR FOOTBALL AND THE 2010 SAINT IGNATIUS JUNIOR VARSITY TEAM MADE IT EVEN MORE ENJOYABLE.
TAKING ON THE LAKE CATHOLIC COUGARS IN THE SEASON OPENER FOR BOTH PROGRAMS, THE JV 'CATS DOMINATED THE FIRST HALF ON FRIDAY AND WENT ON TO A 38-8 VICTORY AT WASMER FIELD.
AFTER THE WILDCATS' DEFENSE STOPPED THE COUGARS SHORT OF A FIRST DOWN ON FOURTH AND LESS THAN A YARD, A NICE CATCH AND RUN BY THE TOUGH AND VERSATILE CONNOR HENNESSEY SET UP A 1-YARD TOUCHDOWN KEEPER BY QUARTERBACK MIKE LAMANNA.
THE HARD-HITTING 'CATS DEFENSE STRUCK AGAIN BY FORCING A FUMBLE AND RECOVERING THE BALL IN THE END ZONE FOR A TOUCHDOWN.
SAINT IGNATIUS TOOK COMMAND IN THE SECOND QUARTER ON A TEXT-BOOK CATCH AND RUN FOR A TOUCHDOWN BY TIGHT END KEVIN KAVALEC, AN INTERCEPTION BY DAN LYNCH AND A PERFECTLY EXECUTED TD STRIKE FROM LAMANNA TO HENNESSEY WITH 37.2 SECONDS REMAINING IN THE FIRST HALF.
HENNESSEY CAUGHT THE STRONG THROW FROM LAMANNA IN STRIDE AND OUTRAN THE PURSUIT. THE SAME COMBINATION CLOSED OUT THE FIRST-HALF SCORING BY HOOKING UP ON A 2-POINT CONVERSION.
SPARKED BY TWO IMPRESSIVE PUNT RETURNS BY JACK LAVELLE, INCLUDING ONE FOR A TOUCHDOWN, THE SAINT IGNATIUS FRESHMAN FOOTBALL TEAM OPENED ITS SEASON WITH AN 18-6 VICTORY AT LAKE CATHOLIC ON THURSDAY EVENING.
SAINT IGNATIUS-LAKE CATHOLIC VARSITY FOOTBALL RECAP.
POSTED ON 8/29/10 AT 1:58 A.M.
THE WILDCATS' OFFENSE UNLEASHES SOME BIG PLAYS THROUGH THE AIR, BUT A POWERFUL AND RELENTLESS RUNNING GAME FUELED BY RICHIE SANDERS LEADS THE WAY TO LAKE CATHOLIC'S SEVEN-POINT VICTORY IN THE CHARITY GAME SEASON OPENER.
By Eddie Dwyer
Copyright, August 2010
Standing just a few yards away from one of the tunnel entrances to Cleveland Browns Stadium, Saint Ignatius' veteran football coach Chuck Kyle '69 didn't hesitate for a second when asked to evaluate the performance by Lake Catholic's strong and gifted senior tailback/linebacker Richie Sanders.
“He's good, there is no doubt about it,” Coach Kyle said. “He's very good. We saw that in the videos. He has great feet, great vision and speed. He's a great weapon.”
And great is no exaggeration, as Sanders had a night most high school players can only dream about in leading the Cougars to a 28-21 victory over Saint Ignatius in the second game of Saturday's Home Team Marketing/Browns Charity Game doubleheader.
St. Edward defeated Mentor, 35-28, in the opener and the total two-game attendance in Browns Stadium was more than 20,000.
Lake Catholic, with the 5-foot-10, 180-pound Sanders rushing for 239 yards on 32 carries and scoring three touchdowns, including a pivotal interception return of 56 yards, won for the seventh time in its 16 encounters with the Wildcats. It was the first meeting between the perennial powers since 1997, when Saint Ignatius prevailed in Lakewood Stadium, 52-14.
“Their running game? Well, we didn't really stop it, put it that way,” Coach Kyle said after his young defense couldn't contain the power bursts by Sanders, who operates behind a veteran line. “That is something we have to look at and grow. We're an inexperienced, younger defense. So we can learn from it.”
Although Sanders, the game's MVP, was definitely the story of the night, Saint Ignatius displayed another of its trademark passing attacks from the get-go.
Taking the opening kickoff, the Wildcats started at their 17-yard line and, behind the second of two clutch receptions by junior tight end Blake Thomas, moved to a first down at their 41. On the next play, junior quarterback Matt Hoyer, who was making his varsity debut, found senior wide receiver David Joseph open in the seam down the right sideline. The multitalented Joseph looked the ball into his hands and never broke stride as he completed the 59-yard touchdown. Junior Tim Shenk kicked the extra point and Saint Ignatius led, 7-0, with 8 minutes, 24 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
With Sanders doing most of the damage with his Barry Sanders-like frame, the Cougars answered with an impressive drive of their own. It was a march that featured an exceptional one-handed diving catch in the end zone by senior running back/defensive back Tommy Michals for an 8-yard touchdown.
Two huge turning points took place on the next series.
First it was Wildcats All-Ohio senior tailback Bobby Grebenc (1,205 yards rushing and 18 touchdowns in 2009) being helped from the field after tweaking an ankle with 10:32 left in the first half.
Then Sanders struck again with his Pick 6 and, after senior Kresimir Ivkovic kicked his second extra point, Lake Catholic led, 14-7, with 8:39 to go in the second quarter. The scored stayed that way entering halftime.
Saint Ignatius' defense, which graduated all 11 starters from last season, came up with two big plays in the first 24 minutes - a fumble recovery by senior safety Kevin Ryan and an interception by junior safety Mike Svetina. The 6-2, 210-pound Svetina was outstanding all night, as he was involved in more than 20 tackles.
The Hoyer-to-Joseph combination clicked again in the second half, this time a 38-yard touchdown strike down the right sideline that topped an 80-yard drive and again highlighted the strong arm of Hoyer and the soft hands and concentration of Joseph. Shenk was high and true on his second extra point and the score was tied with 7:24 remaining in the third quarter.
Just when the 'Cats appeared to have captured the momentum, Sanders and his offensive line took over again.
Sanders fought his way through the left side for a 4-yard touchdown with just over two minutes left in the third quarter and he rambled 62 yards down the right sideline for his third score with 9:16 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Behind the passing of Hoyer and the receiving of Joseph, Thomas, senior Nick D'Amico and junior Tim McCoy, Saint Ignatius covered 80 yards again and cut the deficit to 28-21 on a nifty 13-yard catch and cut-back run for a touchdown by sophomore running back/safety Tim McVey and Shenk's third extra point.
Just 1:43 remained on the clock, however, and after Lake Catholic recovered an onside kick, the Cougars went on to seal the victory behind another second-effort run for a first down by Sanders.
“We weren't intending for Matt to have to do all of that (passing),” said Coach Kyle, who also got a solid punting game from senior Peter Russo. “We certainly wanted to blend in the running game and at times it was pretty good. But without Bobby, that makes it a little rough.”
The Wildcats will travel to Bedford on Friday night for a game against a Bearcats team that has plenty of skill. It will be only the second meeting between the schools in football and the first since 1920, when the Golden Tornado, as Saint Ignatius was known then, came away with a 17-0 victory at Bedford.
In closing Week 1, the corner would like to congratulate senior defensive back/special teams standout Glenn Patterson, who was selected as the Wildcats' fourth and final captain. He joins senior guard Mike Ramos, senior tight end Zach Strippy and Bobby Grebenc.
