Parking was difficult and the lights went out midway through the fourth quarter, but the DeSales High School football team was nearly flawless Friday in the debut of its first-ever on-campus football stadium.
Mitch Sirohman scored three touchdowns and the DeSales defense allowed just 41 total yards as the Colts beat Fairdale 30-0 in the season opener for both teams.
A crowd of 4,200 was announced at Paul B. Cox Stadium, the $5 million multipurpose field. Since opening in 1956, DeSales has been forced to play its “home” football games at several fields around the city.
The mood was festive in the Kenwood neighborhood before the game, as several fans tailgated at their houses that surround the stadium. A large inflatable football was behind the field as players went through pregame warmups.
“It was exciting, being the first home game,” Colts coach Harold Davis said. “We just tried to get the players to stay focused on the game itself.”
As for the game, it was all Colts from the opening kickoff. DeSales’ Austin Tharp pooched the opening kickoff around the Fairdale 30-yard line, where Sirohman recovered to give the Colts possession.
Davis said he wasn’t trying to get DeSales the ball on the opening kickoff.
“It didn’t go as far as I wanted it, but it worked out well,” Davis said.
It took DeSales just seven plays to convert, as senior quarterback Brayden Recktenwald hit Sirohman for a 5-yard pass that will go down as the first touchdown in stadium history. Noah Herbert’s extra-point kick gave the Colts a 7-0 lead at the 9:34 mark.
“It was crazy,” Sirohman said of scoring the first touchdown in the new stadium.
PHOTO GALLERY: Fairdale at DeSales
It started a barrage of points for the Colts, who scored on their first four possessions. Herbert had a 26-yard field goal, Hunter Bewley scored on a 5-yard touchdown run and Sirohman’s 1-yard TD plunge gave DeSales a 23-0 lead at the 6:23 mark of the second quarter.
Sirohman’s third touchdown of the game – a 3-yard run – gave the Colts a 30-0 lead with 6:45 left in the fourth.
There was little drama in a second half that did include two long delays. Midway through the third quarter Fairdale junior Michael Smith suffered an injury, and the game was delayed for 20 minutes before he was taken off the field via a stretcher. Fairdale athletic director Ernest Smith said the injury was not believed to be serious.
At the 6:17 mark of the fourth quarter – and exactly at 10 p.m. – the lights went out at the stadium, causing a 19-minute delay.
It was a strong performance by a DeSales defense that returned just three starters from last year’s 11-3 squad that reached the Class 2-A state semifinals.
Fairdale managed just three first downs – all in the first half – and was held to minus-38 rushing yards on 21 carries.
“I thought the defense really ran well to the ball,” Davis said. “They hustled, and we looked disciplined out there.”