Irish continue winning ways; rout East, 42-7
YOUNGSTOWN — The Ursuline Fighting Irish definitely know the woes the East Golden Bears are going through.
Last season, the Irish were outscored through their first three games, 115-33. The Golden Bears this year have seen the same offensive woes, but their defense has held its own as they’ve been outscored just 63-21 in their first three games.
Last year, when it came to week four of the high school football season, Ursuline lost in double overtime to East. This year, there was no doubt as the Irish rolled, 42-7, over the Golden Bears in a Steel Valley Conference matchup Friday night at Stambaugh Stadium.
“Last year, we had a chance to put the game away a couple of times,” Ursuline coach Dan Reardon said. “To East’s credit, they prevented us from doing it. Next thing you know it’s a double-overtime game. You’re thinking what the heck happened.
“I thought it was a good teachable moment for our kids. We did talk about that. We’ve had a lot of growth as a football program. We had a really good offseason. I think they are learning lessons that this game teaches.”
They certainly did, scoring on their first two possessions of the game on a 31-yard pass to Dean Boyd and a 38-yard pass to Matthew Reardon from the arm of Brady Shannon.
Shannon finished 10-of-15 with 144 yards passing.
The ensuing East (0-4, 0-2) possession ended up with a safety when the ball was fumbled in the back of the end zone to make it 15-0 with 5:50 left in the opening quarter.
“I thought our kids made some plays in the first,” coach Reardon said. “We had a couple of big plays with Dean Boyd and Matthew Reardon. Those two plays were big early. It was a bit hit or miss for a series or two. I felt like our kids cleaned that stuff up. We played a little bit sloppy at times. The score didn’t necessarily reflect how we were playing.”
Ursuline (3-1, 2-0) did get stagnant on its ensuing three possessions with two punts and a fumble.
Though any momentum East could have gained was negligible at best as it didn’t get a first down until 7:20 remaining in the first half.
DeMarcus McElroy’s 6-yard run with 2:40 left made it 22-0. After an East punt, Shannon threw his third touchdown of the night, again to Boyd to make it 28-0 at the half.
Ursuline held East to just one first down and 24 yards of total offense in the first half. Ursuline had 225 yards in the first half of total offense.
Terrell Dillworth added an 80 yard punt return less than two minutes into the second half to put the game away at 35-0 with a running clock making a comeback next to impossible for East.
The Irish will look to keep their winning ways alive as they take on the Harding Raiders at Mollenkopf Stadium on Friday.
“That’s the measuring stick,” Reardon said. “We’ve talked to this team every single day since I came back last year about being a good practice team. We’ve taken a lot of steps that way. We still have some work to do and I think our kids understand that.
“That’s going to be the mantra, getting better every day. When you practice well, it gives you an opportunity to play well.”