September 20, 2016 // Uncategorized

Mishawaka Catholic Saints, St. Anthony Panthers clash

Panther Luke Thomas leaps over the outstretched arms of Mishawaka Catholic Saint Blake Oberg in ICCL football play Sunday, Sept. 18.

ICCL Game of the Week

By Joe Kozinski

Two storied football programs of the Inter-City Catholic League laced up their cleats, pulled up their socks and donned helmets ready to face off in a crucial battle Sunday, Sept. 18.

The Panthers of St. Anthony had narrowly escaped the Crusaders of Holy Cross the previous week, and they were hoping to forge another win against a rebuilding Mishawaka Catholic team. It would take the Panthers just two and a half minutes to get on the board. Their opening drive needed only three plays (minus a penalty) to find the end zone: a 35-yard romp by Charlie Peterson. The point-after kick by Charlie Leonard was true, making the score 7-0.

The first play from scrimmage for the Saints would paraphrase their story for the day: the referee threw a flag for a false start that created a hole that they would have difficulty rebounding from. The Panthers’ defense, led by Michael Conery, wreaked havoc on the Saints by simply chasing down ball carriers and smothering them in their tracks.

After a booming punt by the Saints’ Xander Marien, the Panthers got busy again, first with a hard fought 16-yard gain by back Luke Thomas, and then a 35-yard quarterback sneak by Brandon Prokop behind a huge push by the offensive line all the way to paydirt.

The Saints saw a short glimpse of success when Marien rushed for positive yardage. Then came the hammer, as Conery crushed the quarterback, causing the ball to dislodge. Thomas scooped it up and took it to the house for the Panthers, making the margin 20-0, still  with ticks on the clock in the first quarter.

It would soon go from bad to worse as the Panthers recovered a pooch kickoff just before the quarter ended.

Running back Thomas made the highlight reel as he hurdled Saint defensive back Blake Oberg for 15 and set up a Walter Wesson 20-yard touchdown run. The bounces continued to go the way of the Panthers as a juggled snap to holder Collin Suth resulted in a dash to the pillion for a successful extra point, 27-0.

The Saints again struggled to penetrate the defensive wall of the Panthers, and the maroon and gold-clad juggernauts on offense again made them pay, as Eddie Avevalo bolted 29 yards for another score before intermission. Another boggled snap on the hold resulted in as pass from Suth to Tyler Freeze in the end zone to cap the scoring.

The Saints did not hang their heads as they regrouped. They began the second stanza after a solid return from Noah Biggs, threw together a nifty pass play from Quentin Nellist to Will Christianson for 17 yards and a first down.

Saint Anthony Marchetti added another positive gain before the Panther defense tightened the noose and stopped the drive before the Saints reached the goal line.

Both defenses stepped up and yielded no more points. Panther back Cameron Leep rushed for 60 yards in the final quarter but never placed an inch of his cleat in the end zone.

“St. Anthony has a very good team, they play hard,” remarked Mishawaka Catholic’s Head Coach, Tony Viloi. “We will head back to the practice field, work on our skills and become better by the end of the season.”

“We are fortunate to have a good set of eighth graders who are a tight knit group and work together well, definitely a team effort,” quipped Panther head coach Jason Piontek. “Our second team in practice really pushes our starters and I think it has been paying dividends.”

In other ICCL action; the Crusaders of Holy Cross bounced back and defeated Westside Catholic, 36-0 behind touchdowns from Gavin Stefanek (42-yard run, 60-yard kickoff return), Asante Anglin (20 and 29-yard runs) and a 38-yard jaunt from Jack Futa. Stefanek also added three two-point kicks.

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