By ryan buck
Chris Durkin’s perfectly-placed toss led Ben Phillips into the end zone and gave Ursuline a 27-24 lead over Walsh Jesuit with 1:32 left in its game with Walsh Jesuit Friday night at Stambaugh Stadium.
The Irish defense, having shut out the Warriors in the fourth quarter, held their ground once Walsh drove into Ursuline territory with under a minute left to make that score hold up.
Trailing 24-14, Ursuline scored on its last two possessions.
“Our perseverance was very important with the way we fought and I’m proud of that,” said Ursuline coach Larry Kempe. “I think it should erase any doubt about how good you could be as a football team by the way you hung with a Division II football team that’s good.”
On fourth and 13 from 33 yards out, Durkin saw Phillips break to the middle of the field inside the Warriors’ deep zone coverage.
“I thought Ben Phillips was our best athlete,” Durkin said. “If I was going to go to anybody I kind of had a little tunnel vision with him. Once he made that cut, he had his man beat and the safety was dropping. I wanted to get it high and let him go up and make a play and that’s exactly what he did.”
Phillips powered through two tacklers and fell across the goal line, igniting the Irish sideline.
Anthony Rozum returned the ensuing kickoff 39 yards. Walsh crossed midfield before Vince Penza caught Pat Ford in the backfield for a sack.
On third down, ShaHaun Williams caught Nick Schlosser, who had open field in front of him, from behind with diving tackle. Ford’s fourth down pass attempt missed the target.
The Irish were battling their own self-induced demons for most of the night.
After falling behind 7-0, Durkin found Phillps on a perfectly-executed slant pattern on Ursuline’s opening play. Schlosser caught Phillips from behind at the 5 and punched the ball loose. The ball bounced toward the back of the end zone and rolled out from beneath the pile.
On third and 17 from the Walsh 22 yard line, Marcus Mosley’s catch and run tied it.
Ursuline linebacker Michael Montalbano broke through the Warriors’ line and blocked Mike Knoll’s punt back into the Walsh end zone and Moseley fell on it for a 14-7 Irish lead early in the second.
Knoll then cut the Ursuline lead on a 41-yard field goal.
Anthony Rozum broke free for a 23-yard score on Walsh’s next drive. The Warriors continued to frustrate the Irish as the second half got underway.
Kyle Pawuk returned a Durkin interception 24 yards to the Irish 33 yard-line, setting up great field position.
On fourth down from the Ursuline 26, Ford found Matt McShane slipping out of the backfield. He made one man miss and followed his teammates’ blocks into the end zone and Walsh led 24-14 with under six minutes left in the third quarter.
Ursuline more than doubled Walsh’s offensive output.