October 8th, 2016

CAL delivers first punch in win at DeSales

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Paul Najjar

Senior Writer


CAL delivers first punch in win at DeSales
CAL quarterback Austin Carr (No. 15 in white) fires a completion to WR Milton Wright (No. 3)

Another regular season match-up between Christian Academy and DeSales, another Christian Academy win; it’s become Groundhog Day in this intense Class 2-A rivalry.

The Centurions earned the first-ever win by a visiting team at DeSales’ new stadium with a gritty 12-7 decision before a jam-packed crowd estimated at 3,000. It was CAL’s sixth straight regular season win over the Colts, but it comes with a caveat: in the past four years DeSales has won the head-to-head battle in the playoffs.

With the victory, CAL retained the “Brothers in Faith” trophy.

A quick start by the visitors, they posted a field goal and a touchdown in the opening quarter, was too much to overcome for DeSales. CAL’s opening drive was a 14-play grinder that covered 60 yards and ended with a 30-yard field goal by senior kicker Eric Quinton.

After a Colts three-and-out, it took the Centurions just five plays to unleash their dynamic sophomore combo as quarterback Austin Carr hit wide receiver Milton Wright on a 41-yard scoring strike. Wright ran a stop-and-go route that was perfectly executed with Carr’s pump fake forcing the DeSales defender to bite.

“We talked about it and talked about it, but our defender wasn’t in too bad of a position,” DeSales head coach Harold Davis said. “I think they’ve gotten us every year on that play. But our guys fought back in the second half and overcame a lot of adversity. I’m very proud of our team because they were down at halftime and came out and played really well on both sides of the ball in the second half.”

The fast start for CAL (6-1) continued into the second quarter. The Centurions dominated the first half outgaining the hosts 157 to 87.

“It took us a while to find our rhythm on offense,” Davis said. “But once we got going, we moved the ball really well.”

Backup quarterback Aaron Pfaadt took the field on the Colts’ third possession and the offense seemed to respond to the swift-moving sophomore. Pfaadt ran for 51 yards on 11 carries and was 13 of 24 passing for 109 yards.

Though DeSales moved the ball well in the second half, the only score they could muster came from its special teams. Junior linebacker Alex Schneider blocked a Quinton punt following the first drive of the third quarter and senior James Sims recovered the loose ball in the end zone. Later in the quarter Quinton would tack on three more points with a strong 38-yard field goal into a stiff breeze.

“We knew it was going to be a fight for four quarters,” CAL head coach Stefan LeFors said. “We came out and executed on offense and did the things we wanted to do and our guys played well. But they (DeSales) are not going to give up and as the game went on you just felt things tightening up. I don’t know if it’s the nerves or maybe there were times when I was a little conservative and didn’t want to put Austin Carr in a difficult spot.”

LeFors coaches a talented bunch. From Carr at quarterback to the exceptionally fast Wright to 6-foot-5 tight end Jake Paulson, the Centurions put quality talent on the field at several positions. Paulson and 6-foot-5 Kenneth Purvis provide a big push as bookends on the defensive line. Not to mention that they make life miserable for a quarterback trying to throw short outs over their long frames.

“Those guys posed a problem for us staying in the pocket and passing the ball,” Davis said. “But we handled it well, moved the ball pretty well in the second half. We were within range at the end of the game and just needed one more play.”

The Colts (5-2) ended up with 192 total yards compared to 256 for CAL with 158 of those coming on the ground for the Centurions. CAL was led by Wright’s 62 yards on 9 carries, with most of those coming out of the Wildcat formation. Anteneh Thompson added 45 yards on 12 carries. Pfaadt was the leading rusher for DeSales.

But the Colts out-gained CAL through the air with 119 yards on 15 of 30 passing with one interception from, whom else, the mercurial Wright. CAL quarterbacks, Carr and Wright, were a combined 8 for 16 for 98 yards and the one touchdown.

“To play here in front of this crowd was special,” LeFors said. “We’re all about developing those boys into men, that’s why I’m at CAL. But, when you come into an environment like this these (opportunities) don’t come around very often. I respect the heck out of Harold Davis. He and his staff do a great job with their guys and they played their hearts out.”

Senior Chad Welsh led the Colts receiving corps with four catches for 36 yards. Senior Mitch Sirohman, sophomore Cameron Perry and freshman Jordan Watkins hauled in three each.

The win gives CAL the lead in the district race, just as they’ve enjoyed in the past six years.

“We’ve got a tougher road now and I know that that will be on their minds for a while,” Davis said of the road trips his team will have to make in the playoffs. “But we’ve got great senior leaders who really worked hard tonight to help turn around the game and give us a chance to win. They’ve been great all year and we’ll keep working to get better.”

Up next for DeSales is a home game against Washington County next Friday at 7:30 p.m. 

 

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