In a rather sloppy game filled with fumbles and interceptions, on both sides, the Elyria Catholic Cougars got the best of both worlds Friday night at Conway Memorial Stadium with their 31-14 win over the Walsh Jesuit Warriors. The good teams in this league find a way to take care of business no matter what, and the Cougars did just that despite turning the ball over seven times. Count them, seven! So how in footballs green turf does a team turn the ball over seven times and still win a game?
That's because Cougar tailback Richie Sanders was at it again in this competition. It was a usual day at the office for him, gaining a grand total of 290 yards on 27 carries. He also scored a pair of Elyria Catholic touchdowns. Although it wasn't the best game in Sanders' career thus far, his effort was just what the Cougars needed to gain that competitive edge that made them 4-0. They have outscored their opponents 177-87 in the first four games of the 2010 campaign.
Sanders did lose the ball on a fumble twice, and even threw an interception on a reverse route, but even some of the biggest NFL stars, most notably, Adrian Peterson, have turnover issues and can still have a heavy impact on the outcome of the game.
Walsh Jesuit quarterback Connor Cook made contributions to his team also, but his efforts were not enough. Cook, a recruit of Michigan State was sacked four times on the Warriors first two drives, but was able to pick himself back up on his feet afterwards. He fired on target for 178 yards with three costly interceptions, all of which came in the second half. The Elyria Catholic defensive secondary was relentless; bump and run coverages, double teams, safeties starring down the quarterback. There was no where for Cook to run either, because the Cougars held their own at the line of scrimmage. They were more physical then the Warriors on Friday, and it showed; one way or the other.
Usually, when the Cougars get out to a fast start, they are pretty good about keeping their lead. They went up 14-0 on Sanders' runs of 16 and 62 yards, and that lead was here to stay. The Cougars have some of the best closers in the game to finish out strong.
Next week, the Cougars will look to remain unbeaten as they bring their offense filled with weaponry to Aquinas to take on the Knights. The Knights have allowed 99 points in their first three games, but the Cougars will need to execute because the Knights emotions will be running high.
Walsh will be at home against Padua Franciscan, who played Madison in week 4. These two teams are at the top of the Division II State pole, but one was obviously the better team in this game. Not that they are going separate ways, but Elyria will look to continue their climb to the top as the season goes forward.