Ursuline falls to St. Edward 20-7
By Matthew Peaslee
Lakewood St. Edward and Ursuline are nearly perfect complements of each other. Both schools have a long-standing football tradition in Northeast Ohio and each are reigning state champions.
Their hard-nose running style of offensive was similar on Friday, too, but the Eagles just created a few more opportunites in a 20-7 victory on Friday night at Stambaugh Stadium. The No. 1-ranked team in Division I totaled 184 yards on the ground, while the Irish ended with 64.
“In our mind we try to focus on the other team’s weakness while taking advantage of our strengths,” St. Ed’s coach Rick Finotti said. “For a while our strength was running, tonight, and we needed to try to slow them down.”
UHS coach Dan Reardon liked his team’s aggression on defense. The Irish played well up front but the speed of 5-foot-5 running back Dwayne Aaron and an offensive line that averages just under 300 pounds was just too powerful. Aaron ran the ball 35 times for 155 yards.
“We didn’t change much of what we do defensively,” Reardon said. “We run to the football, we tackle, we line up to formations and that’s what we stressed all week long and I think we did a pretty good job of that.” But the eight-year Irish coach may have summed it up best: “We never just play for moral victories, we came here to win tonight.”
An 11-play, 69-yard drive, that featured 10 running plays, got the Eagles on the board first. They scored again on their first possession in the second half. Again, a solid running attack made it easy to move the ball.
“He’s been getting better and better every year and it’s great to have a guy like him out there,” quarterback Ryan Fallon said of Aaron, his partner in the backfield.
Ursuline was churning out its running attack, as well. After a solid defensive hold forced the Eagles to punt from the back of their own end zone, the Irish got on the board with a 40-yard drive to start the fourth quarter.
Their biggest play of the possession when quarterback Chris Durkin kept a drive alive by finding a seam and scooting for 15 yards, setting up a Jesse Curry rushing touchdown.
“Our quarterback has always been a part of our offensive gameplan, from a running standpoint, and you saw a little bit of that tonight,” Reardon said.
Curry would finish the game with 57 yards on 16 carries.
St. Edward held the Irish to just 84 total yards. They did earn seven first downs, but were hard-pressed to establish an offensive rhythm.
“At times it was execution on our part and at times it was their talent pressuring us,” Reardon said. “They’re ranked No. 1 for a reason.”