MILTON-FREEWATER — The DeSales defense limited the Mac-Hi ground game to 85 yards rushing over the first three periods here Friday night at Shockman Field in non-conference football action.
Meanwhile, the Irish got two passing touchdowns and two rushing TDs from Pat Richard as DeSales came away with a 26-0 win over the Pioneers.
"I was extremely proud of our defense," Irish coach Pat Graham said. "We had some tremendous efforts out there. You wouldn’t think you could get that much better in a five-day span (since last weekend’s 20-0 loss to La Salle). That’s a tribute to those kids and their coachability, determination and work ethic. Mac-Hi is a very physical team and our kids stepped up and matched their physicality."
The Pioneers gave up three big plays as DeSales scored on a 26-yard pass, a 48-yard run and a 27-yard run. And other than a drive to end the first half and another on their first possession of the second half, Mac-Hi never got its offense untracked.
"We didn’t play to our fullest potential," Mac-Hi coach Chuck Pease said. "We made some crucial errors. DeSales has a good program and we had to shut down their passing game. We didn’t do that (219 yards and two TDs)."
The Pioneers missed a wide open Kendall Brown on an out-and-go pattern on a third-and-six on their opening possession. DeSales took over after the first of Zach Conlee’s seven punts went for 37 yards. Conlee ended with an average of just over 32 yards for those seven punts.
The Irish went to work from their own 36 and Richard connected with Mike Matthews for 31 yards on the second play from scrimmage to set up a Richard-to-Ryan Rea 26-yard scoring pass to culminate a 64-yard drive in five plays. Victor Mata, following a procedure penalty, added the 25-yard PAT and the Irish had the lead for good at 7-0 with 8:05 left in the first.
"We wanted to get on the board as last week we got shut out," Graham said of the early Irish score. "One of our goals was to come out fast and get on the board quickly. We were able to do that. It was a big momentum (boost) for us to start the game."
A 16-yard Richard-to-Nick Wales completion highlighted a 44-yard, 10-play Irish drive to open the second period. A 10-yard pass from Richard to Rea capped the drive and the Irish led 13-0 with 8:02 left in the half.
Both clubs exchanged interceptions as Brown picked off a Richard pass at the Pioneer 19 and Ryan Baumgart returned the favor with a pick of his own at Jake Knight’s expense.
Richard then broke a 48-yard run to paydirt to put the Irish up 19-0 at the break. Mata preserved that lead by forcing a Mac-Hi fumble at the Irish 30-yard line with 19 seconds on the clock. Pat Sharkey was credited with the fumble recovery.
"We had a few things that fell apart," Pease said. "We’re just learning what we’ve gotta do and how to work together."
The Pioneers started their first drive of the second half from their own 13. Patrick Sheets hit Brown for 18 yards, Willie McCoy had a 17-yard gallop sandwiched between two 3-yard runs, and the Pioneers moved to the Irish 44.
The Irish defense and a holding penalty ended the Pioneer threat.
The Irish went 52 yards on their last third-quarter possession. A Richard-to-Tommy Gregg pass for 10, and an 11-yard gain by Kyle Lindgren set up Richard’s 27-yard TD run for a 26-0 Irish lead after three.
Brown ran for 67 yards in the fourth quarter, but it was too little too late. Brown finished with 120 yards on 20 carries.
"We made a lot of improvements," Pease said of the Pioneer effort. "We’ll continue to build off of this. We’ll come through."
The Irish got 141 yards on 11 carries from Richard and produced 417 yards of total offense in improving to 1-1 on the year, but they were flagged 13 times for 106 penalty yards.
"That (the penalties) just shows we’re not quite there yet," Graham said. "We’re getting better, but we still have execution errors. We’ll continue to work."
The Pioneers and the Irish face tough road tests Friday. The Pioneers travel to Pilot Rock and the Irish go to Colfax.
DeSales 7 12 7 0— 26
Mac-Hi 0 0 0 0— 0
DeS — Rea 26 pass from Richard (Mata kick).
DeS — Rea 10 pass from Richard (kick failed).
DeS – Richard 48 run (pass failed).
DeS – Richard 27 run (Mata kick).
First downs 12 10
Rushes/yards 25-219 34-179
Passing yards 198 51
Passes (att-comp-int) 30-17-1 12-5-1
Punts 4-32.5 7-32.1
Fumbles-lost 1-0 3-2
Penalties-yards 13-106 6-41
RUSHING — DeSales: Lindgren 10-74, Richard 11-141, Wales 2-6, Mata 2-(-2); Mac-Hi: Brown 20-120, Watts 7-14, Knight 6-24, McCoy 9-31, Sheets 2-(-10).
PASSING — DeSales: Richard 17-30-1 198 yards 2 TDs; Mac-Hi: Knight 2-5-1 31 yards; Sheets 3-7-0 20 yards.
RECEIVING — DeSales: Matthews 1-31, Gregg 4-23, Rea 3-44-2, Lindgren 1-4, Wales 6-87, K. Konen 1-4, D. Solomon 1-5; Mac-Hi: Watts 1-9, Field 1-31, Saldana 1-0, Brown 2-11.