SAINT IGNATIUS VERSUS BEDFORD VARSITY FOOTBALL RECAP.
THE WILDCATS' DEFENSE STEPS UP AND PUTS FORTH A SOLID “GROUP EFFORT.”
DAN GRACE AND TIM MCVEY FILL THEIR ROLES ADMIRABLY ON OFFENSE, AS THEY COMPLEMENT A MATT HOYER-LED PASSING ATTACK.
STORY POSTED ON 9/4/10 AT 2:14 A.M.
By Eddie Dwyer
Copyright, Sept. 2010
Saint Ignatius' outstanding junior safety Mike Svetina will be the first to tell you that the Wildcats' defense had plenty of work to do after the disappointing opening-night loss to Lake Catholic.
That extra time on the practice field this week came to the fore on Friday night, as Saint Ignatius' first-team units, behind what their coaching staff described as a group effort, kept the Bedford Bearcats in check and the 'Cats went on to a 36-17 victory in atmosphere-rich Bearcat Stadium.
The Wildcats, ranked eighth in this week's Plain Dealer Top 25 poll, will take a record of 1-1 into next Friday night's showdown with the Golden Gales of Lancaster (2-0) in Lancaster's Fulton Field. The 7:30 kickoff will mark the first matchup in football between the 'Cats and the Golden Gales.
“You have to give all of the credit in the world to the front six, that's where it starts,” said Svetina of Saint Ignatius' defensive front. "This feels real good, coming out and making a statement on defense. It is a good building block for the rest of the year.
“It was like, let's wake up and start playing. And that's what we did.”
As far as Bedford was concerned, it was a rude awakening.
Winning the battle of field position by keeping the Bearcats pinned deep in their territory, the Wildcats rolled up 271 of their 324 total yards in the first half.
Junior Tim Shenk got the offense started with an impressive 42-yard field goal and Saint Ignatius, on the strength of a perfectly executed touchdown off a 35-yard screen pass from junior quarterback Matt Hoyer to junior tailback Dan Grace, took a 10-0 lead into the second quarter.
It was more of the same in the second quarter as the Wildcats capped a 10-play, 73-yard drive with a 7-yard TD strike from Hoyer to gifted senior wideout David Joseph and Shenk's second extra point. In racking up his third touchdown of the young season, Joseph made a running catch in the left corner of the end zone and, knowing where he was on the field, alertly dragged his feet in bounds.
The Hoyer to Joseph six-pointer was set up by a 41-yard pass from Hoyer to talented junior tight end Blake Thomas, which came off a third-and-10 from midfield.
Saint Ignatius' first-team defense, rising to the occasion all night, set up the next score on an interception by junior corner back Dan Jones off a tipped pass by junior linebacker James Sheehan.
Following a key reception by senior wide receiver Evan Latsko, sophomore tailback/safety Tim McVey burst through a hole over the right side and went 14 yards into the end zone. Shenk's extra-point kick was high and true, and the Wildcats led, 24-0, with 1 minute, 12 seconds remaining in the first half.
Saint Ignatius left no doubt in the third quarter, scoring on a safety, a 22-yard field goal by Shenk and a 3-yard, second- and third-effort touchdown run by McVey that saw his entire offensive line escort him into the end zone. It was McVey's third TD of the season.
“Both of us want to play and when we need to, we step up,” said McVey of the efforts he and Grace put forth while filling in for All-Ohio senior tailback Bobby Grebenc (sprained ankle). “I feel I bring as much as I can to every game. Offense or defense, any way I can get on the field.”
For the night, McVey rushed for 72 yards on eight carries and Grace carried the pigskin 17 times for 64 yards. Hoyer completed 11 of 20 passes for 171 yards and was selected as the "Ganley Man Star of the Game" by Time Warner Cable of Northeast Ohio.
With coach Chuck Kyle '69 going to his second and third units in the fourth quarter, Bedford (0-2) scored 17 points in the final six minutes.
After Wildcats senior linebacker Max Bova intercepted a pass deep in Saint Ignatius territory, the Bearcats came back with two late touchdown passes from junior quarterback Devin Davis – 36 yards to senior Kirk Gillispie and 5 yards to senior L.J. Chambers. Chambers also caught a 2-point conversion pass following his touchdown reception.
“Bedford came out with no-back, quads, all sorts of different wild formations,” Coach Kyle said, just before he turned his attention to Saturday's wedding of his daughter Maureen. “The kids adjusted, stopped them, we got the ball, had a little drive and kicked a field goal. You know, just get points, keep going, stay positive. And then the defense had time to do a couple of other adjustments, and I think that was about it.
“We just thought Bob (Grebenc) should take a little break,” Kyle continued. “He'll be fine. And those two kids (Grace and McVey) ran very well. At halftime we were in pretty good shape, and we just wanted to keep the clock rolling.”
A WEEKEND TO CHERISH
When Chuck Kyle looks back on his marvelous coaching career at Saint Ignatius, he is sure to recall Labor Day Weekend 2010. And for much more than just football.
After guiding his Wildcats to the victory at Bedford's Bearcat Stadium on Friday night, Coach Kyle got a little rest and prepared for Saturday's wedding of his daughter, Maureen.
Maureen is an outstanding reporter and midday anchor for Channel 3 News Today and her husband, Mark McDougall, is a lawyer who grew up in Shelby, Ohio. Mark earned an engineering degree at The Ohio State University and received his law degree from Case Western University.
“The wedding was at St. Paul's Shrine on East 40th and Euclid, a beautiful, old church. Quaint for a wedding,” Chuck said. “So it was very nice.
“We had the reception at the State Theater, that is where they met, the symbolism of that. They are in Rome as we speak. She already called me talking about the Parthenon.”
Always a special husband and father first, and a great teacher and coach second.
SAINT IGNATIUS-LANCASTER VARSITY FOOTBALL RECAP.
POSTED ON 9/11/10 AT 4:58 A.M.
BOBBY GREBENC RETURNS IN STYLE AS HE FOLLOWS THE LEAD OF A SAINT IGNATIUS OFFENSIVE LINE WHOSE COLLECTIVE HEART IS AS BIG AS ITS TALENT.
MATT HOYER IS A MODEL OF COMPOSURE AND CONSISTENCY DOWN THE STRETCH, AND TYLER KETTE AND JAMES SHEEHAN SLAM THE DOOR AFTER THE WILDCATS MARCH 70 YARDS TO VICTORY.
By Eddie Dwyer
Saint Ignatius Athletics
LANCASTER, OHIO – Standing almost as tall as the ceiling in the visitors' locker room, Saint Ignatius' gritty, gifted and good-natured offensive tackle Mason Halter patted the left side of his chest.
“We went to it, we went right here,” said the 6-foot-7, 260-pound senior after he and his O-Line teammates showed the way during a dramatic and efficient game-winning 70-yard drive at Lancaster's Fulton Field on Friday night. “It's all about the heart.
“We work together so well, it's unbelievable. Pass protection and the running. We wanted to prove ourselves tonight with the running game. And we did it in that last drive.”
Oh my, did they ever.
Providing the seams for All-Ohio senior tailback Bobby Grebenc and giving junior quarterback Matt Hoyer the time to put his powerful right arm on display, Saint Ignatius' young men up front were near flawless during an 11-play march that resulted in a 28-21 victory.
