Austin Tharp set the tone early for DeSales.
The senior running back took a handoff on the first play from scrimmage 51 yards for a touchdown. It was all the visiting Colts needed, but they got much more in their 54-0 pounding of rival Holy Cross Friday night.
The Colts (3-1) talked about that first play, a sweep to the right, all week in preparation for the Cougars (2-2). Tharp said he and his teammates knew the play would work, and to that point, no Holy Cross player laid a hand on him as he veered toward his sideline and then took off unabated down the field.
“Our linemen came out and executed that play very well,” said Tharp, who ran for 100 yards and three scores on six carries. “It was just open. Wide open.”
Since the establishment of the Hibernian Cup, the trophy awarded to winner of the long-time rivalry, in 2013, the Colts have completely dominated the series. DeSales has won six straight overall in the series, and the Colts have outscored the Cougars 162-0 in the Cup games.
The Colts controlled the line of scrimmage from both sides. Not only did they rack up 245 yards rushing on 32 carries, they also held the Cougars to just 27 yards overall. Holy Cross ran the ball 27 times for just 21 yards, thanks to DeSales holding Cougars’ runners to no gain or losses on 13 of those attempts.
“Our offensive line has struggled all year,” Holy Cross coach Bob Bronger said. “At one time, we had four true freshmen playing offensive line… We had some guys who didn’t adjust to what we wanted to do.”
Leading 28-0 at halftime, the Colts continued to pull away. Tharp picked up where he left off in the first half, using a double handoff to run 36 yards for a third-quarter touchdown that was set up by a 33-yard punt return on the previous snap.
DeSales then recovered a fumbled kickoff, and two plays later, Carlos Ordway’s eight-yard score started the running clock with 3:02 left in the third quarter.
On the following Cougars’ drive, Tharp made one last play. He blocked the punt that gave the Colts the ball at the Holy Cross 6. Three plays later, Mitch Sirohman made it 48-0 on a five-yard run.
“It’s a pretty good sign” DeSales coach Harold Davis said. “I know this is a rivalry and all that. But in the second half, being in the lead, we didn’t relax. We continued to play hard. So I was really happy with that.”
at HOLY CROSS-0-0-0-0-0
DeSales – Austin Tharp 51 run (Noah Herbert kick) 11:41
DeSales – Tharp 1 run (Herbert kick) 3:03
DeSales – Mitch Sirohman 2 run (Herbert kick) 7:58
DeSales – Aaron Pfaadt 10 run (Herbert kick) 5:49
DeSales – Tharp 36 run (Herbert kick) 3:44
DeSales – Carlos Ordway 8 run (Herbert kick) 3:08
DeSales – Sirohman 5 run (kick failed) 9:57
DeSales – Jordan Watkins 95 interception return (no attempt) :00
Total Yards 313 27
First Downs 17 3
Rushes-Yards 32-245 27-21
Passing Yards 68 6
Pass-Att-Int 5-12-0 4-16-3
Fumbles-Lost 3-2 1-1
Penalties-Yards 2-25 2-10
Punts-Average 3-30.7 8-34.5