The Walsh Jesuit football team played well enough to win their only game of the season – but only for three-and-half quarters.
The Warriors led North Coast League Blue Division rival Cleveland Benedictine 19-10 in the third quarter, and trailed just 25-19 in the fourth quarter, before losing 40-19 in their season finale Friday at Bedford High School.
Walsh finished 0-10 overall and 0-5 in the Blue Division.
"We played three-and-a-half quarters of pretty darn good football," said Walsh interim head coach Andy Thomas. "The wheels actually started coming off in the third quarter. We missed some tackles and made mistakes. We lost the ball a couple times on fumbles."
Benedictine took a 7-0 first-quarter lead when Nicholas Demchuk completed a 46-yard touchdown pass to Devon Fox.
Walsh tied the score in the second quarter on a 33-yard scoring strike from junior quarterback Cameron Mayes to senior wide receiver Tevin Watkins.
"It was a slant pattern over the middle," said Thomas. "Tevin has been open on that same route on a number of occasions. It was a great pass. Tevin broke a tackle when he caught the ball and then made a move to his left and outraced the defenders."
A 41-yard field goal put Benedictine ahead 10-7, but a 6-yard sideline touchdown pass from Mayes to sophomore wide receiver Bailey Russ gave Walsh a 13-10 halftime lead.
"It was a great play," Thomas said. "Bailey can catch the ball."
The Warriors increased their lead to 19-10 in the third quarter when senior running back Tommy Cummings raced for a 25-yard touchdown.
"Tommy is a player. He played his butt off the entire game," said the coach. "There were a couple times when he was injured and probably should’ve come out of the game, but he said he was fine. He did not want to come out. He made some big plays for us."
Benedictine pulled within 19-17 after three quarters when Tristan Cotter returned a punt 43 yards for a touchdown.
The Bengals took a 23-19 lead on a 43-yard touchdown pass from Demchuk to Cotter.
After a safety upped the Benedictine lead to 25-19, Demchuk hit Fox on an 18-yard touchdown pass for a 33-19 advantage.
A 2-yard touchdown run accounted for the final points of the game.
Mayes was 11-of-19 for 95 yards. He ran the ball 13 times for 23 yards.
"Cameron is a darn good quarterback when he sticks in the pocket," said Thomas. "He made some plays throwing the ball, and he made some plays running the ball."
Cummings had 32 rushes for a career-high 162 yards, including a 37-yarder.
"Tommy was finding the holes and making people miss," Thomas said. "He was running with some abandon."
Watkins had four receptions for 46 yards.
"When Tevin gets the ball, he makes things happen," said Thomas. "He’s got some good speed, and he can catch the ball."
Russ had two catches for 19 yards.
Sophomore defensive end Bobby Perebzak had five tackles, including three for a loss. He also had a sack.
"Bobby is a player," Thomas said. "He’s going to get bigger, and he’s got a motor that doesn’t stop. He just goes after it. He’s going to be a good one."
Senior defensive tackle Colin Norton and sophomore defensive end Tyler Capron both had four tackles. Two of Norton’s were for a loss, and he also recorded a sack.
"Colin did a nice job getting some penetration," said Thomas. "He’s hard to block. He’s going to go and go and go until he has to come out.
"Tyler goes up against players who are bigger than him all the time, but he holds his own. He’s a real solid technique guy. He understands what he has to do to be successful. He plays very hard, too."
According to Thomas, the first four games set the tone for the season.
"We could’ve very easily been 3-1," he said. "There were just a couple plays in each of those four losses that could’ve gone our way but didn’t. I think if we would’ve come out of Week 4 (at) 3-1, it would’ve been a completely different scenario for everyone – the players, the coaches and the mindset. But it just didn’t go our way.
"Then things started to snowball the further we went. We made some good plays, but unfortunately there were probably two bad plays for every good one. And you just can’t win like that.
"The kids played hard the whole season, though. They didn’t give up."