Central Catholic took a quarter to get rolling in Friday night’s Irish-Knight football rivalry with St. Francis de Sales.
But once Irish quarterback DeShone Kizer imposed himself on the game, things were over in a hurry for the visiting Knights in a 41-9 Three Rivers Athletic Conference victory at Gallagher Stadium.
By the time he went to the bench late in the third quarter, Kizer had completed 11 of 14 passes for 189 yards and four touchdowns, plus he rushed seven times for another 131 yards, including a 63-yard TD burst.
“Getting No. 10 [win in a row against St. Francis] meant a lot to us,” Kizer said of the rivalry. “We prepared well all week, and we came out and played well.
“Now we get to celebrate with our fans and carry home the decade of dominance.”
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The win lifted the Irish to 6-0 overall (3-0 TRAC), and made it a full decade of dominance over the Knights (4-2, 2-1), who have not held the Irish-Knight trophy since beating Central Catholic 16-13 in an overtime win in 2003.
Kizer gave Central a 6-0 lead on his team’s first drive, tossing a 23-yard touchdown pass to Jermiah Braswell on a fourth-and-2 play with 7:35 left in the first quarter.
But the Knights’s Sam Corbin sacked Kizer in the end zone for a safety, and St. Francis entered the second quarter trailing just 6-2.
Following the subsequent free kick, the Knights had some momentum and drove to the Irish 16 before facing a fourth-and-2 situation.
The Central defense held, stopping Knights running back Lamar Carswell (23 carries, 79 yards) a yard short.
“We had our chances in the beginning of the game and we didn’t capitalize,” Knights coach Chris Hedden said. “We had a chance to go in and score and we didn’t convert a drive.
“Give them credit. Their defense stepped up and stopped us when we they had to. We didn’t finish and they did.”
By halftime, Central was well in control of its 11th straight victory.
First, Kizer heaved a 53-yard TD bomb to Dayton Copeland Lee 3:04 into the second quarter.
Next, after he had run 16 yards on a third-and-9 keeper, Kizer bolted for his 63-yard score on the next play for a 20-2 lead with 1:54 left in the half.
That was enough time for Central to get the ball back after a Knights punt, and enough time for Kizer to complete four of five passes to go 72 yards in a scoring drive that culminated with just 11.5 seconds left in the half on an 11-yard touchdown strike to Marcus Winters.
“After having that safety I knew I had to come out and make some plays happen,” Kizer said. “It was 6-2 and I knew something had to change.”
Central received the second-half kickoff and went right back to work.
A five-play, 67-yard march was capped on a dazzling 49-yard scoring run by sophomore back Tre’Von Wade (12 carries, 84 yards), who swept toward the right sideline before cutting back all the way across the field to zip into the end zone just inside the left cone with 9:05 left in the third.
The Irish defense stopped St. Francis on downs, and the Central offense then covered 75 yards on seven plays, including a weaving 48-yard run by Kizer, who ultimately closed his night on a seven-yard scoring pass to Braswell for a 41-2 lead with 2:59 remaining in the third.
“He’s a complete quarterback,” Central coach Greg Dempsey said. “I doubt I’ll ever get one like him again, but I sure hope so.
“He’s doing a great job of taking the game and letting it come to him.”
Added Hedden: “Kizer is the best player on the field, hands down. You saw it tonight. He can run, he can throw, he can do everything, and he’s their Mr. Everything.”
St. Francis got its only TD with 6:01 left in the game on a one-yard sneak by quarterback David Nees, who was 5 of 15 passing for 51 yards, and carried 14 times for 51 yards.
Central held a commanding 438-206 edge in total offense in the game.
Contact Steve Junga at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-646,1 or on Twitter@JungaBlade.