The final moments of the football game Friday night at packed Dowed Field featured the drama you would expect with a league championship and possible playoff spot on the line.
Walsh Jesuit and host Archbishop Hoban treated the fans in attendance to a competitive and intense North Coast League Blue Division game.
The ending left Walsh elated with a 20-14 victory and Hoban deflated after a controversial call with 55.4 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
Hoban (5-5, 3-2) faced a fourth-and-3 inside Walsh (7-3, 5-0) territory trailing by six points. Knights sophomore Vince Murdocco took the snap and rolled to his right and tossed a pass to senior Jake Tersigni along the sideline.
The question was did Tersigni stay inbounds for a 23-yard touchdown? The officials ruled no, and the Warriors kept their playoff hopes alive in Division II.
“I didn’t see it,” Walsh coach Gerry Rardin said. “I was blocked. We will have to wait and see the film.”
Hoban coach Tim Tyrrell said it was a tough way to end Senior Night.
“Our kids battled, and that is what I asked them to do all year long,” Tyrrell said. “They are a class-act group. We pride ourselves on winning and losing with class at Hoban. I am not happy with how things turned out.
“It is what it is. Coach Rardin is a great coach, and they won the football game. Some of my assistant coaches watched the film, and it wasn’t even close, but I think the officials did an unbelievable job. They did a great job all game long. It comes down to one call. People are human. I am not going to blame officials. We made mistakes during the game. I think that was a mistake at the end, but everybody makes mistakes.”
Tyrrell said he talked with the officials about the call.
“Down on the field, I thought I had a pretty good view,” Tyrrell said. “The back judge was blocked by the receiver, and it was tough for him to see and I understood. That is what he said, but it looked like he caught the ball and pitter-pattered his feet and rose from the ground to show the ball. The side judge said he couldn’t see it either. The thing I don’t understand is both officials told me after the game that they didn’t see it. Another one didn’t see it. They made a judgment call that it was incomplete, and he was out of bounds. The [five] officials admitted they didn’t see it. I don’t understand how that works, but one team had to win and one team had to lose. I don’t understand the reasoning of it. ... Both teams were great competitors. Both football teams played hard and deserved to win in the end.”
Walsh senior Bryan DiCillo rushed for a 46-yard touchdown with 5:14 to go in the first quarter for a 7-0 lead
Senior Mike Knoll kicked two field goals — 29 and 21 yards — in the second quarter as Walsh took a 13-0 lead.
Hoban cut its deficit to 13-7 with 8:33 to go in the third quarter when freshman Todd Sibley scored an 8-yard rushing touchdown and junior Phil Oravecz kicked the point after. Sibley gained 51 yards rushing on the drive, which covered 80 yards on 10 plays.
Walsh responded to make it 20-7 when junior Pat Ford tossed a 6-yard touchdown to senior Matt Clark at 4:52. Knoll made the extra-point kick to cap a nine-play, 76-yard drive.
With 9:02 left, Tersigni caught an 18-yard touchdown pass from Murdocco after a Walsh player tipped the pass. Oravecz made the extra point, and it was 20-14.
Sophomore Noah Donald recovered a fumble, and junior Zach Hatlovic snagged an interception for Walsh.
“There is no better feeling than beating our rivals,” DiCillo said. “This has been a great season and I am looking forward to Week 11. I am not ready to go out yet.”
Sibley finished with 154 yards on 18 carries. Walsh junior Anthony Rozum rushed for 86 yards on 15 carries and DiCillo gained 61 on 11 carries.