By Graham Henderson
Kristoffer Olugbode set the pace of the game on Bellarmine’s first play from scrimmage. After taking a handoff from quarterback Travis McHugh, the 5-foot-9 running back took the ball 84 yards downfield to put the Bells up by seven.
The Bells came out strong, scoring 14 of its points in the first quarter.
“It’s important that we got another WCAL win,” said Bellarmine head coach Mike Janda. “We stopped ourselves with fumbles and penalties. Luckily we were able to make some good plays to make up for those things.”
The Fightin’ Irish were able to recover three of Bellarmine’s four fumbles, but weren’t able to capitalize on the Bells’ mistakes.
“We can move the ball on any defense in the league,” said Sacred Heart quarterback Sean Murphy. “It’s just finishing the drives that’s the most important for actually putting points on the board.”
Murphy threw for 90 yards, going 5-for-11 passing with one interception, the Irish’s only turnover of the game. He also ran for 107 yards on 12 carries.
The other bright spot of the Sacred Heart offense was Jordan Gomes, who carried the ball 26 times for 79 yards. While he averaged only just above 3 yards per carry, his consistency was what kept the Irish offense moving forward.
But the Bellarmine defense stood its ground when it counted, keeping the Fightin’ Irish out of the end zone.
In the first half, after Sacred Heart steadily drove 49 yards in 10 plays, the Bells made an impressive stand on their own 11-yard-line that they capped off by blocking a John Harrington field goal attempt.
Later, with just 43 seconds to go in the first half, Tim Crawley picked off Murphy’s pass at the Bells’ 30-yard-line, ending a drive that could have sent the game to half time tied at 14-14.
By managing the clock, and helped by a 15-yard penalty for roughing the passer, Bellarmine was able to move the ball 74 yards in six plays after the turnover. The drive culminated with a 2-yard touchdown run by Olugbode, who would finish with 224 yards on 20 carries.
Despite the loss Sacred Heart head coach John Lee had words of praise for his team—especially its ability to create turnovers.
“I’m never happy with a loss, but I’m happy with the fact they didn’t quit,” he said. “They’re a great group of kids and they play hard. To me they’re the best 0-3 league team I’ve ever been around.”
B: 7:31 — Kristoffer Olugbode 2-yard run. (Thomas Dazzi kick good)
B: 2:11 — Travis McHugh 2-yard run. (Dazzi kick good)
S: 11:24— Sean Murphy 27-yard pass to Taylor Johns. (John Harrington kick good)
B: 0:11— Olugbode 2-yard run. (Dazzi kick good)
S: 5:36 — 1-yard run. (Murphy kick good)
B: 1:23 — McHugh 3-yard run. (Dazzi kick good)