U-D Jesuit and Warren De La Salle had a thriller of a shoot-out Friday night at Hazel Park.
Tied at 35, the Cubs’ Yusuf Lewis Jr. recovered a fumble at the De La Salle 35. Cubs star quarterback and defensive back Scott Nelson then scored on a 16-yard TD run up the middle with 2:57 left, giving U-D the lead for good in a 49-35 victory.
Then the defense held the Pilots (3-4) on the next possession, forcing quarterback Ricardo Marble into a bad pass on fourth down.
It was the Cubs’ first win over De La Salle in 11 years.
“It’s a great feeling,’’ said Nelson. “I’m from the eastside, so De La Salle was always the rivalry that I hated most. So finally beating them after three years it was huge. It was huge for our program, and our team and me, personally it was just huge for us.’’
Nelson had 105 yards on the ground and 151 through the air. He added a 41-yard TD run to seal the victory as the Cubs improved to 5-1 despite not having their full starting lineup since the first quarter of the first game of the season.
Starting quarterback Michael Sims has hardly played after suffering a broken ankle. Nelson, a two-sport star with 20 scholarship offers, had played only two games entering the De La Salle contest.
“Next man up,’’ said U-D coach Oscar Olejniczak. “We haven’t been healthy all year. We’re extremely proud of and proud of our guys and how hard they played. We came out here with 32 guys. We lost another three during the game and our guys never, never quit. We’re in the playoffs. This game sealed it for us.’’
Elijah Collins, a two-sport star in football and basketball, took the opening kickoff 93 yards, untouched, to give the Cubs a 7-0 lead.
The Pilots finally got on the board with 7:51 left in the second quarter on a 59-yard burst by junior Semaj Shelton to trim the deficit to 14-6.
De La Salle took advantage of a fumbled punt by Nelson with 4:58 left in the third quarter. Allen Stritzinger hauled in a 35-yard pass, setting up Cordell Tanyhill’s 3-yard TD run, giving the Pilots a 19-14 lead.
It took the Cubs two plays to get the lead back.
Nelson hooked up with speedy Victor Hill for a 78-yard TD pass down the left sideline.
With time running out in the third, Collins raced 63 yards down the right sideline for a TD as the Cubs led, 28-27.
Stritzinger scored again on a 4-yard run, and Ryan Anderson caught the two-point conversion pass to make it 35-28.
Collins tied the game at 35 with his fourth score of the game, a 39-yard TD run with 8:52 left.
“We made some mistakes on special teams,’’ said first-year De La Salle coach Mike Giannone. “Right now we’re trying to learn how to win. We made a lot of mistakes.’’