High School Football: Catholic Central 3-0 for first time since 2016

Cutline: Catholic Central High School senior Patrick Kavanaugh and junior Bryce Shipton bring down a Bradford player during their scrimmage last month at Bradford. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY MICHAEL COOPER
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Cutline: Catholic Central High School senior Patrick Kavanaugh and junior Bryce Shipton bring down a Bradford player during their scrimmage last month at Bradford. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY MICHAEL COOPER

SPRINGFIELD — Patrick Kavanaugh’s best childhood memories came at Hallinean Field watching the Catholic Central High School football team play on Friday nights.

The Irish were a small-school powerhouse in the early 2000s, advancing to the playoffs eight times between 2003 and 2011 and winning two Ohio Heritage Conference championships. He remembers watching former Irish quarterback Brian Kelly, wide receiver (and now Irish assistant coach) Dimitrious Dimitroff and his brother Thomas Kavanaugh.

Patrick, a senior tight end/defensive end, wants nothing more than to be a part of the Irish tradition.

Catholic Central took a huge step in its program’s revival last week, beating West Liberty-Salem 32-20 for the first time since 2010. The Irish have won five straight dating back to last season and are 3-0 for the first time since 2016.

“It’s awesome,” Kavanaugh said. “It’s been awhile. We hadn’t beaten West Liberty in a long time. I watched my brother play all four years and they never even came close to beating them. It felt really good. It feels good to be 3-0. I haven’t been on a winning football team in a really long time.”

Irish coach Ty Myers was proud of his team’s effort against a much bigger Tigers squad. Catholic Central dressed 19 players for the game due to injuries, he said.

“I told our guys there’s going to come a time in the game when you’re going to be really uncomfortable and you’re going to be tired,” Myers said. “(He asked) ‘Are you going to give up or are you going to grind through it?’ Last year, we probably would’ve tapped out and called the trainer on the field. I saw a couple guys catch cramps and walked it off. I was definitely proud of the way we performed. In the third and four quarter we stepped up and grinded it out.”

Irish senior wideout Ashton Young’s sister was a cheerleader during those years, he said. He went to every game and now wears No. 3, the same number as his former favorite player Dimitroff. The senior scored three touchdowns in the victory over West Liberty-Salem and leads the OHC with 320 receiving yards.

“It feels great to do it in front of my family and friends,” Young said.

The Irish senior class went 0-10 during their freshman season and won just one game during his seventh and eighth grade seasons. While they’re happy with their success, they know they must stay focused, Young said.

“We’ve got to make sure we’re working hard every day to be the best team we can be,” he said.

The Irish have scored a league-best 145 points this season. They’re led by quarterback Ty Myers, Jr., who ranks second in the OHC in passing yards (564 yards) and passing TDs (8). Young, senior Tre King and Da’Shawn Martin have been key players at receiver, while the Irish have a three-man rotation at running back that includes junior Tyler Young and sophomores Daniel Kamara and Darrien Stapleton.

They’ll travel to North Lewisburg to face a 2-1 Triad squad that won back-to-back games since losing its season opener against Benjamin Logan. The Cardinals have two of the top running backs in the OHC in senior Hayden Simpson (341 yards, 5 TDs) and freshman Awesom Mitchell (269 yards, 3 TDs).

“They’re going to be big and physical,” Myers said. “We’re going to have to use our speed and our aggressiveness to put them in situations they’re not comfortable with and execute.”

The next few weeks will be a good gauge for where the Irish’s program is at, Myers said.

“We’ll see where we stand after these next few games,” he said.

Friday’s games

(All games start at 7 p.m.)

Springfield (2-0) at Wayne (2-1): The Wildcats haven’t lost to the rival Warriors since 2017.

Tecumseh (2-1) at Graham (2-0): The Falcons didn’t play last week after their game with Johnstown-Monroe was cancelled due to COVID-19 protocols.

Kenton Ridge (2-1) at North Union (3-0): Cougars senior Lane Roberts leads the CBC in rushing TDs (6), all-purpose yards (526) and points scored (40).

Northeastern (2-1) at Madison-Plains (1-2): Jets junior QB Cade Houseman ranks among the OHC leaders in passing yards (485), rushing yards (305) and tackles (36).

Jonathan Alder (0-3) at Northwestern (0-3): The Pioneers are 0-3 for the first time since 2013.

Shawnee (1-2) at Indian Lake (2-1): Shawnee sophomore Zane Mercer went 10-for-13 with 164 yards and a TD through the air and rushed for 108 yards in his first career varsity start last week at Carroll.

Mechanicsburg (3-0) at Southeastern (1-1): The Trojans haven’t beaten the Indians since 2012.

Fairbanks (1-2) at Greeneview (1-2): The Rams beat the Panthers 27-14 in the last matchup between the two teams in 2018.

Cedarville (0-3) at West Jefferson (3-0): Roughriders senior quarterback Tyler Buescher leads the OHC with 1,032 passing yards.

London (1-2) at Urbana (0-3): Hillclimber sophomore QB Will Donahoe ranks third in the CBC with 327 passing yards.

Canceled

Greenon (1-2) at West Liberty-Salem (0-3): The game was canceled due to COVID-19 protocols within the Tigers program.