Walsh Jesuit made its longest trip of the year Friday to Hamburg, New York, to take on St. Francis
The long trip yielded a long evening for the Warriors.
The Red Raiders returned the opening kickoff 80 yards on a reverse for a touchdown Sept. 20, putting visiting Walsh Jesuit behind the eight ball before the Warriors even touched the football.
Walsh went on to lose 35-7, dropping to 0-4 on the season.
The visitors trailed 13-0 after one quarter, but then Warriors senior quarterback Cameron Mayes pulled his team within 13-7 in the second quarter on a 2-yard touchdown run. But by halftime, St. Francis extended its lead to 26-7. In the fourth quarter, the Red Raiders scored the final nine points of the game.
"St. Francis has a good quarterback and they’re well coached," Walsh head coach Nick Alexander said. "They have a two-platoon system where nobody goes both ways. They had three drives in the first half where they took it to us a little bit. We made the long bus trip, and we didn’t come prepared enough, but we never really felt out of it.
"They brought a lot of pressure on defense, but we came out in the second half and moved the ball. We got down to their 1-yard line twice but came away with no points."
Mayes was 11-for-21 for 105 yards. He was sacked four times. He got injured in the third quarter.
"Cam is very tough. We wouldn’t be in any game without him playing quarterback for us," said Alexander. "We didn’t protect him as well as we could’ve. That led to him taking a lot of unnecessary hits, but he did a great job of standing in there and putting the team on his back."
Mayes ran the ball 15 times but for only 7 yards.
"I have to find better ways for us to move the football without it just being circled around No. 7," Alexander said. "Cam is doing everything he can, but we have to try to keep him healthy."
And that was not the case. Mayes was injured in the third quarter. He was replaced by junior Jake Campagna, who was 6-of-16 for 74 yards. He was sacked five times.
"A lot of Jake’s sacks were from holding onto the ball too long," said the coach. "He just needed to pull the trigger, but he got better as the game went on."
Sophomore wide receiver Christian Ochei had three receptions for 50 yards.
"Christian got an opportunity to come in and get some reps, and he took full advantage of it," Alexander said. "It was a coming out party for him. We’ve seen it every day in practice. It was really good for him to put it on display."
Junior wide receiver Dom Grguric had three receptions for 41 yards, while junior receiver Ben Ligan had three catches for 38 yards.
"Dom has been a go-to for us," said Alexander. "He’s had at least three catches in every game. He’s a great target.
"Ben has been working hard to earn a spot on the outside. He’s growing into his own and is definitely improving each week."
Senior wide receiver Nick Reilman had four receptions for 20 yards, and sophomore receiver Josh Campagna caught three passes for 17 yards.
Sophomore running back Leshon Crenshaw had three rushes for 49 yards.
Defensively, Walsh had seven sacks, most of them in the second half. Sophomore linebacker Kasey Kish led the way with 11 tackles, while junior middle linebacker Bobby Perebzak recorded nine tackles.
"Bobby and Kasey just played hard every play," Alexander said. "That’s something that separates them from everybody else on the field. They never take a play off. They go hard. You can always find them around the football."
Walsh is scheduled to play at Cleveland Heights Friday at 7 p.m. The Warriors are set to open North Coast League Blue Division play at Mentor Lake Catholic Oct. 5 at 7 p.m.