Grebenc, who sat out last week's victory at Bedford with a sprained ankle he suffered in the first half of the opening-night game against Lake Catholic, busted through a comfortable hole over the right side for a 3-yard touchdown with 45.8 seconds remaining to be played. It was Grebenc's third touchdown on the night, as he finished with 88 yards on 21 carries against a Golden Gales defense that prides itself on stopping the run.
“First of all, it's great to be back,” Grebenc said. “It killed me to be on the sidelines for the first one and a half games. On that last drive, I knew we could do it. Our offense was confident all night. They never really stopped us, we stopped ourselves with stupid mistakes and penalties.
“That last hole (on the game-winning touchdown) was huge, it was like 15 yards wide.”
In what was the marquee game under Fairfield County's Friday night lights, Lancaster wasted little time in unleashing its highly touted misdirection offense, an attack that is almost identical to the one the Midshipmen of Navy employ on the college level.
Taking the opening kickoff, the Golden Gales (2-1) put together an 80-yard drive that ate up more than six minutes and was highlighted by a 32-yard touchdown gallop by versatile senior wing back Connor Smith.
Saint Ignatius senior wideout/kick returner David Joseph gave the 'Cats excellent field position by returning the ensuing kickoff into Lancaster territory. On a fourth-and-4 from the Golden Gales' 38, senior wide receiver Nick D'Amico made a nice diving catch at the 26, an effort that saw him reach back for the ball. After junior tight end Blake Thomas hooked up with Hoyer on a 14-yard completion, Grebenc powered his way for 8 yards to the 4. Two plays later, Grebenc fought his way up the gut from 2 yards out and, after the first of four extra-point kicks by junior Tim Shenk, the score was tied with 2 minutes, 34 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
Following a scoreless second quarter that saw both teams hurt themselves with turnovers, Saint Ignatius appeared to grab the momentum when Hoyer and Thomas combined on a 29-yard touchdown with 6:39 to go in the third quarter. However, the touchdown was wiped out by an illegal-block penalty.
Undaunted, Hoyer and Thomas would keep the drive alive by hooking up on a pass that gave the Wildcats a first down at the Lancaster 11. The clutch throw and catch came off a third-and-16 from the Golden Gales' 37 and led the way for Grebenc's second touchdown – another 2-yard effort with 4:23 left in the third quarter.
The final two minutes of the third quarter were a roller coaster of emotions, as Lancaster senior quarterback Nolan Flowers found the elusive Smith wide open down the middle of the field for a 79-yard touchdown pass.
Saint Ignatius (2-1) would come right back and silence the Golden Gales' faithful with a 65-yard TD strike from Hoyer to senior wide receiver Fred Davis with 54.6 seconds remaining in the third quarter. Davis ran a perfect crossing route and Hoyer, a brother of New England Patriots backup quarterback Brian Hoyer '04, put the ball right on the money. Matt finished with 14 completions in 18 attempts for 190 yards.
With junior fullback Xavier West doing most of the damage inside, Lancaster would respond with another clock-eating drive and tie the score on a 1-yard keeper by Flowers and the third extra point by sophomore Zach Daughterty with 4:54 left.
Displaying the composure that is a trademark of a Chuck Kyle-coached team, the Wildcats, behind a clutch reception by senior tight end Zach Strippy, a big-time catch and run by Joseph and the strength, balance and vision that epitomize Grebenc's running style, answered with their memorable and authoritative winning drive.
From there, senior outside linebacker Tyler Kette and junior outside linebacker James Sheehan sealed the deal with a hustle sack by Kette, a combo sack by Kette and Sheehan, and a pad-rattling sack by Sheehan on the game's final play.
“They had to pass and we blitzed them,” said Kette. “They didn't have the blocking. I think they thought we were all going to drop into coverage and we surprised them by coming off the edge, me and Sheehan. They didn't have the blockers or they were confused, and we got to the quarterback.”
The road to victory doesn't get any shorter for the 'Cats and Coach Kyle '69, as next Saturday Saint Ignatius will board the buses again and make the 218-mile trip to Centerville. The kickoff will be 7 p.m.
Wildcats faithful might recall that the only previous meeting between Saint Ignatius and the Centerville Elks came in the 1991 Division I state championship game at Canton's Fawcett Stadium – a 24-21 triumph by the 'Cats.
GLENVILLE-SAINT IGNATIUS JUNIOR VARSITY FOOTBALL RECAP.
WILDCATS PULL OFF A SURPRISE ONSIDE KICK AND GO ON TO DEFEAT THE TARBLOODERS.
POSTED ON 9/13/10.
Ryan Franzinger '02 was a tough and savvy performer during his playing days and now, as an assistant coach in Saint Ignatius' varsity and junior-varsity football programs, “Zinger” relates those same qualities to the young men who are under his guidance.
“Coach Franzinger said let's run that onside kick,” said sophomore linebacker Ken Stephen, who combined with classmate Alex Staffileno on a perfectly executed surprise to start the second half – a gutsy move that led to the Wildcats' 21-14 victory over Glenville on Monday night in a junior-varsity encounter at Wasmer Field.
“They weren't expecting it,” said Stephen, who recovered Staffileno's text-book onside kick just over the 50-yard line.
Riding the emotion of Staffileno's kick and Stephen's recovery, Saint Ignatius went on to score the only points of the second half, as sophomore tailback Dan Way turned on the jets and swept the left side for a 33-yard touchdown. Staffileno tacked on his third extra point and the Wildcats' gifted sophomore class would improve to 3-0 on the young season.
The second half also featured some hard-nosed and disciplined pursuit by Saint Ignatius' defense, with linebacker Brett Bendokaitis, safety/tailback Tim McVey and defensive linemen Matt Gawlik and David Katusha among those applying the pressure.
In a first half that was more of an offensive affair, the Wildcats, sparked by a second-gear run around the left side by McVey and a as-it's-drawn-up catch and instinctive cut-back run by the versatile Conor Hennessey, struck first on an 11-yard run over the right side by McVey.
Forcing the Tarblooders to punt from their end zone, Saint Ignatius took advantage of a shank kick that went out of bounds at the Glenville 17.
From there, quarterback Mike LaManna hooked up with strong and skilled tight end Kevin Kavalec on a 16-yard strike and McVey powered his way into the end zone from a yard out. Kavalec and Rocky Zingale combined with LaManna to lead the Wildcats' passing attack.
Trailing, 14-6, the Tarblooders brought their faithful back into the game when Herbert Walker Jr. returned the ensuing kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown. Walker Jr. fielded the kick on the run, burst up the middle, bounced outside and outran the pursuit down the left sideline. Glenville followed Walker Jr.'s effort with a two-point conversion pass, and the score was knotted at 14 with 33.3 seconds remaining in the first half.
J.J. IN THE HOUSE: Cavaliers promising young front-court player J.J. Hickson, a first-round pick by the Cavs in 2008, was at Kyle Field on Monday speaking to the Wildcats' freshman team. J.J. is a good friend of Saint Ignatius assistant coach Tyrone White.
SAINT IGNATIUS VERSUS CENTERVILLE VARSITY FOOTBALL RECAP.
ELKS POWERFUL GROUND ASSAULT AND A SHAKY FIRST QUARTER MAKE FOR A LOING NIGHT IN THE SOUTHWEST DISTRICT.
POSTED ON 9/19/10 AT 4:37 A.M.
By Eddie Dwyer
CENTERVILLE, OHIO – With 5 minutes and 25 seconds remaining to be played, some of Centerville's fans began yelling: “Overrated, overrated!”
