November 7th, 2011

McKim Leads Leopards To Class AAA Title

Chris Jung

Senior Writer

McKim Leads Leopards To Class AAA Title
photo by Chris Jung

St. Gabriel defeats OLOL 36-14 in Toy Bowl finale's 2011 coverage of the Catholic School Athletic Association (CSAA) Toy Bowl games is sponsored and brought to you by Publishers Press.

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Sunday's Toy Bowl finale between 7th & 8th grade Class AAA foes St. Gabriel and Our Lady of Lourdes was one of the most anticipated matchups heading into the weekend, but it was the Leopards who took the spotlight with a convincing 36-14 victory over the OLOL Bearcats

Our Lady of Lourdes came out of the gate quickly and struck three minutes into the game on Tony Mastropaolo’s 10-yard TD reception from QB Clayton Mehlbauer, putting the Bearcats ahead 6-0.

With 3:40 to go in first quarter, OLOL seemed poised to keep its momentum as St. Gabriel lined up to punt on a 4th & 6, but a Lourdes encroachment penalty suddenly made it 4th & 1, the Leopards decided to go for the conversion and picked it up on a quarterback keeper by Connor McKim behind a charging offensive line.

The Leopard 4th-down conversion led to a touchdown pass by McKim that tied the score at 6-6 with 6.8 seconds left in the first quarter. Eric Niemann’s kick put Gabriel ahead 8-6 heading into the second quarter.

At the 6:26 mark in the second quarter, Lourdes turned the ball over on downs on a 4th & 1 play, giving Gabriel the ball at the 35-yard line, which led to McKim’s 10-yard keeper for a touchdown to extend St. Gabriel’s lead to 14-6. The two-point kick was blocked and the Leopards took its eight-point lead into the half.

On St. Gabriel’s opening drive of the second half, the Leopards ran the same play back-to-back and used McKim’s fake pitch to the right and hand off to Niemann to the left to advance up the field. Then, less than two minutes into the second half, St. Gabriel built onto its lead when Ryan Neutz ran around the right side for a 13-yard touchdown run.

Niemann’s second made kick made it 20-6 in favor of the Leopards.

On a 3rd & 6 with 5:22 to go in the third quarter, St. Gabriel broke up Our Lady of Lourdes’ flea flicker attempt and forced a punt, which would eventually lead to a 5-yard touchdown run and two-point kick by Niemann, giving St. Gabriel a commanding and lopsided 30-6 advantage.

The Bearcats did not quit and answered Niemann's score on a 32-yard touchdown run by John Martinez, who made a nifty cut back before breaking loose with 12.4 seconds left in third quarter. That score, combined with Clay McDermott’s kick, cut St. Gabriel’s lead to 30-14.

OLOL kept the momentum going to end the third quarter on a big tackle by Michael Hiestand that ignited the Lourdes sideline and crowd, and seemed to give the Bearcats hope for a fourth-quarter comeback despite the 16-point deficit.

After Lourdes got the ball back on a punt and converted a big 4th & 4 play on a pass from Mehlbauer to Paul Oberst, the Bearcats failed on another flea flicker attempt and was forced to throw a desperation pass on 4th & 14, which was picked off by St. Gabriel’s Neutz with 3:31 to go.

The Leopards began subbing in its reserves and RB Austin DeWitt clinched the win and capped St. Gabriel's scoring with a 16-yard touchdown run with 1:12 remaining.

Scoring plays

1st Quarter

  • 5:01 Tony Mastropaolo (OLOL) 10-yard catch from Clayton Mehlbauer (kick missed); 6-0
  • 0:06 Connor McKim (Gabriel) 4-yard pass (Eric Niemann kick good); 8-6

2nd Quarter

  • 3:58 Connor McKim (Gabriel) 10-yard run (kick blocked); 14-6

3rd Quarter

  • 6:24 Ryan Neutz (Gabriel) 13-yard run (Eric Niemann kick good); 22-6
  • 1:58 Eric Niemann (Gabriel) 5-yard run (Eric Niemann kick good); 30-6
  • 0:12 John Martinez (OLOL) 32-yard run (Clay McDermott kick good); 30-14

4th Quarter

  • 1:12 Austin DeWitt (Gabriel) 16-yard run (kick missed); 36-14

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