PASCO - DeSales took a 2-point conversion in the fourth quarter and Tri-Cities Prep failed in its fourth-quarter attempt.
That was the difference at Chiawana High School Friday in the first Holy Bowl as the Irish held off the Jaguars for a 22-20 Southeast 2B football win.
"That was a battle," DeSales coach Pat Graham said. "They've got a very good football team."
Evan Whitsett, who threw for 291 yards for T-C Prep, connected with Troy Redmann on a 10-yard scoring pass - following Kevin Daly's second interception of the game - with nine minutes left in the third quarter. Chase Castona kicked the point-after and the Jaguars and Irish were deadlocked at 14-14.
T-C Prep's fake punt on fourth-and-10 from the Irish 41 with 2:15 to go in the third misfired as DeSales' Joe Duehn picked off Jaguar punter Jameson Pedersen's pass at his own 21.
Duehn returned the pick 19 yards to the Irish 40, and DeSales marched to the T-C Prep 20 yard line as time expired in the third period.
Irish quarterback Jeremiah Cox, who threw for 305 yards, connected with Ryan Baumgart to the T-C Prep 4 following a delay-of-game penalty on the Irish to open the fourth quarter.
Luke Fazzari, who took over at running back Friday for the injured Kyle Lindgren, plowed in from the 4 and DeSales grabbed a 20-14 lead with 11:35 left in the game.
The Irish lined up to kick the extra point, but the Jaguars were guilty of two consecutive penalties that moved the ball to the 18-inch line. The Irish decided to go for 2, and Cox found tight end Nick Wales in the end zone for a 22-14 Irish lead.
"On the PAT, they got the first penalty, and we were still going to kick it," Graham said. "Then they got another one, and we thought, ‘Well, let's go for it.' That turned out to be the difference in the game."
The Jaguars marched to the Irish 30 with 5:30 to play. Wales picked off Whitsett at his own 21 to end the drive and give the Irish the ball at their own 25 with 5:21 to play.
Fazzari carried eight consecutive times and moved the Irish to the T-C Prep 41 with 1:50 to play, but DeSales faced a fourth-and-1. After a DeSales time out, the Irish went for it. The Jaguar defensive front rose to the task and stopped Fazzari for no gain.
"With their spread offense (and) giving them the ball with 1:50, we felt going the length of the field would not be a problem for them," Graham said of the decision. "We thought if we could get the first down, and they were out of timeouts, that would be the game right there. Our offensive line felt like we could make something happen. We were just short. It's one of the chances you take."
And the Jaguars made the Irish pay. Whitsett connected with Redmann on the first play after taking over on downs. Redmann crossed to the near sideline and raced 59 yards for the score to cut the Irish lead to 22-20 with 1:34 left.
The Jaguars had to go for 2 to tie. Whitsett rolled to his left, but Fazzari crashed in from his linebacker spot, hit Whitsett and the conversion pass fell incomplete.
Duehn won a scramble for the Jaguar ensuing onside kick, and the Irish ran out the clock for the 22-20 win.
The Jaguars scored first on a 55-yard pass from Whitsett to Redmann and led 7-0 after one quarter.
The Irish got a 61-yard catch-and-run from Wales, and Tommy Gregg hauled in a 14-yard scoring pass from Cox followed by a Fazzari run for the 2-point conversion following a T-C Prep pass interference penalty, and DeSales took a 14-7 lead to intermission.
Redmann's 10-yard scoring pass got the Jaguars even to open the third. Redmann finished with 11 catches for 221 yards and three scores.
"Redmann is an amazing football player," Graham said. "We lost track of him a couple of times in the second half and he made big plays."
The Irish defense gave up the Redmann "big plays," only got one sack - by Spencer Codeiro in the fourth quarter to thwart a Jaguar drive and force a 36-yard field goal attempt that missed - but the DeSales defense allowed just 11 net rushing yards.
"Our defense played well except for three or four plays," Graham said. "We didn't get much pressure, but their quarterback (Whitsett) is a good scrambler and we wanted to make him sit in the pocket."
On offense, the Irish lost two interceptions and a fumble, but Cox threw for 305 yards and Fazzari ran 34 times for 123 yards.
"Offensively, we've got to take better care of the football," Graham said. "You just can't do that (turn the ball over) at this time of year."
Wales led the Irish receivers with five catches for 129 yards. Gregg caught six passes for 86 yards, and the first recipient of the Henry Pope Memorial Sportsmanship Award, Baumgart, made five receptions for 76 yards.
The Irish (6-2, 4-1) host Springdale, the No. 3 seed out of District 7, Friday. The winner advances to the postseason and the loser ends its season.
DeSales 0 14 0 8 - 22
Tri-Cities Prep 7 0 7 6 - 20
TCP - Redmann 55 pass from Whitsett (Castona kick).
DeS - Wales 61 pass from Cox (Kick blocked).
DeS - Gregg 14 pass from Cox (Fazzari run).
TCP - Redmann 10 pass from Whitsett (Castona kick).
DeS - Fazzari 4 run (Wales pass from Cox).
TCP - Redmann 59 pass from Whitsett (Pass failed).
DeS T-C Prep
First downs 16 11
Rushes/yards 40-124 16-11
Passing yards 305 291
Passes (att-comp-int) 31-17-2 37-22-2
Punts 3-31.7 5-32.8
Fumbles-lost 2-1 3-0
Penalties-yards 4-37 5-28
RUSHING - DeS: Fazzari 34-123, Cox 6-1; TCP: Schmidt 10-24, Whitsett 6-(-13).
PASSING - DeS: Cox 17-30-2 305 yards 2 TDs, Mata 0-1-1 0 yards; TCP: Whitsett 22-36-1 291 yards 3 TDs, Pedersen 0-1-1 0 yards.
RECEIVING - DeS: Gregg 6-86-1, Wales 5-129-1, Fazzari 1-14, Baumgart 5-76; TCP: Pedersen 5-41, Redmann 11-221-3, Schmidt 1-21, Yakawich 3-(-4), Castona 2-12.