BREWSTER - DeSales scored on its first five possessions in first-round state 2B football playoff action Saturday afternoon.
The Irish built an insurmountable 26-0 halftime lead over Brewster and moved into the quarterfinals with a 33-7 win over the Bears. The Bears finish 9-2 on the year, and DeSales takes an 8-2 mark into the quarters against Waitsburg-Prescott, which defeated Oroville Saturday night. That game will be played Friday or Saturday at a time and place to be determined.
The Irish welcomed Kyle Lindgren back from injury - and from the first time the senior running back touched the ball, DeSales was set. On the Irish's second play from scrimmage, he broke a 22-yard run, drew a 15-yard penalty on the Bears and put the Irish in business at the Brewster 38.
"It was great to have Kyle back," Irish coach Pat Graham said. "Kyle ran very hard. He did some good things. We tried to use him sparingly because he isn't quite 100 percent. When he was in there, he looked good."
The opening Irish drive stalled at the Bear 12, but Vic Mata booted home a 29-yard field goal and the Irish took a lead they would not relinquish at 3-0 with 8:37 to play in the first.
The Irish started their second possession at their own 37 and marched 63 yards in 11 plays as Lindgren pounded it in from the one and DeSales led 10-0 with :38 to go in the first. Lindgren ran for 37 yards on the drive and finished with 109 rushing yards for the game, and Dan Solomon caught a first down-producing nine-yard pass from Jeremiah Cox to highlight the drive.
Following a Spencer Cordeiro recovery of a Bear fumble, Mata added his second field goal, this one from 33 yards, to cap the Irish third possession. Cox struck on a 52-yard scoring pass to Mike Matthews on the fourth Irish possession.
DeSales took advantage of a pass interference penalty on the Bears to jump-start its fifth possession. Ryan Baumgart hauled in a nine-yard pass from Cox for an Irish first down on a third-and-six at the Bear 26. Tommy Gregg pulled in a two-yard scoring pass from Cox and DeSales took a 26-0 lead to intermission.
"We played well at times, especially in the first half," Graham said. "It was a long road trip. It would've been easy to get caught up in a lot of the distractions. Our kids handled it really well."
The Irish, behind its offensive line, rolled up 262 yards of total offense over the first half. The line allowed no sacks as the Irish dominated the Bear defense.
"They (Brewster) came out in a different front than we expected," Irish center Kincaid Schmitz said. "We stayed true to what we do, and didn't let it frazzle us. We just kept after it and stuck with the offense. Across the board, our guys came out with their heads clear and did well."
The Bears had a response to open the second half. Taking the second-half kick off at their own 22, the Bears marched 78 yards in 14 plays, all on the ground, and used up seven minutes of game clock. Quarterback Easton Driessen snuck in from the one to narrow the Irish lead to 26-7.
The Irish ran five plays from scrimmage and turned the ball over on a fumble and an interception in the third period.
The Irish defense came up with a Gregg interception and a Mata strip and recovery to offset their own miscues and escape the third, still up 26-7.
"They came out in the second half and played harder than we did," Graham said. "We have to finish and maintain our focus even when we have the lead. If you give a good team momentum, it's going to be hard to steal it back. They got the momentum in the third quarter. We were able to withstand their push. (But) we've got to go out and close the door on teams."
The Irish ‘withstood' and Cox hit Matthews on a 38-yard post pattern to make it 33-7 with 5:39 to play.
Following a Joe Duehn interception, the Irish got the ball back at their 34 with 4:48 left and turned the game over to Luke Fazzari and their offensive line.
Fazzari carried six consecutive times for 27 yards as DeSales ran out the clock.
"It's always fun to just go after it," Schmitz said of the Irish ball control. "It's the most fun part of the game, as you know it's all on you (the line) and you have a chance to put it away."
The line gave up two sacks but allowed Cox to throw for 183 yard and three TDs, but Schmitz knows the Irish can get better as they prepare for their quarterfinal match.
"Overall, it (the line play) was good," the senior co-captain said. "There are things that I can think of in my head that we need to work on."
DeSales 10 16 0 7 - 33
Brewster 0 0 7 0 - 7
DeS - Mata 29 FG.
DeS - Lindgren 1 run (Mata kick).
DeS - Mata 33 FG.
DeS - Matthews 52 pass from Cox (kick failed).
DeS - Gregg 2 pass from Cox (Mata kick).
Brewster - Driessen 1 run (Ramirez kick).
DeS - Matthews 38 pass from Cox (Mata kick).
First Downs 18 9
Rushing 35-174 39-140
Passing Yards 183 59
Passes (a-c-i) 25-16-1 14-4-2
Punts 1-47.0 5-23.8
Fumbles 2-1 5-2
Penalties 9-55 6-60
Rushing - DeS: Lindgren 17-109-1, Fazzari 12-50, Cox 5-16, Team 1-(-1); Brewster: C. Squires 19-84, Driessen 14-16-1, Pio 6-40.
Passing - DeS: Cox 16-25-1 183 yards 3 TDs; Brewster: Driessen 4-14-2 59 yards 0 TDs.
Receiving - DeS: Gregg 6-33-1, Lindgren 2-6, D. Solomon 2-15, Baumgart 2-19, Matthews 3-105-2, Wales 1-5; Brewster: Wengel 3-51, Naranjo 1-8.