Saturday, September 23, 2017 1:00 am
Dwenger 27 Concordia 0
Saints shut out, surprise Cadets
6 interceptions by defense lead to rout
MARK SCHUTTE | For The Journal Gazette
Bishop Dwenger coach Chris Svarczkopf could not speak to reporters Friday night because of what he termed a “gag order,” leaving it to his assistants to do his talking.
Perhaps Svarczkopf, a veteran of 15 years as coach and countless Friday nights, knew he would be hard-pressed to explain his team's 27-0 drubbing of Concordia on Friday night at the Zollner Stadium turf shared by both schools.
After all, how could he explain how his Saints (4-2, 4-2 SAC) bounced back a week after falling a yard short of a last-second rally in a 28-24 loss to Carroll?
How could he explain the play of sophomore quarterback Patrick O'Keefe, who was making his first career start after being thrown in against Carroll last week when senior Eddie Morris went down with a shoulder injury?
All O'Keefe did Friday was complete 10 of 16 passes for 132 yards and a touchdown.
How could Svarczkopf explain how his team shut out Concordia – the first time the Cadets have been blanked since 2012?
Especially since the Cadets (3-3, 3-3) were coming off impressive victories over Bishop Luers and Northrop and were starting a run that mirrored the early streak it had en route to a 13-2 record and Class 3A state title a year ago.
What's more, how could he explain the six interceptions the Saints' defense snagged against Concordia junior Jake Byrd, who struggled all night in completing 7 of 33 passes for 92 yards, including a string of 14 straight incompletions in the first half?
Concordia coach Tim Mannigel said his team was coming off probably its best week of practice this season.
“Welcome to high school athletics,'' Mannigel tried to, well, explain. “It was just off, the whole thing was off. Didn't really see that coming.
“I don't know. I'll have to watch the film. It's tough to make a snap decision, other than to say it didn't go so well for Concordia.”
Things did not go well for the Cadets from the start as Dwenger sophomore Patrick Finley picked off Byrd on the opening possession and ran 50 yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead.
Finley and junior Sam Obergfell each had two interceptions.
O'Keefe made it 17-0 at the end of the first quarter when he found Jordan Hudson on a quick screen, and Hudson then broke four tackles and raced 30 yards for a touchdown.
Hudson, playing for the first time since the season opener against Wayne, ran for 52 yards on 12 carries to go with 42 yards and a touchdown from senior Chip Clark. The two established a running game that made O'Keefe's job that much easier.
“One of the things we all appreciate about Patrick is he's very poised,” said Jason Garrett, Dwenger's offensive coordinator.
“He's what I like to call a very gritty young man. He grew up really fast last week. He handled himself wonderful and that led us into the week.
“We wanted to run the ball, and we had some success with that early, then try to get him some passes and set up some confidence for him. He made some outstanding decisions.”