That over-used, hay-is-in-the-barn chant was a bit off center on Saturday night, especially when you consider it came while Saint Ignatius junior quarterback Matt Hoyer was being attended to on the field after a late hit and that the Elks entered the game ranked 11 spots higher than the Wildcats in the weekly Associated Press Division I state football poll.
If that portion of Centerville's faithful wanted to get a point across to the poll voters, it could have waited until Hoyer was helped from the field and then the cheer should have been: “We're underrated, underrated!”
The Elks, who had the appearance of a team much stronger than its 10th-place state ranking would indicate, controlled the better part of 48 minutes and went on to wear down the Wildcats, 31-7, in atmosphere-rich Centerville Stadium.
In improving to 4-0, Centerville, led by multi-skilled senior quarterback Jon Overstreet, amassed 484 rushing yards. The 5-foot-10, 165-pound Overstreet accounted for 283 of those yards while operating behind one of the strongest lines Montgomery County, or any county in Ohio for that matter, has to offer.
“We knew they were going to run the football and we've had trouble with that – people just pounding away at us,” said Saint Ignatius head coach Chuck Kyle '69, after the 'Cats slipped to 2-2. “First of all, the first quarter we just played awful, I mean it was 14-0. We fought back to 14-7, we're running the football and throwing for some things. But the turnovers, that was ridiculous!”
After a fumble recovery by junior middle linebacker Rustom Khouri thwarted the Elks' first drive, Centerville, after recovering its own fumble, struck with a 31-yard touchdown pass from Overstreet to senior running back Tristin Boykin. Senior Chris Kuzma kicked the extra point and the Elks led, 7-0, with 8:01 left in the opening quarter. The TD strike to a wide open Boykin highlighted an 84-yard drive.
Saint Ignatius' rough first quarter continued, as on the ensuing kickoff Centerville executed a perfect pooch kick and recovered the ball after it traveled the required distance and seemed to die along the right sideline.
Junior Dan McCoy pounced on the ball at the Wildcats' 30, but Saint Ignatius dodged a bullet when Kuzma came up short on a 41-yard field goal attempt.
With the elusive Overstreet hurting the Wildcats with his ball-faking skills and quickness, and junior running back Chris Barr challenging Saint Ignatius' interior defense, Overstreet finished off a 77-yard march by scoring on a 4-yard keeper over the right side with 1:54 to go in the first quarter.
Following a fumble recovery by junior defensive lineman Mike Ryan at midfield, Saint Ignatius, hampered by two holding penalties, gave the ball right back to the Elks on an interception at the Centerville 27.
The Wildcats, who defeated the Elks, 24-21, in the 1991 big-school state championship game, cut the deficit to 14-7 on a 20-yard touchdown pass from Hoyer to senior wideout Fred Davis and an extra-point kick by junior Tim Shenk with 1:49 remaining in the first half. Hoyer put the ball the only place he could, Davis made a nice adjustment, grabbed it with two hands and stayed in bounds in the right corner of the end zone.
Saint Ignatius' score was set up by some hard-nosed running by all-state senior tailback Bobby Grebenc, a 35-yard pass from Hoyer to sophomore running back/slotback Tim McVey off a third-and-22 from the Saint Ignatius 30, and a 10-yard, sliding catch by senior Nick D'Amico off a fourth-and-5 from the Centerville 30. Grebenc rushed for 82 yards on 17 carries.
It was the Elks' night, however, as they extended their seven-point halftime lead to 24-7 with two authoritative, time-consuming drives. The first one was capped by Barr's 1-yard touchdown run in the third quarter and the second one – an 82-yard march – was highlighted by a 37-yard field goal by Kuzma with 9:17 left in the fourth quarter.
McVey gave the 'Cats some life with a crowd-pleasing, second-effort kickoff return to the Centerville 39. But the Elks' defense came up with an interception inside the Centerville 15. It was the third of four picks on the night by an active Elks secondary.
From there, Overstreet took the keys to the car again and drove for his second touchdown on a 35-yard turn around the right side with 5:59 remaining on the clock.
“We put the defense in a horrible situation,” said Coach Kyle. “A group of guys who are just struggling, and then we're turning the ball over left and right. And dropping footballs.
“It was pretty obvious we got pushed (by the Elks' offensive line). You're in a situation where you're trying to change the alignment a little bit, but they had gotten into the flow of their offense.”
The Wildcats will now prepare for their third consecutive demanding road trip, as they take on 2009 national champion Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, New Jersey) on Saturday at 4 p.m. The game, which will be played in Steubenville's Harding Stadium, is part of this year's “Rally in the Valley” and will be televised nationally by Fox Sports.
Don Bosco Prep is 2-0 after beginning its regular season after Labor Day.
SAINT IGNATIUS VERSUS DON BOSCO PREP VARSITY FOOTBALL RECAP.
POSTED ON 9/25/10 AT 11:54 P.M.
DISPLAYING THEIR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP CREDENTIALS.
THE IRONMEN OF DON BOSCO PREP COULD BE HEADED FOR A REPEAT OF 2009.
By Eddie Dwyer
Copyright, September 2010
STEUBENVILLE, OHIO – As he stood at the podium in the press room, Saint Ignatius coach Chuck Kyle '69, a man who knows what it takes to be a successful high school football program, spoke about Don Bosco Prep.
“It's a great program, a great team,” Kyle said, after the Ironmen from Ramsey, New Jersey defeated his Wildcats, 33-6, in the “Rally in the Valley” USA Today Super 25 /Massey Challenge at Harding Stadium late Saturday afternoon.
“They showed that they're well on their way to coming right back at it,” Coach Kyle said in reference to Don Bosco Prep's near unanimous national championship of 2009. “And we have some work to do.
“We certainly would have liked to have come down here and battled it out a little bit better. But we're young, and as you can see there's moments of inexperience that pop up, technique things. We just have to improve.”
The Ironmen (3-0), who have now outscored their 2010 opponents, 101-26, did exactly what they accomplished the previous two weeks by taking command early against the Wildcats.
After Saint Ignatius (2-3) grabbed some momentum on a diving interception by junior Chad Aerni off a deflection by junior Adam North, Don Bosco regrouped.
Sparked by a 46-yard run by senior tailback Paul Canevari, the Ironmen took a 7-0 lead on a 2-yard keeper around the left side by senior quarterback Gary Nova and an extra-point kick by junior Aidan Murray. Canevari's set-up run came off a first-and-15 from the Ironmen 11.
The 6-foot, 220-pound Canevari struck again, as off a little juke step he burst over the left side, cut to the middle and outran the pursuit for a 58-yard touchdown. Murray's kick was high and true, and Don Bosco led, 14-0, with 2 minutes, 59 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
Canevari, who finished with 257 yards rushing, has taken over the Ironmen ground game after playing defensive end and linebacker last season. He was selected as the game's outstanding player.
Although it was another trying 48 minutes for the Wildcats' defense, senior linebacker Tyler Kette stepped up most of the afternoon and left everything he had on the field.
The 'Cats appeared to be in business after a Kette interception return of 22 yards put the ball on Ironmen 33. But after two incomplete passes, the threat stalled at the Don Bosco 28.
Kette made his presence felt again when he sacked Nova, forced a fumble and recovered the ball at the Saint Ignatius 47. However, the Wildcats gave the ball right back on the next play, as junior defensive back Kyle Sakowski came up with the first of his two interceptions.
