Ursuline’s puzzling start creates New York-sized deficit
By Tom Williams
In Ursuline’s 38-26 loss Saturday to Aquinas Institute from Rochester, N.Y., Larry Kempe’s players seized momentum late in the second quarter.
Mistakes and penalties kept Ursuline from sustaining drives. Then linebacker Marcus Olivieri recovered Caron Robinson’s fumble at the Aquinas 40.
Six plays later, Joe Floyd scored a 13-yard touchdown to slice Ursuline’s deficit to 14-6 with 1:18 remaining in the first half.
Momentum quickly switched sides. On second-and-10, Aquinas quarterback Jon Kloch appeared to be in the grasp of two Ursuline defenders but remained upright long enough to flip a shovel pass to Robinson who gained 25 yards to the Ursuline 40.
On the next play, Kloch connected with Robinson for a 40-yard touchdown that zapped Ursuline’s spirits and hopes.
“I thought we had him corralled,” said Kempe, Ursuline’s head coach. “Somehow, he got the ball out.”
Ursuline’s flat start was a bit of surprise, considering how well the team played last week in defeating Warren Harding at Mollenkopf Stadium, 28-24.
“They came prepared,” Floyd said of Aquinas. “We weren’t — I thought we were.”
Floyd had a marvelous first half, gaining 166 of his 209 yards. But his team was unable to take advantage of his success until Olivieri’s fumble recovery.
“It’s kind of puzzling how we came out and played this afternoon,” Kempe said.
Aquinas’ first punt pinned Ursuline (2-4) at the 16. On the next play, Floyd broke free for a 64-yard gain. But the next four plays netted just seven yards and Ursuline turned the ball over at the Aquinas 26.
Kloch engineered 11-play drive capped by hitting Casey Hochheimer with a 29-yard touchdown pass.
Three minutes later, Aquinas was pinned at the 9 after Ursuline’s first punt and a penalty. Two plays later, T.J. Jones ran 82 yards to for Aquinas’ second touchdown.
The second half did not start well for Ursuline. Following a three-and-out series, Aquinas scored after three plays and an Ursuline pass interference penalty. Robinson’s 12-yard touchdown made it 28-6.
Floyd’s second touchdown came on a 29-yard run. Aquinas responded with another Robinson touchdown and Hochheimer’s 23-yard field goal.
In the final two minutes, Ursuline scored twice in 24 seconds. After Davion Jones scored on a 13-yard run, Jon Galloway recovered an onside kick at the Aquinas 47. Jones ran for 40 yards to set up Glen Griswold’s 13-yard touchdown.
Ursuline was penalized 11 times for 103 yards.
The road doesn’t get any easier for Ursuline, which will travel to Steubenville on Friday to face the unbeaten Big Red. Steubenville (6-0) is the top team in the Division IV, Region 13 playoff ratings; Ursuline is 18th (the top eight teams qualify for the postseason).
“We have to continue and work to get better,” Kempe said. “Obviously, it wasn’t our day but you’ve got four weeks left.”