The Cathedral High School football coaching staff ran the offensive players hard in practice last week.
“(Offensive coordinator Mic) Roessler was pretty hard on us and he motivated us,” senior quarterback Connor Rice said.
The Class 4A No. 2 Irish also appeared to have better stamina down the stretch Saturday night in a 14-7 victory over 5A No. 2 Warren Central in the final game of Warren’s Gridiron Classic. Both teams are 1-1.
A few Warriors had trouble with cramps on the warm evening. Irish coach Rick Streiff said conditioning might have paid off.
“We weren’t doing well and we actually stopped practice (on Tuesday) and ran the offense pretty hard,” Streiff said. “We did a better job of prepping our bodies, maybe. At least that’s what it looked like.”
Rice connected with wide receiver Wyatt Wood on fourth-and-2 for a 17-yard TD with 6:27 left in the game to put the Irish ahead 14-7.
“You eventually have to make a play on a fourth down,” said Streiff, whose team was 2-of-12 on third-down conversions and 2-of-3 on fourth-down plays. “We had some opportunities earlier and we kind of failed ourselves. Mic Roessler made a great call. It was a nice throw and catch. The touchdown was icing on the cake.”
Rice, who said Wood made a great catch, was 21-of-29 for 174 yards and two interceptions.
“The offensive line and defense gets all the credit,” Rice said. “We can’t win without them. They have great talent and they made it easy on me.”
Junior defensive end Raja Burt led the way for Cathedral with 11 tackles, include 21/2 sacks. He was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.
Senior running back Gino Gillum helped seal it for the Irish in the closing minutes. After Warren Central was forced to punt with 3:10 to go, Gillum carried five times for 41 yards, including consecutive runs of 23, 10 and 9 yards.
“Gino is just a great running back,” Rice said. “I can always count on him to make great plays. The offensive line gave him great holes.”
Warriors coach Steve Tutsie said his team gambled to try to get the football back.
“It was bad calls on my end,” Tutsie said. “We were trying to get a turnover or make something happen.”
On third-and-4 from the Warriors 45, the Irish picked up the first down on an offside penalty and were able run out the remaining seconds.
Gillum scored on a 37-yard run on the first possession of the game.
“(The Warriors) made adjustments,” Streiff said. “They’re a good football team. They’re too well-coached and proud to roll over after one score.”
The Warriors tied it on a 1-yard TD run by Jeff George Jr. with 5:04 left in second quarter. The big play in the drive was 45-yard pass from George to Glynn Hill.
George had come in when Anthony Cooper-Taylor hurt his ribs in the first half. Cooper-Taylor returned in the second half, but Tutsie said he hurt his shoulder on a run late in the third quarter.
“We were four times in the red zone and we only got one score,” Tutsie said. “We have to get movement up front. We have to fix it somehow.”