The Ironmen, who are now 123-10 under 12-year head coach Greg Toal, tacked on nine more points in the second quarter. They converted a blocked punt into a safety and, behind a steady diet of Canevari, scored on a run of 14-plus yards by Canevari with 45 seconds left in the first half. Murray extended the lead to 23-0 with his third of four PATs, and it stayed that way entering the third quarter.
“We've struggled this year with people just running the football at us, four yards and five yards,” said Coach Kyle, who described Canevari as a tough runner. “We're working on it, but that's been the Achilles' heel. We graduated all 11 guys (on defense) and some backups from last year. It's just been a struggle with that kind of scenario.”
Don Bosco Prep, which will face its big-time rival Bergen Catholic on the road next weekend, settled the issue in the second half on a 25-yard field goal by Murray and a 10-yard touchdown pass from Nova to junior wide receiver Leonte Carroo. Nova, a University of Pittsburgh recruit, scrambled to his left on third-and-goal from the 10, stayed upright thanks to two missed tackles and found Carroo in the end zone.
The Wildcats, who play their first home game of the season next Saturday against Mentor (2-3) on Byers Field at 7 p.m., played without starting quarterback Matt Hoyer (741 yards and 7 touchdowns). Matt, who was shaken up by a late hit in last week's game at Centerville, is expected to be back in the lineup versus Mentor.
Senior Joe Greco did a respectable job in facing a strong, quick and athletic Ironmen defense. Despite the pressure, he was able to make key connections with senior wideouts David Joseph and Nick D'Amico and junior tight end Blake Thomas.
Joseph, who managed some nice catches against Coach Toal's quick-to-close, heavy-hitting secondary, prevented the shutout with a crowd-pleasing 87-yard kickoff return for a touchdown with 6:33 to go. Several of Don Bosco's players sought out David after the game and acknowledged his gutsy play.
GREAT HOSTS: The corner would like to express its thanks to the staff at The McLure City Center Hotel in Wheeling, West Virginia, Dwayne Pielech of the Belmont County Department of Job & Family Services, and the folks at Harding Stadium in Steubenville for their wonderful hospitality this weekend.
It was first class and down-to-the earth kindness. Again, THANK YOU for hosting us.
IT WAS THE LUCK OF THE STANFORD CARDINAL AGAINST THE IRISH: Quarterback Andrew Luck, son of Saint Ignatius Hall of Fame inductee and West Virginia University Athletic Director Oliver Luck '78, passed for 238 yards, a touchdown and a 2-point conversion in helping the Cardinal defeat Notre Dame, 37-14, under the Golden Dome on Saturday afternoon.
MENTOR VERSUS SAINT IGNATIUS VARSITY FOOTBALL RECAP.
'CATS' DEFENSE MAKES SIGNIFICANT STRIDES, BUT THE OFFENSE TAKES A STEP BACK AS TURNOVERS ARE CRUCIAL IN A LOSS TO THE MENTOR CARDINALS.
*EITEL COMPUTER RATINGS STILL HAVE SAINT IGNATIUS IN 17TH PLACE (UPDATED IN FOOTBALL RECAP).
POSTED ON 10/3/10 AT 12:22 A.M.
By Eddie Dwyer
Copyright, Oct. 2010
The disappointment was carved in his expressions and evident in almost every word he spoke.
Chuck Kyle '69, one of the most successful high school football coaches in the nation, was, as always, straight forward as he discussed what could turn out to be one of the toughest setbacks in Saint Ignatius' rich football history.
“The defense played a good game, they really did,” Coach Kyle said, moments after his Wildcats were defeated by the Mentor Cardinals, 18-7, on a wet and dreary Saturday night in Byers Field. “Offensively, we made many mistakes. Obviously, we're disappointed.”
The Wildcats (2-4), whose playoff aspirations for this season are now in jeopardy, turned the ball over five times and had another miscue that resulted in a safety. Simply put, the 'Cats' defense was forced to spend too much time on the field.
Mentor (3-3), which came up with a commanding 82-yard drive in the fourth quarter, is now alive and well in the OHSAA playoff picture. The Cardinals, who entered the game in 12th place in Region 1, are sure to pick up a nice chunk of points based on this weekend's results.
Saint Ignatius, the 17th-place team in Region 1 this week, has made a record 22 consecutive appearances in the OHSAA playoffs. It is a run that has included a state-best 10 Division I state championships and three national crowns.
Under the OHSAA Harbin playoff system, the top eight teams in each of the state's 24 regions at the end of the regular season qualify for the regional quarterfinals.
In the latest ratings by computer playoff guru Joe Eitel, which were posted Sunday morning (10/3/10), Mentor climbed to ninth place and the Wildcats remained in the 17th spot. Eitel's top eight are Glenville, Solon, Austintown-Fitch, Willoughby South, St. Edward, Boardman, Strongsville and North Royalton. The OHSAA ratings will be released on Tuesday.
Mentor, a winner over Saint Ignatius for just the third time in 11 meetings, held a 7-0 lead after a first half that saw the Wildcats commit three turnovers – an interception and two fumbles. The Cardinals scored on a 42-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Mitch Trubisky to triple-threat senior Colton Wallace in the second quarter.
The highlights for the 'Cats in the first 24 minutes were the two interceptions by junior cornerback Dan Jones. Saint Ignatius' defense was solid, especially when you consider the excellent field position Mentor enjoyed in the first two quarters.
Ball-handling mistakes continued to stymie the Wildcats in the third quarter, as an errant pitch rolled out of the end zone for a 9-0 Mentor lead. The Cardinals, on the strength of a 27-yard field goal by Greg Klisuric, led, 12-0, entering the fourth quarter.
Saint Ignatius, behind a 46-yard reception by senior flanker David Joseph, was threatening late in the third quarter with a first-and-goal at the 9. But three plays later, the 'Cats threw another interception.
The Wildcats, who were playing without injured starting linebackers James Sheehan and Rustom Khouri, got back in the game on a 55-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Matt Hoyer to senior wide receiver Fred Davis, a play that saw Davis go high in the air along the right sideline, come down with ball, cut across the field and outrun the pursuit into the left corner of the end zone. Tim Shenk's extra-point kick was high and true, and Saint Ignatius trailed, 12-7, with 11 minutes, 27 seconds remaining.
Just when the 'Cats appeared to grab the momentum, Mentor took it right back with its decisive 82-yard march, an authoritative drive that was keyed by Wallace.
With Wallace and senior running back Ricky Hanzlik doing the damage on the ground, the Cardinals went back in the driver's seat on a 3-yard keeper up the middle by Wallace with 7:36 left.
Sparked by Wallace's 116 yards, rushing and receiving combined, Mentor finished with 294 offensive yards. Saint Ignatius totaled 218 yards.
Linebacker Kurt Laseak led the Cardinals' defensive charge with four sacks, a caused fumble, a fumble recovery and an interception.
“Mentor was doing a nice job of shifting its (defensive) fronts a little bit,” said Coach Kyle, who emphasized that the 'Cats' inability to execute a check off at the line of scrimmage led to the safety. “It's a learning process there,” he said.
“Matt (Hoyer) was coming back (after sitting out last week with an injury) and he was rusty. In trying to do check offs, that started causing some confusion. So that's something we have to grow with. The youth showed up a little bit.”
BOBBY GREBENC HEADED FOR BROWN UNIVERSITY: Saint Ignatius senior co-captain and all-state tailback Bobby Grebenc, one of the finest young men this corner has ever come in contact with, said Tuesday afternoon that he will be furthering his education and football career next year at Brown University of the Ivy League.
