Giveaways tumble Ursuline
By BOB ETTINGER
Nobody has to explain to the Ursuline football team just how important holding on to the ball is, though coach Larry Kempe and his staff had done exactly that.
The Fighting Irish learned the hard way on Saturday at Bearcat Stadium as a pair of first-half fumbles were turned into two long touchdowns on the ensuing plays in a 35-0 loss to Cleveland Benedictine.
“We talked about turnovers this afternoon in our meetings,” Kempe said. “We value not turning the ball over.
“On the first one, our back was hit from the backside as he was fighting for extra yards. The other one was a bad snap. We have to be strong enough to handle those situations. Tonight, we weren’t.”
After the first Ursuline fumble, the Bengals’ Charles Rosser took a pass from quarterback Nicholas Demchuk and raced his way to a 67-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead midway through the opening quarter.
The second Fighting Irish fumble led to a 47-yard scoring pass from Demchuk to Vea Atkins for a 14-0 Bengals’ lead with 11:38 remaining in the first half.
“Our youth did show,” Kempe said. “In the first half, our corners did not play very well. They’re young kids. We’ve got to learn to be better. That’s why we’ll go back to work on Monday.”
Those first two touchdowns were key scores for the Bengals.
“When we play as one, the offense, defense and the special teams, that’s football,” Benedictine coach Carter Welo said. “That’s what we want to do. When we get a turnover and come back and score, that’s a good thing. It was a good team effort.”
Davion Jones carried 27 times for 125 yards for the Fighting Irish and freshman quarterback Brady Shannon was 10 of 20 passing for 94 yards in his varsity debut.
Benedictine took a 21-0 lead into the half after Jovan Goodson rambled 58 yards for a touchdown with 9:33 to play in the second period.
Demchuk struck twice more in the third quarter. The first time, he Goodson for a 32-yard touchdown.
The final blow was a 75-yard strike to Christopher Gales for a 35-0 lead with just more than a minute to play in the quarter.
“I thought [Benedictine] did a great job,” Kempe said. “We knew who was going to run the football. We knew they were going to throw the ball.
“There are a couple of things we do every day. We do a pursuit drill. The other thing is tackling.
“You’d never believe we work on pursuing the ball because it looked like we’d never done it before. It also looked like we’ve never tackled before.”
Demchuk was 14 of 26 passing for 335 yards and four touchdowns.
“We practice all year,” Demchuk said. “I’ve got the timing down with all of the young receivers. I just let them go make plays. It’s pitch and catch. Letting them make plays helps the offense and it helps me trust them.”