Sports: Bears Grab Close Victory Over St. Ignatius
The Bears looked strong on Friday, beating the formidable Saint Ignatius 21-16 at Coach Parks Field.
The Bears fell behind quickly to start when SI's first drive after receiving the kick-off resulted in a field goal to put them up 3-0 almost immediately.
The next few drives were unsuccessful for both teams, until a daring 4th down play by the Bears resulted in a turnover. SI took advantage of the mistake and drove the ball back down field to the goal line. On what would have been a scoring pass, senior Spiro Papadakis intercepted the SI pass to prevent the touchdown. M-A, determined to put numbers on the board in the first quarter, handed the ball off to senior Isaiah Nash who split the SI defense and scored from the Bear's own 20.
SI had possession at the beginning of the 2nd quarter, and slowly drove down the field, ultimately scoring to put them ahead 7-10. M-A, however, responded with an amazing display of offensive power marching down the field in the final minutes of the 2nd quarter. With only seconds left in the half, quarterback Brian Keare threw an out-of-pocket pass to Nash to put M-A up 14-10. The play shed some light on the capabilities of this year's talented football team and capabilities of Keare, as well as giving them the momentum heading into an eventful second half.
The Bears held possession at the beginning of the second half, but were forced to punt mid-way through their drive. SI quickly went 3-and-out to give the Bears possession with plenty of time left in the quarter.
Again, the Bears had several amazing plays to drive them down the field, including a 15 yard pass to senior Ryan Roberts that landed the squad in the red zone. They were set back by several penalties resulting in 1st and long for the Bears. Having failed to convert on 3rd down, junior Cole Shaffer was called out to attempt a field goal, but was blocked by a SI defender. Thus, SI began their possession on what was practically their own goal line. After several run plays for little to no gain, SI attempted to air one out, only to be intercepted by senior Thomas Johnson (3rd of the season) on SI's own 35.
The exciting 4th quarter began with a huge catch by Papadakis on the goal line after a solid drive back into the red zone. This time, however, the Bears weren't content to settle with 3 points. For the next play, the ball was handed off to Nash who scored his third and final touchdown of the game, putting M-A up 21-10.
SI, intent on responding, strung together several pass plays, each for medium gain that landed them within reach of the endzone. In what would have been another touchdown pass, Sam Stroud intercepted the ball to hand possession over to the Bears. Again, all eyes shifted to the M-A offense, who put on another show for the crowd with a huge 70 yard pass completion to Oliver Bucka from Keare to put them on SI's 25 yard line. The Bears could only be stopped at SI's goal line on a failed 4th down conversion.
The final 3 minutes of the 4th quarter were as eventful as any, beginning with a huge defensive stop by the Bears, led by senior Brain Jaggers who had a key tackle for a loss that forced SI to punt. On the punt-play, the ball was snapped over Papadakis' head. Papadakis retrieved the ball, scrambled to find a place to kick, and booted the ball off the arm of an SI defender: 1st down Saint Ignatius on M-A's own 25. SI scored on one of the several following plays, but failed to convert for two points, so the scored rested at 21-16.
In the final 2 minutes of the half, SI attempted an onside kick, and recovered. It was up to the Bears' defense to preserve their lead, and they did with a massive defensive stop coupled with several crippling penalties against SI. The game ended 21-16 in favor of the Bears.
The Bears play Silver Creek High School at home next Saturday and look forward to another great game.