Southside Christian completed its most memorable regular season Friday night, defeating St. Joseph’s 42-16 to clinch the Region 2-A championship.
The fifth-ranked Sabres (9-1, 4-0), who had never won more than seven games previously, earned their first region title in their 10th varsity season. Now comes another first.
“I’m proud of all the kids,” SCS coach Jason Kaiser said. “I’m looking forward to having a week off and then having a home playoff game for the first time ever. I feel like we’ve got a good squad and a good opportunity in the playoffs.”
“I’m just so excited to be able to celebrate with my team,” said senior linebacker Isaiah Kupec. “It’s something we’ve never accomplished before. We’ve been grinding so hard from spring practice until now. I’m glad it’s finally paying off.”
Junior quarterback Clayton Coulter threw for 319 yards and three touchdowns, all of them to senior wide receiver Connor Holden, who had seven catches for 181 yards.
Knights junior running back Luke Bikulege rushed for 167 yards, but Southside Christian’s defense rose to the occasion.
“Our defense played another great game,” Kaiser said. “We had a couple mistakes there at the end. We’re trying to clean up some things and get ready for the playoffs.
“That running back’s good. He’s a very good back, a very strong kid, but our defense held.”
St. Joseph’s (5-5, 2-2) had the ball first, but on the Knights’ fifth play from scrimmage, Kupec intercepted a pass at the St. Joseph’s 46-yard line. He returned it to the 10 and then fumbled, but teammate J.R. Schroeder was there to scoop it up and take it into the end zone.
The point-after kick was no good, but the Sabres had a 6-0 lead.
St. Joe’s answered with a 14-play, 72-yard drive, with Bikulege scoring on a 3-yard run. Joel Poinsette added the conversion, and the Knights had their only lead, 7-6.
Southside Christian quickly erased it, moving 61 yards in four plays. Quintyn Reeder scored on a 1-yard run, and Coulter passed to Jon Taylor for the two-point conversion, giving the Sabres a 14-7 advantage.
Coulter threw touchdown passes of 8 and 41 yards to Holden before halftime, giving the Sabres a 28-7 lead.
Coulter added a 30-yard touchdown pass to Holden in the second half, and Reeder added a 10-yard scoring run.
Bikulege scored the Knights’ other touchdown on a 10-yard run.