In the land of cheese and churches, cornfields and combines, Ursuline used its stallions and studs to win a Division V, Region 17 quarterfinal, 64-48, at Garaway High Stadium Saturday night.
Garaway, a school which had victories over Div. IV teams Indian Valley and Dalton Fairless, as well as Div. VI Youngstown Christian, put up a good fight against the Fighting Irish, but had its 10-0 record blemished by an Ursuline offense that put up 464 yards.
Ursuline took a 30-6 lead after one quarter and 37-20 at the half.
At first, it looked as though Ursuline rolling through the Pirates like a knife through butter, but Garaway didn’t fold and put the brakes on Ursuline’s momentum.
“We dominated the first half, then we got lazy,” said Ursuline’s Larry Kempe, who was enjoying his first playoff win as a head coach. “We didn’t tackle very well up front, and that kept their offense alive because the kid [Garaway QB Tyler Walter] scrambled some and found the receivers when he’s keeping the play alive for 7-8-9 seconds. That’s what we did because we didn’t tackle very well.”
Jermaine Williams got the Irish on the board first after a 55-yard pass play from Chris Durkin to Shannon Hightower.
Ursuline (7-4) tacked on two more points when Khallid Pierce and Irish teammates pushed Walter out of the end zone for a safety at 6:28 of the first quarter.
Once Garaway got its rhythm, the Pirates outscored Ursuline, 28-7. Then the Irish pulled away to lead 50-28, However, the Pirates came back to draw within 50-36 when Walter hit Winston Mullet on a 44-yard touchdown pass.
After Thigpen’s 55-yard touchdown run gave the Irish a 57-36 lead, Garaway struck with Mullet’s 40-yard touchdown run following a punt he blocked to bring the Pirates within 57-42, with 4:27 remaining.
That’s when Ursuline took the last of many squib kickoffs to start at Garaway’s 49 and marched the distance with Williams’ runs of 9, 14 and 21 yard preceding his 5-yard TD run to put the game away at 1:56.
Williams had 21 rushes for 142 yards followed by Thigpen’s 117 on 14 attempts.
Walter was 20 of 35 for 373 yards and four TDs.