Cathedral in line for playoffs after shutout victory

Published 1:31 am Saturday, October 31, 2009

NATCHEZ — While a steady downpour drenched players and spectators at D’Evereux Stadium Friday night, it was a figurative wave with a greenish tint that really soaked the Dexter Bulldogs.

The Cathedral Green Wave took advantage of seven Dexter turnovers and a surprising passing attack to post a 21-0 win that all but punches their ticket to the playoffs.

While Dexter couldn’t get a handle on the football in the rain, fumbling 12 times and losing five of them, as well as throwing two interceptions, the Green Wave took good care of the ball, only turning it over three times, with two of those occurring in the fourth quarter with the game already decided.

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“We took good care of the ball and Dexter had trouble with that,” Cathedral coach Craig Beesley said. “We were able to take advantage of their turnovers. I’m proud of our kids and the way the have kept working as hard as they have.”

In addition to a plus four in the turnover ratio, Cathedral surprised Dexter’s defense with a potent passing attack in the first half despite the rain that allowed the Green Wave to take an early 14-0 lead.

Cathedral quarterback Dylan White completed 5-of-11 passes for 89 yards and a touchdown in the first half.

Semmes White had two of those receptions for 50 yards and a touchdown.

“Coach (Ron) Rushing saw some things on video (in the Dexter defense) that we were able to take advantage of in the first quarter,” Beesley said. “Semmes White caught some dump passes behind their linebackers and we were able to convert two of those into scores. We did a good job of seeing what they were doing defensively and hitting the open spots.”

The turning point of the game perhaps took place early in the first quarter.

Cathedral lost 15 yards on its first three offensive, but Dexter fumble the ensuing punt and the Green Wave recovered at the Bulldogs’ 26-yard line.

A 16-yard completion to JaDarius Ealey on fourth and 10 set the Green Wave up at the 10-yard line, and Daniel Huffines punched it in from two yards out three plays later to give Cathedral all the points it would need midway through the first quarter.

Cathedral’s passing attack continued to thrive two possessions later.

Dylan White hit Huffines for a 23-yard gain to the Dexter 35, and then hit a wide-open Semmes White over the middle for a 35-yard score late in the first quarter that gave the Green Wave a 14-0 lead after Cole Mann’s extra point.

From then on, Cathedral mostly ran the ball, ran clock and waited on Dexter to turn the ball over, which the Bulldogs did often.

At one point Dexter quarterback Chris Conerly fumbled five consecutive snaps, losing two of them.

Cathedral’s final touchdown was also set up by a couple of Dexter turnovers.

After Aaron White intercepted a Conerly pass at the Dexter 35, the Green Wave offense drove down to the 3-yard line.

On fourth and goal, