October 18, 2016 // Uncategorized

St. Charles Cardinals: 26 wins and counting

By Ron Busch

St. Charles Cardinal Amir Drew makes a long run to score a touchdown against the St. Vincent Panthers in the fourth quarter on Oct. 16, at the University of Saint Francis.  The Cardinals were victorious 30-0 in the rain-soaked contest.

FORT WAYNE — On Oct. 16 the string of good weather Sundays came to an end; but no matter the weather, the St. Charles Cardinals would not be denied in their string of 26 football victories. It was cool and damp, with a driving rain at times, but nothing seemed to phase St. Charles in its search for the regular season title.

Fans found shelter in the University of Saint Francis’ covered, south-end bleachers as the game began with a St. Vincent kickoff at 12:30 p.m. St. Vincent entered the contest with a 4-1 record and the only seventh- and eighth-grade Catholic Youth Organization team with a chance to bring down the mighty Cardinals. St. Charles’ record stood at 5-0: A St. Vincent victory could bring tie records of 5-1 at the top of the conference.

St. Vincent’s expectations were high as they lined up for the kickoff. The Cardinals’ Amir Drew took the opening kickoff at his own 32-yard line and immediately dashed down the field for a 68-yard touchdown. St. Charles had taken the momentum, and also “the wind out of the St. Vincent sails”. The extra-points kick was good: So with barely 15 seconds off the clock the scoreboard read St. Charles 8, St. Vincent 0.

It should be noted that the Panthers started this game without solid performer Luke Woenker, which may be why the early kickoff run proved to be the only score of the entire first half. Both teams were successful in defensive stands, reinforcing the importance of the game and their desires to hold the opposition offense in check. But the football proved to be a little slippery under the wet conditions, and both teams had fumbles. St. Charles fumbled near the end of the first quarter and the ball was recovered by St. Vincent, and the teams exchanged fumbles and recoveries near the end of the second quarter as well.

Any expectation that the wet conditions might prevent the pass attack proved to be false, as both teams made use of the air strike in moving the ball. St. Charles even appeared to score on a 60-yard pass play in the late second quarter, only to have the long play brought back on a penalty. The St. Vincent defense held St. Charles to an 8-0 halftime score; but the St. Charles defense was once again strong as well, having allowing one touchdown all year.

The game seemed to be a tale of two halves, as St. Charles found another gear and unleashed some offense. With exactly five minutes to go in the third quarter, St. Charles’ quarterback Brenden Lytle passed to Devon Tippmann in a 1st and goal situation. This time the extra-points kick failed, and the Panthers fell behind 14-0. That was the score on the board as fourth quarter action began. A St. Charles kick at the end of the third quarter pinned St. Vincent at its own 3-yard line, with little breathing room.

As the fourth quarter resumed Devon Tippmann again made a stellar play by tackling a Panther in the end zone, forcing a safety and kicking the score up to 16-0. The Cardinals had grabbed the momentum. Two more touchdowns in the fourth and what started as a nail-biter became another “W” for the mighty Cardinals. Fourth quarter scores came at 3:47 to go, with a Devon Tippmann running touchdown; an extra-points kick made it 24-0. Amir Drew joined the scoring column on a 61-yard running touchdown with 1:54 to go, running the score to 30-0 and sealing the victory for St. Charles, which again proved its dominance in the CYO football league. St. Charles finishes the regular season with a perfect 6-0 record and positions itself as the upcoming tournament favorite.

During 2 p.m. action, the 1-4 Central Catholic Irish tried to repeat a victory over the winless CYO Knights. This was a rematch of the week three showdown in which CC showed solid play in a 12-7 victory over the Knights. Star performer in this game was the Knights’ Anthony Ventruella, who had two touchdown runs early in the second and fourth quarters, including a fourth quarter scamper of 50 yards. The 14-0 final score gave the Knights their first victory of the season and included some improved performance at both ends of the field. The Knights were especially impressive, with a good drive in the late first quarter and early second period of action. Regular season won-loss records for the four CYO teams places St. Charles on top at 6-0, St. Vincent at 4-2, and Central Catholic and the Knights both at 1-5. Tournament action begins next week at the University of Saint Francis.


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