November 4th, 2017

St. Michael wins wild 6-A Toy Bowl

Block_eric thorne

Eric Thorne

Staff Writer

St. Michael wins wild 6-A Toy Bowl
St. Michael's Clint Stansbury holds on while 3 Saint defenders try to tackle him/photo by J. Eric Thorne

Jacob Buehner ran for three touchdowns and Clint Stansbury for two as St. Michael captured its first individual CSAA 6-A Toy Bowl title with a 34-24 win over Notre Dame on Saturday at St. X High School.

Buehner had short touchdown runs of two and 6-yards and returned a kickoff 55-yards for a touchdown while Stansbury out ran his defenders for long touchdown runs of 45 and 44-yards. The Knights rushed for 203 yards on 21 carries.

“We knew it would be tough and they came out pumped up and firing against us,” Buehner said. “I was just relaxed and just got into the game. We were a little nervous, but then everyone is nervous when you play in the Toy Bowl.”

St. Michael opened the scoring when Stansbury broke free down the right sideline for a 45-yard touchdown run with 3:30 left in the first quarter.

Notre Dame answered right back fueled by Jayse Hardesty who set up his 1-yard touchdown run with a 34-yard romp on the previous play. The extra point was no good and the game was tied 6-6.

Buehner rallied St. Michael right back as he took it in for a 2-yard scored with 7:49 left in the first quarter. Sloane Montano kicked the two-point conversion and the Knights led 14-6.

The back-and-forth battle continued as the Saints marched down the field and Hardesty again found the end zone with a 1-yard run with 3:36 left in the half pulling his team within 14-12. Hardesty led the Saints with 192 yards rushing on 26 carries.

“I was feeling pretty good out there and just kept running as much as I could,” Hardesty said. “I think we played really good, but they were a tough team.”

On the ensuing kickoff Buehner weaved his way through the Notre Dame defenders and returned the kick 55-yards for the touchdown pushing the Knights lead to 20-12.

Not to be outdone Joey Fousche and Hardesty quickly led the Knights back to the end zone in just four plays as Hardesty scored his third touchdown on a 5-yard run.

St. Michael drove to the 3-yard line, but quarterback Ethan Harris had his pass intercepted in the end zone by Fouschee and the Knights led 20-18 at the half.

“Notre Dame is one heck of a ball team and it took a valiant effort from our kids to come away with a victory today,” St. Michael coach Rob Owen said. “These kids have stood up to every test this season and been resilient. There is nobody in the city I would take to replace my 30 kids on this team.”

Notre Dame opened the second half and Hardesty again found the end zone on a 5-yard score giving the Saints their first lead at 24-20 with 5:32 left in the third quarter.

Stansbury broke free again for the Knights and raced 44 yards for the score putting the Knights back in front 28-24 as Montano’s kick was good. Stansbury finished with 141 yards rushing on just nine carries.

“It feels so amazing right now, and it’s a dream come true,” Stansbury said. “I wasn’t expecting to get those long touchdowns, but I just saw the seams open up and just ran through them. I was nervous getting down to the end but all the grinding this season paid off.”

For Montano being a girl on the team mattered little in the trenches but inspirational for all other female athletes.

“It’s very exciting to be out with the boys and bring the trophy home,” Montano said. “We’ve talked about climbing the ladder as a team this year and the coaches have taught me a lot of life lessons this season.”

“I wanted to inspire all the girls out there and I’m thrilled they came to watch me,” Montano said. “I just want them to know we can be just as tough as the boys are out there and sometimes even tougher. It’s very cool playing with the boys, and I just want the girls to know its ok to come out of their comfort zone.”

Each team turned the ball over on its next possession with Foushee getting another interception for Notre Dame and Jack Wheeler recovering a fumble for the Knights.

“It’s been the story of the season we’re undersized, not very big on the line but we are fast and go at it every single play,” Maddox said. “Our motto this year was ‘play every play like it’s your last and I think that’s what it took today to come away with this win.”

Notre Dame Coach Keith Minor knew the game would be a battle to the finish.

“The kid who fumbled on the last drive (Hardesty) had the best game out there tonight and is probably he best runner in the league,” Minor said. “We only lost twice this year and both came to the team that won the Toy Bowl. We were where we were wanted to be in the end.”

It took St. Michael just four plays for Buehner to ice the victory with his 6-yard touchdown with just 1:09 left in the game. Buehner carried the ball nine times for 47 yards.

“I love scoring touchdowns, but it’s always my blockers who do way more than me but they just don’t get all the credit,” Buehner said. “It feels so amazing to win this first one for St. Michael. I am so, so happy right now.”







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