Article: Scoring comes easy for NDCL in commanding win over Padua
Well, when a team scores 56 unanswered points, it's somewhat difficult to lose.
Padua Senior Nathan Kaszei blocked a NDCL punt, which was recovered by fellow Bruin Senior Mike Roder to give Padua a 14-7 lead with 5:54 remaining in the 1st Quarter.
After that, it was all NDCL. The Lions, led by Seniors Robbie Nash and Nick Evans scored 56 straight points to end the game, taking the North Coast League contest played at North Royalton's Serpentini Chevrolet Stadium, 63-14.
"We didn't play that great in the 1st Half," said Nash, who threw for 246 yards on completing 11 of 23 passes. "We didn't play as well as we know we can. But we came out in the 2nd Half and executed our game plan."
After Padua took the lead, Evans answered immediately with his first of three touchdowns, a 19 yard scamper to tie things up. Senior Anthony Varcelli intercepted a pass on the ensuing Padua drive, which ultimately led to a touchdown by Nash on a quarterback sneak to put the Lions ahead.
Minutes later, Nash connected with Senior Gary LaBanc for a 17 yard touchdown to increase the Lion lead to 28-14. Padua fumbled on their first play from scrimmage, and NDCL took advantage as Evans found the end zone again on a seven yard touchdown run. At halftime, Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin led 34-14.
"Our line blocked really well, which opened up the front," said Nash, a 6', 190lb Senior. "They gave good pass protection. I had a lot of time to throw. They created a lot of whole for the running back to run through."
The 3rd Quarter was rather ugly, as the teams combined for five punts and no scoring. The Lions quickly changed that to start the 4th Quarter, as Nash connected with Evans for a 50 yard touchdown less than a minute in. Keeping up with the scoring, NDCL capitalized on two more Bruin fumbles as Senior Carl Blatnik had a 58 yard rushing touchdown and Sophomore Kris Oliver had a four yard score of his own. Sophomore Thomas McKiernan put the finishing touches on the romp with a five yard touchdown run with just thirty-nine seconds on the clock.
Evans finished with 108 yards on the ground and 122 receiving yards, along with three touchdowns. Senior AJ Branisel caught four passes from Nash for 55 yards.
Padua lost four fumbles on the evening, in addition to throwing two interceptions, all at costly times in the game.
"You can see a difference in a 7-2 team and a 2-7 team tonight," said Padua Head Coach Tony Shuman. "There was a landslide of big plays towards their side. They have some good players, and they're well-coached. We have good players and are well-coached, but they made some key plays in some key moments."
Shuman, in his seventh year coaching his alma mater, also highlighted how many younger players stepped up, as the Bruins were missing three starters due to injury.
"We had a lot of guys step up tonight with some injuries over the course of the season on this past week," said Shuman. "Nobody hung their head. We had a lot of guys taking big snaps for the first time. It's weird to say in a game where the scoreboard looks like that, but boy am i proud of the effort."
Padua Senior Nick Mog ran the ball 13 times for 118 yards and a 19 yard first quarter touchdown. Junior Danny Schmock intercepted a pass for the Bruins, and Seniors Devon Greer, Brandon Sforzo, Alex Arnst, and Kaszei were all key figures on defense.
NDCL improves to 7-2 on the year, 4-0 in the North Coast League. They now take on Lake Catholic next Friday at home in a battle for the NCL title.
Padua drops a 2-7 on the year, 0-4 in the highly competitive NCL. They wrap up the season with a home contest against the Bengals of Benedictine next Friday night. Kickoff is at 7pm.