LAKEWOOD — Last October special teams lifted St. Edward to a huge win over St. Ignatius in schools’ 50th meeting.
But in the 51st edition of the so-called ‘Holy War’, Saturday night at Lakewood Stadium, it was the Wildcats’ special teams who proved to be special.
St. Ignatius Coach Chuck Kyle smiled while reflecting on Matt Colella’s career night. “He’s definitely a weapon for us.”
The Senior Kicker booted three field goals in the second half, lifting the Wildcats to a 23-17 victory over their arch rivals.
Colella’s big kicks were made possible by four St. Edward turnovers, including a pair of critical mistakes by one of the Eagles’ best players, Senior Shaun Crawford.
The Michigan recruit muffed a pair of punts, including a high lofting boot late in the fourth quarter, after the Eagles’ defense had made a key stop.
Crawford also put the ball on the turf in the second quarter, after a vicious hit that sent his tumbling head over heels.
He appeared to land hard on his neck and shoulder.
Crawford was somehow able to shake off the pain and eventually returned to the field, but clearly was not 100% the rest of the game.
Even after the second misplayed punt gave St. Ignatius the ball back in St. Edward territory with less than two minutes to play, the Eagles made another special teams mistake.
Colella kicked what would have been his fourth field goal of the night, but as the ball fell just short of the goal posts, a St. Edward player collided with his leg, prompting a flag for running into the kicker and giving the Wildcats the first down they needed to run out the clock.
St. Edward Coach Rick Finotti told FOX 8 after the game that “…they (St. Ignatius) are the best team we’ve played this season”, even comparing the Wildcats favorably to other highly regarded teams like Glenville (7-1) and Cincinnati Elder (6-2).
The schedule does not get any easy for either team.
In Week #9, St. Edward (6-1) will host the likely new #1 team in Division I, Cincinnati Archbishop Moeller (8-0), while St. Ignatius (5-3) welcomes perennial power, Cincinnati St. Xavier (4-4).
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