Bobby, who also considered Fordham and Harvard, becomes the second Wildcat student/athlete in less than a month to invest his future in an Ivy League school. Basketball standout Shonn Miller '11 decided on Cornell just a few weeks ago.
“First of all, I love the campus, I love the city of Providence, it's truly beautiful,” Grebenc said, as Tuesday's practice was coming to an end. “I got a chance to meet the coaching staff and I liked every single coach I met. I didn't find one thing bad about them. They're really serious about their football.
“In talking to Coach Estes (Brown head coach Phil Estes), he mentioned that they really need a running back coming up, to put the weight on and I thought I could try to carry the load for them. So I'm looking forward to it.”
Bobby, who carries a 3.8 grade-point average, emphasized that he wants to try to major in the business field. He said he has looked at the courses that Brown offers and that he will probably put an emphasis on economics, and then plan on graduate school. There is a tie with Brown University and the Grebenc family, as Bobby pointed out that his uncle, Billy, attended Brown.
“I think this is really a wonderful opportunity for Bobby,” said Coach Kyle, who also coaches Grebenc in track. “He's an excellent student. Bobby really did well at their camp. You can play football, that's great. But an Ivy League education with a student/athlete like Bobby, it's a great fit.
“He'll do well there and we're very proud of him. In the classroom and on the football field, Bobby is a guy who just works and works and works. And he does it in a humble way.”
SAINT IGNATIUS STARTS STRONG AND SENDS THE RAMBLERS IN THE WRONG DIRECTION.
THE 'CATS CLIMBED FROM 17TH PLACE TO THE 15TH SPOT IN THE WEEKLY JOE EITEL FOOTBALL COMPUTER RATINGS. THE TOP EIGHT TEAMS IN EACH OF THE STATE'S 24 REGIONS AT THE END OF THE REGULAR SEASON QUALIFY FOR THE PLAYOFFS.
POSTED ON 10/10/2010 AT 3:18 A.M.
Saint Ignatius, dominating the first half, turned back the Ramblers from Erie Cathedral Prep, 48-19, on Saturday night in a non-league football matchup on Byers Field in Parma's Robert M. Boulton Stadium.
The Wildcats, who snapped a three-game losing streak, turned to a strong ground game in improving to 3-4.
Senior tailback Bobby Grebenc, who committed to Brown University this past week (see the corner's story on 10/6/10), scored two of his three touchdowns in the first 24 minutes. Junior tailback Dan Grace rushed for more than 100 yards and a touchdown on eight carries.
Saint Ignatius, which outscored Cathedral Prep, 35-6, in the first two quarters, also struck early on a 15-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Matt Hoyer to senior wide receiver David Joseph and a 35-yard interception return by senior linebacker Tyler Kette.
Cathedral Prep dropped to 3-3.
The 'Cats will host the St. Francis Red Raiders (2-4) from Athol Springs, New York on Saturday (10/16/10) in Byers Field. The kickoff will be 7 p.m.
A BET IS A BET: Saint Ignatius assistant coach Elvis Grbac was wearing a Michigan State cap at practice on Tuesday. Grbac, a former St. Joseph High School and University of Michigan standout quarterback who went on to an All-Pro career in the NFL, lost a friendly bet with Wildcats junior signal-caller Matt Hoyer on the outcome of last weekend's game between the Wolverines and the Spartans.
Matt's brother, Brian '04, currently the backup to All-Pro quarterback Tom Brady in New England, honed his next-level skills as the starting quarterback for the Spartans. Just to let you know, Elvis was wearing the Michigan State cap with the school logo facing backward. Catcher's style, if you will.
CHRIS BROUSSARD VISITS WITH COACH KYLE: Former Holy Name High School two-sport standout Chris Broussard, currently an award-winning analyst for ESPN and ESPN's NBA Fastbreak, and an award-winning columnist for ESPN Magazine and ESPN .com, was at Saint Ignatius earlier this week interviewing Coach Kyle.
Coach Kyle said Chris, who also was an outstanding writer and reporter for The Plain Dealer and the Akron Beacon Journal, is talking with area coaches about the impact of LeBron James leaving Cleveland and how it has touched the views and opinions of young student/athletes, as far as how they look at professional athletes and professional sports.
This old-timer had the privilege of covering Chris as an athlete and later working with him at The Plain Dealer.
SAINT FRANCIS VERSUS SAINT IGNATIUS VARSITY FOOTBALL RECAP.
'CATS START FAST AND GO ON TO DOMINATE A GAME THEY HAD TO HAVE.
DAVID JOSEPH, MATT HOYER AND DAN GRACE SET THE TEMPO EARLY, AND SOPHOMOIRE TIM MCVEY SENDS THE RED RAIDERS HOME SHAKING THEIR COLLECTIVE HEADS.
POSTED ON 10/16/10 AT 11:50 P.M.
By Eddie Dwyer
Copyright, Oct. 2010
Saint Ignatius' gritty and gifted senior wide receiver/kick returner David Joseph said he “thrives on these type of games,” games he and his teammates must have if their playoff aspirations are to become a reality.
Saturday night on Parma's Byers Field in Robert M. Boulton Stadium, Joseph helped the Wildcats take the first of three steps by igniting the early offensive fire that led to a 47-7 victory over St. Francis High School from Athol Springs, New York.
Now step two and step three await the 'Cats, and Joseph and Co. fully understand that it is going to take a much bigger effort to cover that space.
“It's huge, all of the hype is amazing,” Joseph said of next Saturday's trip to Cincinnati for a 2 p.m. matchup with the Bombers of St. Xavier and the Oct. 30th regular-season finale on Byers Field against undefeated and nationally ranked St. Edward.
“Once you get to the game, it's who wants it more,” Joseph continued. “I love being the underdog and proving people wrong. As Fr. (Jack) Murphy said in Mass, I think we've turned the corner. We're really coming together and we're going to bring it these last two games.”
The Wildcats (4-4) brought it in a hurry against the Red Raiders (2-5) on Saturday night, scoring 20 points in the first 12 minutes.
Joseph combined with junior quarterback Matt Hoyer on a 15-yard scoring play, junior tailback Dan Grace scored on a 28-yard run over the left side and it was Hoyer-to-Joseph again, this time a 39-yard fly pattern.
In playing a little more than two quarters, Hoyer completed 7 of 9 passes for 190 yards and three touchdowns, Grace rushed for 66 yards and two scores, and the quick and elusive Joseph complemented his TD receptions with three punt returns that totaled 103 yards and gave Coach Chuck Kyle's team excellent field position in the early going.
Sophomore safety/running back Tim McVey flashed his promising credentials early and often by coming up with a sack and, on the next play, bursting through the line of defense, blocking a punt and scooping up the ball for a 5-yard touchdown return.
After tall and talented junior tight end Blake Thomas hooked up with Hoyer on a 21-yard score off a flag route, Saint Ignatius led, 34-0, at halftime.
“It's a huge confidence builder,” said Hoyer of the Wildcats' second consecutive victory. “Xavier and Eds are going to be tough. We have no choice but to play to the best of our ability.”
Saint Ignatius closed out its offensive barrage with a 2-yard scoring run by Grace in the third quarter and a 55-yard touchdown by McVey in the fourth quarter, a play that saw the brother of Saint Ignatius two-time All-Ohio linebacker Scott McVey '10 power up the middle, break a tackle, elude another would-be defender and turn on the jets.
“Timmy has excellent speed and he's a tough kid,” said Coach Kyle '69. “The upperclassmen respect him quite a bit.”
