Euclid, OH- Euclid Community Stadium was the site on a rainy Friday night for the Division 1 regional semifinal between two familiar opponents, the top ranked St Edward Eagles (11-1) and the St Ignatius Wildcats (8-3). The rivalry known as the Holy War, was the 64th meeting between the two schools as well as the 5th time in the playoffs. The two teams met in week 7, where St. Edward beat Ignatius 48-6. St. Ed’s has won five straight against their rivals and has only allowed 23 points in the last four games.
St. Edward was coming off a 42-0 blowout of Massillon Jackson, while St. Ignatius was coming off of a dramatic win over Cleveland Heights last week, coming back from a 42-14 deficit to win 50-49. They are led by longtime Head Coach Chuck Kyle, who is in his final season after 40 years as head coach.
St. Edward received the ball first, beginning their drive on the 20 yard line, which consisted of a punishing run game featuring running back Marvin Bell and QB Casey Bullock, and quick handoffs to WR Kyan Mason. But after being stopped on 3rd and 4, a 20 yard field goal attempt was no good and our score remained 0-0.
Ignatius began their first drive at their own 20, and struggled to move the ball, which was exacerbated by a sack on Wildcat QB Joshua Pepash by Micahle Killane. That led to an incomplete pass by Papesh on 3rd down. The Wildcats' woes continued as the 4th down punt was shanked, giving St. Eds the ball at the 50. A few hard runs by Bullock and Bell, drew us to the end of the 1st quarter with our score 0-0.
The second quarter began with a 3rd and 4 for St Ed’s, at the Ignatius 22, but a run by Bullock gained one yard, and a 39 yard field goal was again no good, and our score remained 0-0.
Ignatuis took over on their own 20, and immediately tried to establish their own running game behind RB Shawn Martin. But two quick runs left them with a 3rd and 2, and another Martin run ended up only gaining one yard. A short St. Ignatius punt gave Ed’s the ball at the Ignatius 39 yard line.
Ed's immediately capitalized with runs of 16 and 8 by Marvin Bell, putting them inside the 20. The Eagles continued to pound the ball with Bell, who scored a 1 yard touchdown run, and after the extra point, St Edward led 7-0 with 5:54 left in the half.
After a kickoff that hit the end zone, Ignatius began their drive on the 25 yard line with a 6 yard run Sean Martin, and after another run were left with a 3rd and one before a false start pushed them back 5 yards making it 3rd and 6. A quick screen to Martin allowed the drive to continue. On A 3rd and 10 a pass by Ignatius QB Josh Papesh looked to be out of reach of wide receiver Brandon Webster, but a pass interference call allowed the drive to continue. The drive was ended when Papesh was sacked, leaving Ignatius with a 4th and 11 with less than 1:30 left in the half. The punt went through the hands of the Ignatius punter, and was blocked by St Ed's, giving them excellent field position at the Ignatius 33 with 1:18 left in the half.
Ed's looked to capitalize on the excellent field position with a quick 2 yard pitch to Kyan Mason, then a big run of 18 yards by Bell put the ball at the Wildcats 17 yard line with 50 seconds left. The Ignatius defense stood tall, holding Ed's to only 2 more yards, before Benjamin Lavell attempted a 3rd FG, this time from 32 yards out which again missed leaving our score at the half 7-0 St Ed's.
The second half began with St. Ignatius receiving the ball at their own 20 and started with a nice run of 9 yards by Sean Martin. After a a nice run of 15 by Papesh, he broke off a huge run of 46 yards, giving St Ignatius the ball at the St Ed's 11 yard line and their first scoring threat of the night. After a few short runs, Ignatius faced a 3rd and 9. Iggy came up short and decided to go for it on 4th and 2. Papesh completed a 3 yard touchdown pass to Hunter Moriarty and after the extra point we were all tied at 7 with 8:15 left in the 3rd quarter.
Ed’s started their next drive at their own 25, and quickly moved the ball out with a 15 yard run by QB Casey Bullock. Bullock then took a shot downfield and completed a 45 yard pass to Kyan Mason giving St Ed's the ball inside the 10. After 2 runs by Bell, St. Ed's was sitting with 1st and goal at the Ignatius 3 yard line. Bell polished off the drive with a 3 yard run, and after the extra point St. Ed’s had retaken the lead 14-7 with 6:09 left in the 3rd.
Ignatius began their next drive at their own 20 with a 4 yard run by Sean Martin. But after a quick pass for 4 yards, they were faced with a 3rd and 8. Ed’s was able to gang sack Papesh forcing a punt.
St. Ed’s Kyan Martin had a nice return, and they were set up with great field position at the 50. After two runs by Bell, Ed’s was faced with a 3rd and 7. Bullock and Mason again connected, this time on a 38 yard bomb, giving Ed’s the ball on the Ignatius 10 yard line. Two runs by Bell left Ed’s with a 3rd and goal at the 6. Bullock then connected with Grady Lentz-Pieffer for a touchdown pass giving Ed’s 21-7 lead with :48 left in the 3rd quarter.
Ignatius began their next drive at the 20 with a 9 yard run by QB Papesh. A quick run was then stuffed by the Ed's defense, bringing us to the end of the 3rd quarter with our score 21-7.
The 4th quarter began with Ignatius needing a score to stay in the game and Papesh connected with Ryan Kennedy on a nice pass to give the Cats some life. Another pass was behind Kennedy, and a run gave them nothing before Papesh hit WR Jonathan Merrimee with a 25 yard strike, keeping their hopes alive on 3rd and 10. The next play was not as successful as he was sacked for a 9 yard loss. After a long incompletion Papesh again worked his magic as he connected with Merrimee on 3rd and 19, but he was a little short and they were faced with 4th and 1. A Papesh sneak gave Ignatius the 1st down inside the 25.
Ignatius would again face a 3rd down, but this time Papesh pass attempt was broken up. It was now 4th and 8, with quite possibly the season on the line for Ignatius. But this time Papesh was gang sacked by St Ed’s for a 7 yard loss, giving Ed’s the ball back with just under 7 minutes left in the game.
When Ed’s received the ball back, it was Marvin Bell time, as he started bashing the Iggy defense with hard runs. But Iggy finally was able to corral him at the Ignatius 40 and Ed's was forced to punt the ball back to Ignatius. A beautiful punt gave them the ball at their own 6 yard line with 3:11 left in the game and down 21-7.
After a few solid runs, Papesh threw an interception to Jonathan Slaper who returned it to the Ignatius 4 with less than 1:30 left in the game. Marvin Bell put the fork in Ignatius with a 4 yard TD run and after the PAT the score was 28-7 St Ed’s with :55 seconds left in the game. Ignatius ran the ball to close out the game and the final from Euclid Community Stadium was 28-7.
With their win St. Edward will take on Mentor who beat Medina 42-21 in the regional final next week.