Irish regroup to defeat Knights in overtime
Ryan Curry's 10-yard touchdown run was the clincher in the 20-14 win.
By GREG GULAS
YOUNGSTOWN -- Ryan Curry's 10-yard touchdown run in overtime lifted the Ursuline High football team to a 20-14 victory over Louisville St. Thomas Aquinas on Friday at Stambaugh Stadium.
Curry, who carried the ball 21 times for a game-high 171 yards, helped the Fighting Irish (3-2) outgain the Knights. 328-127.
Ursuline has won two of its last three meetings with Aquinas (4-1).
"This is an excellent Ursuline team, a very talented team on both sides of the football," said Knights coach Tim Tyrrell, a former Ursuline and YSU standout. "Give them credit.
"After allowing us to jump out to a 14-0 lead they settled down and played the type of football that they are capable of playing. Their staff did a great job of countering what we did in the second half.
"We have five games left and I can tell you we won't see anyone as talented as the Ursuline team we faced tonight," Tyrrell said.
The Knights' two scores both came off Ursuline miscues in the first quarter.
When Jordan Smith's punt was fumbled by Ursuline's Kirkland Lawrence, the Knights' Sam Stauffenger recovered at the Fighting Irish 15. One play later, Kendall Washington dashed into the end zone for a 7-0 lead.
On Ursuline's next drive, Aquinas' Matt Gilley stripped Irish quarterback Bryant Youngblood at the 15 and ran it in to give Aquinas a 14-0 lead, which held up through halftime.
"We obviously dug a hole early and to their credit they took advantage of our mistakes," Irish coach Dan Reardon said. "We muff a punt, put the ball on the carpet more times than I care to think about and shoot ourselves in the foot other ways. To be down just 14-0 at halftime gave us great opportunity to regroup.
"I told our players that if we could do what we are capable of doing in the second half, then we would have a chance to win the game. We played excellent defense, took care of the ball offensively and kept them out of good field position most of the second half. That was the key to our turnaround."
Long drive crucial
Curry, who had all but 25 of his rushing yards in the second half, got Ursuline on the board with a 25-yard run at the 9:04 mark of the third quarter, capping a seven play, 94-yard drive.
Minutes later, Youngblood added a 10-yard run to tie the game with four minutes left in the third quarter.
The Irish defense stiffened in overtime, forcing the Knights into a fourth-and-45 from their own 45-yard line. Max Stauffenger gained just 13 yards and the Irish took over on downs.
An interference call against the Knights on the first play of overtime placed the ball on the 10, setting up the winning run by Curry just two plays into Ursuline's possession.
"[Bryant] Youngblood made some good decisions for us tonight, especially in the overtime session," Reardon added. "It would have been easy for our players to doubt themselves in the locker room at halftime, but they continued to compete, put together two strong scoring drives and that was enough to force the overtime session."
Running back Matt Yarab added 43 yards on five carries and Youngblood had 42 on 11 carries.