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The Journal Gazette

  • Bishop Dwenger running back Devon Tippmann shakes an attempted tackle by Homestead's Cole Etchison during the first quarter Friday night at Homestead. (Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette)

Saturday, September 08, 2018 1:00 am

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: WEEK 4 Bishop Dwenger 23 Homestead 10

Dwenger stays unbeaten in SAC

Saints stay on ground to outlast Homestead

VICTORIA JACOBSEN | The Journal Gazette

For one more week, at least, the SAC can claim one undefeated team.

As the final seconds ticked off at Homestead, Bishop Dwenger players streamed off the sidelines to celebrate a 23-10 victory Friday that, to them, felt like an upset.

“We challenged them to have fun tonight,” Saints coach Jason Garrett said. “We challenge them with those kinds of things, always play as hard as you can. And the other part of it is, they knew they were the underdogs. And I think they had a little something in regard to that on their minds.”

The Saints (4-0) came in with the undefeated record – the only one left in the SAC – and the No. 1 ranking in the Class 4A AP Media Poll. The Spartans (2-2) came in knowing they won the matchup 42-0 last year, and were itching to rebound after a narrow loss at Bishop Luers last week.

The Saints' offense did not break out until late in the third quarter, when T.J. Tippmann carried the ball five consecutive plays before Hayden Ellinger broke away with a 41-yard carry. Tippmann ran 5-yards into the end zone on the next play to put Bishop Dwenger ahead 13-10 after the extra point. Michael Garrett made a 41-yard field goal and Tippmann scored again on a 17-yard run, this time after the game was well in hand.

Bishop Dwenger had 216 rushing yards and just 16 passing yards, and scored 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter. And it came with almost no big gains or flashy plays. 

“I'm super proud of that,” Tippmann said. “I love that identity. It shows our togetherness and our toughness and that we had to fight the whole time.”

For the first half, the two sides battled to a near stalemate. Bishop Dwenger used up nearly half of the first quarter with a slow, relentless drive that culminated in a Garrett field goal. Homestead used the rest of the quarter to return the favor and tie the game at 3.

The Saints threatened to score again late in the second quarter when they started a series on the Homestead 16-yard line, but Tahj Wilson broke up a pass attempt by quarterback Patrick O'Keefe and Nik Martin nearly made an interception on the next play, so Bishop Dwenger settled for a 24-yard field goal and a 6-3 halftime lead. 

Midway through the third quarter, it seemed as if the Homestead offense might finally be open for business. Facing fourth and seven, Spartans quarterback Jake Archbold heaved the ball to Trevin Taylor for a 13-yard gain and a first down. On the next play, Archbold targeted Taylor in the end zone, and the rangy wide receiver grappled with a Bishop Dwenger defender and came down with the ball to give Homestead its first lead, 10-6.

Homestead seemed to have all the momentum as the defense forced a three-and-out on the ensuing Saints drive and Archbold then found Taylor for another big play, this time a 21-yard pass. But that gain was largely erased when Archbold was tackled for a 15-yard loss on the next play.

It was just one in a full highlight reel of devastating hits to the Spartans, whose two quarterbacks were ultimately sacked six times for a loss of 60 yards, including two consecutive takedowns of Archbold when the Homestead was down by 6 points in the fourth quarter.

“That's one of our signatures, we love to be known for hitting,” Tippman said. “That's what we came into this game saying.”

Jason Garrett said the win was a perfect example of the physical, relentless style of football that Bishop Dwenger embraces.  

“We run the ball, play physical in the trenches, and then hit,” Garrett said. “It is a tradition that's in its 53rd year. We love to hit, it's an expectation for our guys. ... That's what we strive to do.”