Walsh Jesuit routs VA-SJ for 3-0 start to football season

Steve Batko

It was a competitive football game for a bit, but Walsh Jesuit’s red-hot team easily beat Cleveland Villa Angela-St. Joseph 56-6 at Sparky DiBiasio Stadium.

The win gave the Warriors its first 3-0 start in a decade as Walsh kicked off 2010 with a 3-0 mark.

On the flip side of lopsided games in recent years as the program was in a building mode, Walsh also showed how to win with class against the banged-up Vikings (0-3), which could not slow the running attack of Walsh.

Exploding for 406 yards rushing on 34 attempts, the Warriors are fulfilling their offseason quest to improve the ground game.

Walsh wasn’t to be stopped in the Sept. 19 win in Euclid.

First-year Walsh running back Will Rumple had his best day as a Warrior as the junior transfer from Lakewood St. Edward ran for 172 yards and a career-high five touchdowns on 15 carries.

Rumple had TD runs of 3 yards, 39 yards, 1 yard, 39 yards, and 7 yards.

“Will has done a great job coming in and working hard,” proclaimed coach Nicholas Alexander. “He is able to run behind his pads when needed, but also has the speed to run away from people in the open field.”

Five-foot-5 speedster Leshon Crenshaw added 101 yards as the veteran junior had a 1-yard TD on just 10 carries.

“Leshon had a great game blocking and running the ball,” noted Alexander. “He is more elusive than Rumple and does a good job running and catching the ball. He is a true speed back that knows all of his routes and is an asset in the pass game as well.”

An all-purpose threat who can help on special teams and in the return game, if called upon, Crenshaw had one of his finest outings.

“Leshon has not returned kicks yet this year, but he is our next guy up when Dom Grguric is out,” said the Warrior coach.

For now, the return game is set with Grguric, a senior, and sophomore wide receiver Tre Bell.

Alexander was fired up to get George Granchi some touches. A reserve running back and linebacker, Granchi responded as he had a career high 80 yards rushing on three carries.

“It was great to see George get carries,” said the mentor. “He is a senior that works extremely hard.”

“George was injured all last season, so to see him take advantage of his opportunities was great to see. I couldn't be happier for him.”

The Walsh staff continues to be pleased with the offensive line.

In trenches for the Warriors are senior David Wohlabaugh, who was stationed at left tackle, with senior Nathan Boggs at right tackle, junior Dom Fallon at right guard, junior Joe DeAngelis at center, and sophomore Dom Bernard at left guard.

When VASJ (0-4) had possession, the Vikings had a difficult task creating running lanes and a ground attack against a swarming Warriors defense and also protecting senior QB Kevin Eiseman.

VASJ totaled 90 yards in the game.

“It was a great defensive performance,” pointed out Alexander. “Some of the top defensive players were Drew Erdmann, Charlie Klug, Bobby Perebzak and Connor Thomas.”

Walsh cruised to a 35-0 lead in the second quarter after four touchdown runs by Rumple and a 28-yard scoring run by the versatile Grguric.

The host Warriors hope to use momentum against their toughest foe of the season thus far, Mentor Lake Catholic (3-1), coming Sept. 25. Walsh will honor its senior class in pre-game festivities.

In the win against VASJ, Walsh junior quarterback Matt Natale didn’t have to go to the air often as he was 3 of 7 passing for 37 yards.

Viking defender Noah Clarke picked off a Natale pass on Walsh’s first play from scrimmage.

Alexander had some coaching points for his troops as VASJ also had a textbook 10-play, 80-yard scoring drive just before halftime.

Jordan Dean made an acrobatic leaping catch in the back of the end zone on Eiseman’s 27-yard scoring toss to get the Vikings on the score board with just eight ticks left in the first half.

Eiseman is no slouch as the 6-foot-4 standout amassed over 2,400 passing yards last year and 31 total TDs. He is mentored by second-year VASJ coach Elvis Grbac, a former NFL signal caller.

For Walsh, junior QB Scott Kean added 29 yards passing as he completed 3 of 5 tosses.

“All three quarterbacks played,” said a pleased Alexander. “The youngest of the three, Ryan Kerscher, was able to make the most of his time by getting his first varsity touchdown on a great run.”

Alexander knew it would be hard to replace three-year starter Cameron Mayes, who holds a couple of school records, but the position has become deep in a short time.

“These quarterbacks are a close group and all support each other,” added Alexander. “Coach (Anthony) Moeglin has done a great job with all of them.”

Kerscher, a 6-0 sophomore, added three carries for 20 yards and his first varsity score. Sophomore Ryan Holcomb had one carry for three yards.

A trio of junior receivers had catches for Walsh — Kenyon Marshall had two catches for 18 yards, Josh Campagna had a catch for 19 yards, and Christian Ochei had a 16-yard reception.

Marshall also showed his value as a blocker on the perimeter as he sustained blocks on a host of big runs.

Veteran senior wideout Ben Ligan had one catch for five yards and Crenshaw had a catch for eight yards. First-year starting placekicker Cooper Kirda had a solid outing as the sophomore was perfect on all of his extra points.