November 13th, 2010

DeSales Falters Late As Season Ends 26-14

Paul Najjar

CSN Staff Writer

DeSales Falters Late As Season Ends 26-14
photo by Lisa Cox Stengel

Holy Cross scores 19 points in 4th quarter for win

In a game filled with big plays and momentum shifts, the DeSales Colts earned the bounces early, but could not keep pace with Covington Holy Cross late in the fourth quarter of their 26-14 loss in the 2nd round of the Class 2A Commonwealth Gridiron Playoffs.


Blessed with perfect weather for a high school playoff game, the Colts were without several key starters including running back Jeremy Lucas.


“We had some injuries that hurt us,” said DeSales coach Mark Sander. “We had to plug a few holes, coach up the kids as best we could. We made a few mistakes, had a few slips on the field, but in the end these guys played their hearts out.”


DeSales started the game with the ball and in great field position at their own 49-yard line. They marched down the field with a 13-play drive that featured a few big passing plays from quarterback Jared Nauert to tight end James Jarvis and to wide receiver Jordan Bramer. Not the usual script for the ground churning Colts offense.


The drive, which chewed up more than six minutes off the clock, ended at the one yard line as Nauert was picked off by the Indians’ Josh Jasper; the first of a few big plays from Jasper.


The next time the Colts got the ball, they finished with a flourish. From their 49-yard line, the Colts ran the ball seven straight times to the Indians’ 27. And on first down, Nauert hit wide receiver Clay Walsh in stride on a post pattern to put the Colts on the board. Kicker Marcos Morales converted the extra point to give DeSales a 7-0 lead. Holy Cross threatened to tie the score late in the half, but wide receiver Eric Walker fumbled the ball inside the DeSales five yard line with just 25 seconds remaining.


The second half belonged to the Holy Cross offense. Indians’ quarterback Jerry Arlinghaus was a dual threat running and throwing. He finished the evening 12-24 for 235 yards and 2 touchdowns and added 45 yards on 11 carries. But it was his poise and precision in the fourth quarter that led his team to victory.   


After a 28 second, 3-and-out possession to begin the half, the Indians finally found some offensive rhythm. A few runs by Arlinghaus and one key completion later, the Indians were at the Colts 9 yard line. Running back Kyle Fuller swept around the left end for a score to tie the game at 7.


And they were not finished. On their next possession, Arlinghaus capped a 67-yard drive with a 14-yard scoring strike to Jasper to give them a 14-7 lead and all the momentum they could want.


But the Colts dug in. Starting the fourth quarter at their own 20, it was time to turn on Mr. Leicht. “Garrit Leicht is our Superman,” said Sander. “He’s a man-child. He was voted Player of the Year in our District even though he only played in seven games. He played his heart out tonight. We’re going to miss him.”


Leicht lugged the ball seven times for 50 yards on the drive, capping it off with a one yard plunge on fourth down to tie the score at 14-14 with 6:57 to go in the game. He finished the game with 25 carries for 110 yards.


The slugfest was on. A terrific squib kick had Holy Cross backed up at their 12 yard line and DeSales nearly had them down for the count on their next two plays. First down was a short Arlinghaus completion to Noah Knochelmann, but a jarring hit made him cough up the ball. Who pounced on it? Arlinghuas.


On 2nd and 14 from their own 8-yard line, Arlinghaus threw his worst pass of the game that was nearly intercepted by DeSales’ Nathan Greenwell. The Indians were on the ropes. But it was then that Arlinghaus conjured up some magic on 3rd and 14.


“We had a couple of big plays in the second half,” said Holy Cross wide receiver Josh Jasper. “Jerry (Arlinghaus) noticed one of their safeties shading to one side of the field, so he gave me a signal for a deep ball and it was wide open.” 78 yards later, Jasper was brought down at the Colts 14. Arlinghaus connected with Jasper on fourth down from the 12 for another Holy Cross touchdown. They missed the extra point and held a 20-14 lead with 4:48 to go.


Kids dream about scoring a game-winning touchdown and DeSales would have that chance. But on a first down rush, Leicht hobbled off the field with a cramped calf muscle and his teammates could not advance the ball. Holy Cross was given great field position and tacked-on a late score on a 3 yard run from Chad Fuller.


The Colts' Demetrius Davis and Jack Crowdis each had 8 tackles to lead the defensive charge while quarterback Jared Nauert was 6 for 11 passing for 81 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT.


There were some strong performances in the game, but none more so than the courage Leicht displayed.


“The knee was killing me early in the game,” said Leicht. “But I had to fight through it for my teammates. Holy Cross is a really good team and they blitzed a lot in the middle so the holes weren’t there as much.”


At the end of a long season, it’s tough to put into words what the last game means to the players.


“Not every team gets to win their last game,” said Sander. “I told them, ‘I really don’t know what to say.’ Several guys were hanging their heads and I just asked them to look up and be proud. I said, ‘You probably don’t hurt more than your head coach because I couldn’t help you get it done.’”


After a stellar career as a premier player for the Colts, Leicht summed up his emotions.


Said Leicht: “DeSales has been a blessing for me. Coach Sander is the best mentor, the best teacher I’ve ever had. It’s been a great experience.”







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