Game of the Week | Christian Academy at DeSales

Game of the Week | Christian Academy at DeSales

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Game of the Week | Christian Academy at DeSales

Peculiar history follows rivalry

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Peculiar history follows rivalry

It’s the Week 8 Kentucky HS football preview with the C-J’s Jason Frakes and Chris White looking at this week’s monster games in the Louisville area.

leforsmoIt’s DeSales Week, which means it’s time for Christian Academy football coach Stefan LeFors to relive the recent history of the rivals’ series over and over.

For those who haven’t followed, CAL has defeated DeSales in each of their past five regular-season meetings. But in the past four seasons, DeSales has avenged those losses by defeating CAL in the playoffs.

“I get asked about it a ton, and I look at them and try to answer it as nicely as possible,” LeFors said. “But we all know when the lights go on and we’re all coaching that we’re all competitors. There’s not one guy who can sit there and tell me (DeSales) loses this game because they want to make up for it and get revenge in the playoffs. If they can do that, more power to them.”

DeSales (5-1) will host CAL (5-1) at 7:30 p.m. Friday, and it likely will decide the regular-season champion in Class 2-A, District Four. But if recent history is any indication, the only thing it will really decide is who has home-field advantage when the teams meet again in six weeks in the third round of the playoffs.

For once, Colts coach Harold Davis would like to have that edge in a playoff rematch, especially since DeSales finally has an actual home-field advantage with this year’s opening of an on-campus stadium.

“Our first and only goal right now is to win the district, and we’ve not succeeded in that in six years,” Davis said. “Whoever wins this game more than likely will have home-field advantage in the playoffs, so there is some significance to this game.”

After a season-opening loss to Simon Kenton, the Centurions have won five in a row after beating Meade County 38-7 last week.

CAL is averaging 35.3 points per game with a balanced offensive attack. Seniors Tanner Palin (359 rushing yards, five touchdowns) and Anteneh Thompson (219 yards, six TDs) give LeFors complementary options in the rushing attack. Sophomore Austin Carr has passed for 664 yards and six TDs and has completed 50 percent (59 of 118) of his passes.

But the wild card is sophomore receiver Milton Wright, who has a team-high 21 receptions for 258 yards. He also sees time at quarterback, running back and free safety and has a team-high nine touchdowns (five receiving, two punt returns, one rushing, one interception return).

Wright threw a TD pass and returned an interception 100 yards for a touchdown in CAL’s 16-0 victory over DeSales last year.

“They’ve always had explosive people on their offense,” Davis said, “but Milton Wright is special.”

DeSales beat North Hardin 41-14 last week and finally is getting healthy on offense. Gilly Simpson is back from a collarbone injury and joins fellow seniors Mitch Sirohman and Austin Tharp as top running backs. Sophomore Carlos Ordway has emerged as another threat and led the Colts with 110 yards on 14 carries last week.

Tharp leads the Colts in both rushing (49 carries, 320 yards, seven touchdowns) and receiving (seven catches, 95 yards, one TD).

Davis said he’ll continue to use both senior Brayden Recktenwald and sophomore Aaron Pfaadt at quarterback. LeFors said his defense will have to adjust depending on who is taking the snaps.

“(Recktenwald) can throw the ball and make plays with his arm, and (Pfaadt) is more athletic and can hurt you with his feet,” LeFors said.

Davis said he’s been pleased with his team’s progress during its current three-game win streak after falling to Ballard 25-10 on Sept. 2.

“I think since the Ballard loss we’ve improved significantly in some areas,” Davis said. “Maybe the focus has been there a little more. They were very disappointed with that – not necessarily that we lost but the way we lost giving up two long passes.”

Jason Frakes can be reached at (502) 582-4046 and jfrakes@courier-journal.com.

GAME OF THE WEEK

* Who: Christian Academy (5-1) at DeSales (5-1).

* When: 7:30 p.m.

* Jason’s pick: DeSales 23-21.

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