Saturday, November 13, 2010

Yellow Jacket rally comes up short against JCU

UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS — The Cuyahoga Gold Bowl is staying in John Carroll for another year.

Despite coming back from 24-7 deficit, Balwin-Wallace’s comeback attempt came up short, falling for the third-straight season to John Carroll, 31-28 in the annual Cuyahoga Gold Bowl game on a sunny Saturday afternoon at Don Shula Stadium.

Quarterback Ryan O’Rourke led the Yellow Jackets down the field in the last 4:38 for a 12-play, 66-yard drive that was capped off by a Kyrell Cook 1-yard TD run to cut the deficit to three with 1:04 left in the game.

However, the ensuing on-side kick attempt was recovered by John Carroll, who then ran out the clock for the season-finale win.

"It was a pretty exciting for us and our seniors, everybody is ecstatic," O’Brien said.

Baldwin-Wallace found itself down early, but fought back, as its slim playoff hopes would’ve been still alive with a win.

However, tailback DaQuan Grobsmith and quarterback Devin O’Brien had other ideas. Grobsmith rushed for three touchdowns and a career-high 189 yards on 20 carries, while O’Brien rushed for 120 yards on 19 carries.

John Carroll wasted no time, scoring on its first possession. A 47-yard reception by Frank Ross from O’Brien was the key play as Grobsmith capped it off with a 9-yard TD run to give John Carroll an early 7-0 lead.

Baldwin-Wallace answered back on a third-down-and-seven play. O’Rourke was chased out of the pocket and hounded by two defenders before throwing a jump pass to the sideline of the end zone to a jumping Aaron Hurd, who hauled it in before going out of bounds. After D.J. Debick picked off an O’Rourke pass on B-W’s next possession, Grobsmith was able to bully his way in from 4-yards out to score his second touchdown of the first quarter for a 14-7 lead.

Grobsmith added his third touchdown in the second quarter on a 8-yard TD run, pushing the lead to 21-7.

"This was huge for us," John Carroll head coach Regis Scafe said. "This was a good way to end the year and set the tone for next year. (B-W) is a good football team. This was no gimme victory. We had to earn this thing. Our kids played their hearts out and I’m really proud of them."

Despite a four-win improvement from last year, B-W head coach John Snell didn’t expect to lose.

"It was a very disappointing loss," Snell said. "I really thought we were in a position to finish the season at 8-2 and have a possible playoff opportunity depending on what else happened in the conference, but we didn’t get it done. We didn’t play well enough in the first half and didn’t take advantage of our opportunities and had too many penalties that cost us. You can’t do that against a team like John Carroll."

After a Brad Marchese 19-yard field goal to take a 24-7 lead, B-W used some trickery to try to cut the deficit before halftime. O’Rourke lateralled to Anthony Fairhurst, who then threw across the field, connecting on a 41-yard TD pass to Cook. That cut the deficit to 24-14 going into halftime.

A Kevin Johnson 62-yard kickoff return to open the second half set up another score to cut the deficit to three. O’Rouke scored on a 6-yard quarterback keeper to keep the Yellow Jackets in the game.

B-W’s defense did its job on the Blue Streaks’ first possession in the second half. On a fourth-and-four in B-W territory, O’Brien’s pass was knocked away and B-W took over on downs and halted a potential scoring drive.
"It’s awful (coming up short)," said O’Rourke, an Avon graduate and 2008 Lorain County Golden Helmet Award winner. "8-2 sounded really good and now we’re 7-3 and it’s obviously not what we wanted, but there were some key mistakes in the game by me.

"We had a great turn around. Nobody expected us to do anything good this year, but we had four more wins than they had last year. We wish we could’ve send the seniors out a better way, but it was a good season."

However, B-W was unable to capitalize and on the following John Carroll possession, Frank Ross scored on a 5-yard TD run that capped off a 9-play, 74 yard drive, to make it 31-21.

B-W used some more trickery, this time with Danny Reineck taking a handoff, then threw downfield to Aaron Manders, who out jumped his defender and pulled in the 42-yard catch. The big play didn’t pay dividends as kicker Kevin Pollock missed to the left on a 30-yard field goal attempt on a fourth-and-20.

"Overall, it’s been an awfully good year," Snell said. "Our kids have done a great job, our seniors have done a great job, considering the season that we had last year. They’ve done a great job getting us back on track. The hope and plan is we can build from here and keep getting better. I’m proud of our kids for having this kind of season."

J.J. Laseak and Ryan Kish led the Yellow Jackets defense. Laseak had 11 tackles, while Kish had 10.

"We just got down early," Kish said. "Once we adjusted, we were fine, but we dug ourselves a hole. We left everything out there and it was a lot of fun. I wish we would’ve came out on top, but we still went 7-3 after going 3-7 last year. It was a really fun year."

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