Among the 'Cats' other highlights were a key first-half interception by senior cornerback R.J. Previts and a second-effort 73-yard catch and run by senior tailback Anthony Mascia off a screen pass from Hoyer.
Coach Kyle, the man who has set the bar in terms of postseason success in Ohio (10 Division I state championships and 22 consecutive big-school playoff appearances), appreciates the challenges that await his young Wildcats.
“We knew we had to work on improving and the past couple of weeks I think we have," said Saint Ignatius' 28-year head coach. “But we'll find out how much we've improved the next two weeks.
“Xavier and Eds, those are two great programs."
SAINT IGNATIUS-ST. XAVIER VARSITY FOOTBALL RECAP.
WILDCATS LOSE THE BATTLE OF FIELD POSITION IN THE EARLY GOING AND FALL TO THE BOMBERS.
INJURIES ADD TO A ROUGH AFTERNOON ON BALLABAN FIELD.
POSTED ON 10/24/10 AT 12:46 A.M.
By Eddie Dwyer
Copyright, October 2010
CINCINNATI, OHIO – Providing all of the computer gurus are correct and all of the numbers add up, one of the greatest runs of success in the history of Ohio high school athletics came to an end late Saturday afternoon on Ballaban Field in St. Xavier Stadium.
It is, however, only a temporary halt.
If Saint Ignatius head coach Chuck Kyle '69 and his Wildcats have proven anything over the past 22 years, it is that resiliency always comes to the fore in the football program at West 30th and Lorain Avenue.
After coming up on the short end of a hard-fought and physical 19-9 battle with Jesuit-school rival St. Xavier, Saint Ignatius' remarkable and state-record string of 22 consecutive trips to the Division I playoffs appears to have been snapped. It is a run that has included an Ohio-best 10 big-school state championships, a state-record five consecutive Division I titles (1991-95), three national crowns (1989, '93 and '95) and 13 Region 1 championships, including nine in a row - 1991-'99.
While some of the Wildcats' faithful will take a look at Tuesday's OHSAA Region 1 computer playoff ratings for closure (the Eitel ratings have the 'Cats mathematically eliminated), Coach Kyle, his staff and the players will focus on next Saturday's regular-season finale against undefeated and nationally ranked St. Edward at Byers Field.
And then they will point to next season, a future that will be bolstered by the numerous underclassmen on this year's team, a tough and talented junior-varsity squad and a freshman nucleus that is filled with promise.
As Kyle stood near midfield in St. Xavier Stadium, it was obvious that, as always, he was thinking of his players and how disappointed they are. No one had to tell the man they call “Chico” that to a player, the 2010 'Cats wanted more than anything else to keep the playoff streak going “for Coach Kyle.”
“The defense did a nice job, they settled down,” said the Wildcats' 28-year head coach, moments after Saint Ignatius (4-5) lost for the ninth time in 17 meetings with the Bombers (5-4). “Give Xavier credit. We ran the ball pretty well on them last year (a 30-21 victory at John Caroll University). They made some adjustments and we felt we had a couple of little things (we could do today).
“But No. 8 kept making plays. He's a man. He would blitz and he would find a seam when we thought we had something.”
Coach Kyle was referring to St. Xavier's standout senior linebacker Steven Daniels, who made seven tackles, had three sacks and created havoc whenever possible. The 6-1, 230-pound Daniels now has 16 sacks on the season.
Field position told the story of the early going as the Wildcats couldn't move the ball after junior safety Mike Svetina, who is having an outstanding fall, came up with a leaping interception at the Saint Ignatius 8-yard line.
Forcing the Wildcats to punt from their end zone, the Bombers turned the short field into a 26-yard field goal by senior kicker/linebacker Sean Duggan with seven minutes, 53 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
Shutting down the Wildcats' running game, St. Xavier again pinned Saint Ignatius deep and, following another punt, the team from the Queen City took possession at the Wildcats' 44. Four plays later, senior quarterback Max James powered his way over the right side and into the end zone for an 11-yard touchdown run. Duggan's extra-point kick was high and true, and the Bombers led, 10-0, with 5:09 to go in the opening quarter.
The 'Cats had their monents in the second quarter, including a 56-yard punt by senior Peter Russo, a fourth-down defensive stand that stopped St. Xavier inches short of a first down at the Saint Ignatius 21 and a second-effort catch and run of 16 yards by senior tailback and co-captain Bobby Grebenc.
However, Saint Ignatius also botched a couple of punt returns in the first 24 minutes and had some bad luck when Grebenc went down with an injury with 5:27 left in the half and junior Tim Shenk's 45-yard field goal attempt, which appeared to heading right down the middle of the uprights, got caught in a stiff crossing wind and went off to the left.
“Timmy hit a good one,” Coach Kyle said. “The wind shifted and it came across the field. When he first kicked it and looked up it was right down the middle.”
Shenk put his team back in the game when he delivered a 46-yard field goal with 8:50 left in the third quarter. The 3-pointer was set up by a 48-yard return by senior wideout David Joseph with the second-half kickoff and a nice catch and run by Joseph off a quick hitter from junior quarterback Matt Hoyer.
The Bombers, aided by an illegal-participation penalty (12 players on the field) as they were punting the ball to the Wildcats and an encroachment penalty on Saint Ignatius, got some breathing room on a 4-yard touchdown run by junior tailback Conor Hundley with 1:07 remaining in the third quarter.
A 37-yard field goal by Duggan, which came off the second of three interceptions by St. Xavier's active and athletic secondary, pushed the Bombers' lead to 19-3 early in the fourth quarter and Coach Steve Specht's team withstood a 25-yard catch and scoot for a touchdown by Joseph with 2:04 left to be played. Joseph's TD capped an eight-play, 80-yard drive.
The second half was more than a little physical, as senior quarterback Joe Greco, who replaced Hoyer with 8:13 to go, was shaken up by helmet-to-helmet contact as he was sliding to the ground in an attempt to get a first down. The play happened right in front of Saint Ignatius' bench and Coach Kyle couldn't understand why what appeared to be an obvious penalty wasn't called.
Greco had to be helped from the field and Hoyer returned to the lineup. Hoyer and senior offensive tackle Mason Halter were also injured late in the game.
The Wildcats completed 17 of 40 passes for 261 yards, including a 2-for-4 performance for 16 yards by Greco. However, Saint Ignatius netted -minus 15 yards on the ground in 15 rushing attempts.
Senior Fred Davis led the 'Cats' receivers with 7 catches for 93 yards and Saint Ignatius' defense got solid efforts from senior linebacker Tyler Kette (10 tackles, a sack and three tackles for losses), junior safety Chad Aerni (13 tackles, one for a loss), junior linebacker Zack Ryan (16 tackles) and Svetina (the early interception and nine tackles). These stats were courtesy of St. Xavier.
“We had to throw almost too much,” Coach Kyle said of his team's 40 pass attempts. “It's tough to play them here (the Bombers have won 34 of their last 38 home games). They get a lot of momentum right away, they always do.
“They're going to pin you down and get something if you don't move the ball and get out of it,” Kyle continued, referring to the 'Cats' poor field position in the early going. "That's a killer.”
WILDCATS JV SQUAD TOO DEEP, TOO STRONG FOR THE BOMBERS' JAYVEES.
Coach Ryan Franzinger's junior-varsity football team improved to 7-0 on Saturday morning by defeating the junior-varsity from St. Xavier, 35-7, in Cincinnati.
