Surely, at some point during the school day, or maybe at practice, Patrick Wesolowski has allowed his mind to drift to a scenario in which he's in a position to win a game with a field goal.
“I don't think about it,” the Central Catholic kicker said.
Oh c'mon. Never?
“Yeah, I've thought about it,” he admitted. “But I never thought it would come.”
Friday night at the Glass Bowl, it came. And then again. And then for a third time. Finally, after St. Francis called consecutive timeouts to ice Wesolowski with two seconds remaining in the game, the Irish senior buried a 29-yarder to give his unbeaten team a 10-7 win, their seventh straight victory over the Knights. It was a bit of redemption for Wesolowski, who missed a 32-yarder in the first quarter.
Wesolowski said he remained calm on the sidelines both times he was called off of the field, an attempt by the Knights to use a couple of timeouts to rattle the kid.
“I just put that out of my mind,” he said. “Coaches just said focus. All I was thinking about was making it.”
St. Francis, which is 2-5 (0-3 City League) against a brutal schedule, saw its lead in this rivalry dwindle to 28-23-1.
Wesolowski was in a position to win the game only because the seventh-ranked Irish were finally able to break free from an offensive coma in the fourth quarter.
After being held scoreless in the first half, Central (7-0, 4-0) punted on its first four possessions of the second half, three of which they couldn't generate a first down.
But Greg Dempsey's offense continued to do what it had struggled to do for the entire game — run the ball. After being rendered a nonfactor for most of the first three quarters, running back Calebb Goings totaled 61 yards on 13 fourth-quarter carries and tied the game at 7 on a one-yard run with 4:41 to go in the game.
“I think we have one of the best lines in the city, if not the state,” Goings said. “I knew they were going to get it together.”
Goings, who entered the game with 775 yards and 14 touchdowns, totaled 121 yards on 32 carries. He rushed five times for 15 yards on the final drive, but it was Joey Schneider's 17-yard completion to tight end Chris Hoover on third-and-8 with 32 seconds left that proved to be the game's biggest offensive play.
Of Goings, Dempsey said: “He did a great job in that fourth quarter. We decided we were going to ride our guy, and he stepped up.”
St. Francis did just about as well as one could hope for in stopping the Irish's ground attack. But the Knight offense had trouble penetrating a Central defense that has allowed just 33 points this year while recording three shutouts.
Jarrod Jefferson ran 14 times for 68 yards but was mostly a nonfactor in the second half, carrying just four times for 12 yards. He came up big on the Knights' second-quarter touchdown drive, carrying nine times for 40 yards before backup quarterback Justin Chandler put his team in front 7-0 on a one-yard run with 4:11 to go in the first half.
St. Francis' final drive ended when Central's Delroy Chance recorded a sack on third down to force the Knights' Michael McGowan to punt standing in his own end zone. From there, the Irish took over at SF's 46, hoping for one final drive to win the game.
“We just put our minds to it and got pumped for making the drive,” Wesolowski said.
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