September 10th, 2010

Holy Cross Defense Dooms DeSales

Brad Knoop

Staff Writer


Holy Cross Defense Dooms DeSales
photo by Brad Knoop

Cougars break losing streak to Colts in 12-0 defeat

Three of the top ten running backs in Kentucky Class 1A football have the Holy Cross Cougars running wild through the first part of the season.  But it was the Cougar defense that gave a brilliant, punishing performance against DeSales Friday night, and has the Cougars sitting undefeated at 4-0.

Holy Cross beat DeSales 12-0 in front of 5,000 fans at Alumni Field, using an unrelenting defense that had the Colts going in reverse all night. The Cougars held DeSales (2-2) to 66 total yards. 

“Our defense was special tonight,” Holy Cross coach Mike Fletcher said. “It was a physical game. The kids came ready to play. They’ve been ready all week.”

A scoreless first quarter set the tone and the Cougars were able to march down field midway through the second quarter. The running back trio of junior Jesse Keen and seniors Dominique Malone and Greg Johnson have had their way through the first three games, racking up more than 840 yards combined. It was much tougher to gain yardage against DeSales, but Johnson finally broke through, shaking off two tackles on his way to an 18 yard score and a 6-0 lead.

The game’s only other touchdown came on a two yard run by quarterback Cameron Scott. But that score was set up by a long completion from Scott to senior Cody Schonburg. Scott threw for a season high 90 yards, something Coach Fletcher says he doesn’t often do. 

“I like to pound it and play smash mouth football,” said Fletcher. “Those were good plays and they worked.”

To Fletcher’s delight, the defense flashed some of its own smash mouth style.  DeSales quarterback Jared Nauert got all too familiar with the number 85 on the jersey of Lucas Lanham.  Lanham forced Nauert to the turf a couple times for big losses. Lanham, Aaron Drury, and Jeremy Glass were just a few of the Cougars who invited themselves into the DeSales backfield.

You could sense the Cougars had been waiting for this for awhile.  Three straight losses to their South End rivals had been enough.  Last year, perhaps the worst, a 47-0 whipping to DeSales. 

“You could tell in the middle of the week everybody started to realize what was at stake,” senior linebacker Herb Schum said. “We’ve been waiting to win this game.  It was time.”

Senior defensive back Jarrett Clark said it goes back to last year’s loss.  “We knew when this game came back we had to provide the leadership to win. We knew it was going to be a dogfight.  But our defense, we have a lot of faith in it. And we showed why tonight.” 

The Cougars coach couldn’t easily pick which part of his team he likes the most right now.  So, he went to the line of “chemistry. We have the right chemistry. The kids like each other.  They want to win. They love to come to practice and never complain. I’m proud of them.”

After the game, both teams huddled together to share in the Lord’s prayer.  Following that, DeSales coach Mark Sander, in his 9th season, complimented the Cougars. 

“Great game, Holy Cross,” Sander said.  “That might be the best, cleanest, hard nosed, physical performance I’ve ever seen in this series.”

The Colts regroup for next week where they’ll take on DaMarcus Smith and Seneca High School at Manual Stadium. The Cougars take their 4-0 record on the road to Christian Academy of Louisville. 

 

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