Among the Wildcats' highlights were a sack and a caused fumble by Tim McVey that resulted in a recovery and touchdown return by David Katusha, an interception by Conor Hennessey, touchdown passes from Mike LaManna to Ian Riley and Kevin Kavalec, and scoring runs by McVey and Mike Gibbons.
Saint Ignatius led, 21-7, at halftime.
The Wildcats will look to wrap up an undefeated JV season when they host the St. Edward Eagles on Friday night at Wasmer Field. The kickoff is 6 p.m.
SAINT IGNATIUS' JUNIOR-VARSITY FOOTBALL TEAM COMPLETES A PERFECT SEASON BY GROUNDING THE EAGLES' JAYVEES.
POSTED BY EDDIE DWYER ON 10/30/10 AT 12:53 A.M.
From day one of summer practice, their coaches put the pressure on by asking them for an undefeated season.
Two months later, and Saint Ignatius' gifted sophomores stand 8-0 after completing their fall to recall with a 24-3 victory over St. Edward on Wasmer Field Friday night.
“I'm proud of you,” said coach Ryan Franzinger '02, a captain and standout defensive lineman, linebacker and fullback on the Wildcats' 2001 state-championship varsity team. Coach Franzinger emphasized to the JV 'Cats that when a coach says he is proud, it is the highest compliment he can bestow upon his team.
“Thank you for everything," Franzinger continued, as he addressed his players near the Lorain Avenue end zone. “You grew up a little bit this season, and that is what JV football is all about.”
It was all about the passing of heady quarterback Mike LaManna and the clutch receiving of skilled and strong tight end/defensive lineman Kevin Kavalec in the early going, as the two combined on a touchdown pass that, along with the extra-point kick by Alex Staffileno, gave Saint Ignatius a 7-0 lead with 17.8 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
After the Wildcats' strong and active defense forced St. Edward to punt from deep in its territory, the 'Cats got a solid return from the versatile Conor Hennessey and took possession at the Eagles' 27-yard line.
It was at that point Saint Ignatius had to overcome some adversity, as consecutive picture-perfect touchdown runs by Mike Gibbons over the right side were both wiped out by penalties. The Wildcats settled for a 29-yard field goal by Staffileno and a 10-3 advantage with 38.5 seconds left in the first half.
The 'Cats, who outscored their eight opponents, 244-73, took command late in the third quarter on a highlight-reel, 73-yard touchdown run down the left sideline by impressive tailback/safety Tim McVey. McVey's ability to get to the corner, fight off tackles and turn on the jets frustrated St. Edward all night.
Saint Ignatius settled the issue on a 24-yard touchdown pass from LaManna to wide receiver Ian Riley, an effort that saw Riley give full extension and go up after the ball. Riley also had a key block during McVey's 73-yard gallop.
Staffileno, who isn't afraid to throw his pads around on special teams, put the frosting on the victory cake by coming up with a late interception. Along with the victory over St. Edward, the Wildcats' junior varsity defeated other traditional Ohio powers such as Lake Catholic (38-8), Glenville (21-14), Cardinal Mooney (28-13), Mentor (42- 21) and Cincinnati St. Xavier (35-7).
A DEMANDING SLATE: After Saturday night's annual rivalry game with St. Edward at Byers Field, the Wildcats' varsity will have faced five teams who have qualified for next weekend's OHSAA regional quarterfinal football playoffs - St. Edward, Mentor, Centerville, St. Xavier and Lake Catholic - and a sixth team, defending national champion Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.), that is again undefeated and ranked among the country's elite programs.
ST. EDWARD VERSUS SAINT IGNATIUS VARSITY FOOTBALL RECAP.
POSTED ON 10/31/10 AT 1:27 A.M.
EAGLES START FAST AND GO ON TO COMPLETE A PERFECT REGULAR SEASON BY DEFEATING THE WILDCATS.
'CATS HANG TOUGH FOR MOST OF THE SECOND HALF AS JOE GRECO BRINGS A SPARK TO THE OFFENSE.
By Eddie Dwyer
Copyright, Oct. 2010
As he made his way to the team bus on Saturday night, Saint Ignatius senior quarterback Joe Greco took time to reflect on a season that had its challenges and disappointments, yet a fall that in many ways built character and lasting friendships.
“Sure, we're disappointed that we're not going to the playoffs,” Greco said, referring to the fact that the Wildcats entered Saturday night's annual rivalry with St. Edward knowing that no matter what the outcome, their tradition-rich football program would not be playing in November for the first time since 1987.
“But it is so much more than that,” Greco continued. “I grew up with these guys the last four years. We have a special bond. It was a pleasure to be their teammate, and I would do anything I could for them.”
Saint Ignatius, winner of a state-record 10 Division I state championships, including an Ohio-best five in a row (1991-95), experienced its first sub-.500 season since 1982 after losing to the undefeated and nationally ranked Eagles, 33-10, in Parma's Byers Field.
It marks the first time in Chuck Kyle's remarkable 28-year career as head coach that the Wildcats (4-6) closed their season below the .500 mark
“If someone told me 28 years ago that I would have only one of these, I'd take it,” said Coach Kyle '69, whose career record of 277-65-1 also includes three national titles (1989, '93 and '95) and 13 Region 1 championships, including nine consecutive regional crowns from 1991-'99.
“This year, we had 268 kids in the program,” Coach Kyle said. “Kids like playing for us. So we'll regroup, set even higher standards and start a new streak.”
St. Edward, which trails the all-time series against Saint Ignatius, 25-21-1, snapped a four-game losing streak to the Wildcats.
The Eagles (10-0), who will host Mentor (7-3) in a regional-quarterfinal playoff game on Nov. 6, came out strong Saturday night and, behind a deep running game and the leadership of quarterback Kevin Burke, took a 7-0 lead on a nine-play, 80-yard drive.
Saint Ignatius, which completed one of the most demanding schedules in its football history, responded with an interception by standout junior safety Mike Svetina, an effort that led to a 50-yard field goal by junior Tim Shenk with four minutes, 21 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
After Shenk drove another kickoff out of the end zone, St. Edward followed the lead of its highly regarded offensive line and pushed its advantage to 14-3 off another 80-yard march.
Following a short punt, the Eagles took over at the Saint Ignatius 33. Two plays later, Burke connected with Chris Connors on a 29-yard touchdown pass.
The Wildcats' young and injury-riddled defense, which put forth a stronger effort than the final score would indicate, came up with a goal-line stand and stopped St. Edward for no gain on fourth down from the Saint Ignatius 1-yard line.
It was a short-lived boost, however, as on the very next play the Eagles' defense recorded a safety.
For most of the first 24 minutes, the Wildcats couldn't sustain an offensive attack. They managed just 40 yards of offense in the first half.
Greco, who replaced starter Matt Hoyer late in the second quarter, engineered an impressive nine-play drive on the first possession of the second half. It was a sustained effort that included a 44-yard run by junior tailback Dan Grace off a draw play, and was highlighted by a fourth-and-goal from the 3 that saw Greco roll right and find junior tight end Blake Thomas in the end zone. Shenk's extra point was high and true, and Saint Ignatius trailed, 23-10.
With Mr. Momentum edging so slightly to the Ridge Road side of Byers Field, the Wildcats forced a punt and took possession at the St. Edward 46.
Momentum is a fickle friend, however, and, after it was ruled that Thomas fumbled during a play in which he appeared to be down before the ball came loose, the Eagles were awarded possession at their 43.
From there, Coach Rick Finotti's team regained control with a 10-point fourth quarter.