By Bobby Gerome ‘21
First Energy Stadium was full of life on a cold, rainy day for Wildcats fans on October 27. The football team took on the St. Edward Eagles in a historic rivalry game.
Going into the game, both teams had lost twice; so it was expected to be a close game. The Eagles took an early lead with a touch-down two minutes into the game and would keep that lead for most of the first half. But the Wildcats would respond late in the second quarter. This came via a 16-yard touchdown run by Jack Welcsh. The score was tied at halftime, and would be until late in the third quarter. Danny Scelza intercepted the ball after it was tipped to him by Mitch Puhalsky. After Scelza ran for 39 yards on the interception, the Wildcat offense was in very good field position on the St. Edward 4. The Wildcats took their first lead of the game with a 7-yard touchdown run from Bo Floyd. The score remained 13-7 going into the fourth quarter, after Rory McConville’s PAT was blocked. With 9:45 left in the game, the Eagles turned over the ball on a fumble forced by Jack Kennedy and recovered by Danny Scelza. A few plays later, Kennedy would have a 9 yard rush into the end zone, putting the Wildcats ahead 19-7. To make it a two touchdown game, the Wildcats attempted a two point conversion.This attempt was successful from an outside run by Connor Cmiel.
With the score at 21-7, St. Edward started driving down field, but killed five minutes off of the clock in the process. The Wildcats ended this drive on a fourth down stop. With three minutes left on the clock, all the Wildcats had to do was take time off of the clock.The Wildcats finished off the regular season with a win over their archrival St. Edward Eagles.
The Wildcat offense finished off the game with 98 yards rushing, and Patrick Delahunty threw for 76 yards. The defense had a couple of big stops to prevent the Eagles from scoring. The defense was led by a duo of Tommy Eichenberg, who had 12 tackles, and Connor Francz, who had 8 tackles. Together, they had 30% of the team’s tackles on the night. In an interview after the game, CoachChuck Kyle ‘69 said “We had a couple breaks. Honestly, either team could have won. We took advantage of the breaks, and that’s all I can say. In the running game, you have to be patient, and I thought we were. In the red zone, both Jack and Bo had nice runs for touchdowns because they saw a seam and took it. That was awesome.”
The Wildcats would play the Eagles in a rematch the next week. Unfortunately, the team fell to St. Edward, 21-19. It was a very close, hard fought game that came down to the last two minutes.Both sides played a terrific game and fought through another cold, rainy evening. I wouldn’t call this season unsuccessful for the Wildcats. Yes, the goal of a state championship did not happen, but they overcame all expectations from the regular season. The team started the season 0-2, the expectations were not high. But after a loss against Mentor in week two, the Wildcats did not lose a single game for the rest of the regular season. What was most impressive from the regular season was that the Wildcats went 3-0 in the gauntlet of the last three weeks. They played three well talented teams in Moeller, St. Xavier on the road, and St. Edward. All three teams were playoff caliber, have rich histories in their football pro-grams, and all had the potential to win the state championship.
The future looks bright for the Wildcats. Yes, they are losing some valuable assets in their seniors. But the Wildcats have fantastic players in the younger grades that will be able to fill the gaps.
A huge thank you goes out to the seniors. They have given us memories to cherish. On behalf of The Eye, I wish them the best of luck in college and for years to come. Saint Ignatius football looks hopeful for the future.