Big Second Half Sparks Jesuit
Close game at half becomes rout for Jays vs. rival Holy Cross

Sunday, October 05, 2008
By Pierce W. Huff

When your team is playing in the state's oldest high school rivalry, sometimes that's motivation enough.

With his team leading by three points at halftime, Jesuit Coach Wayde Keiser said he didn't give the Blue Jays a fiery speech before they went out to play the second half. Keiser simply reminded his players that this was a game against Holy Cross, and they needed to do the things they practiced all week.

The strategy worked, big time.

Jesuit outscored Holy Cross 27-0 in the second half for a 37-7 victory at Joe Yenni Stadium on Saturday.

"We talked about four things this week," Keiser said. "The first thing was to bring our 'A' game, because we knew Holy Cross was going to bring theirs. The second thing was to set the tone. The third thing was our tradition and legacy. The fourth thing was what this rivalry was all about."

Jesuit (2-2) leads the series 51-37-1 and has won five of the past eight games. The Blue Jays reclaimed the golden football trophy with their victory.

Jesuit quarterback Ethan Oddo completed seven of 14 passes for 168 yards and one touchdown.

"It's great playing in this rivalry," Oddo said. "This is the highlight of our year."

The Tigers (1-3) unsuccessfully tried an onside kick to start the second half, and the Blue Jays opened at their 49-yard line. Seven plays later, Oddo rolled left and threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Beau Mothe in the corner of the end zone to increase the lead to 17-7.

"We were just trying to make a big play (with the onside kick)," Holy Cross Coach Barry Wilson said. "We felt we couldn't stop them."

Jesuit increased its lead to 24-7 when senior Evan Schiavi blocked a 24-yard field-goal attempt by Zachary Collier and returned the loose ball 67 yards for a touchdown.

The Blue Jays finished their third-quarter scoring when Chance Van Meter ran around right end for a 25-yard touchdown.

Blaine Perkins, who rushed for 82 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries, had a 20-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter for the final points.

"It was a great job by the offensive coaching staff," Keiser said.

Jesuit freshman Ralphie Freibert kicked a 21-yard field goal on the team's first possession for a 3-0 lead.

The Blue Jays led 10-0 with 10:25 remaining in the first half after driving 66 yards on six plays, capped by a 2-yard run by Perkins. Oddo kept the drive going with a 20-yard pass to Perkins on third-and-8 at the Jesuit 48-yard line.

The Tigers cut it to 10-7 when offensive lineman Colin Kitto recovered a fumble by running back Devin Smith in the end zone for a touchdown with 4:01 remaining in the second quarter.

Holy Cross had a chance to tie the score before halftime when it drove 44 yards on seven plays to the Jesuit 36, but Bryce Ellzey threw an incomplete pass on fourth-and-6.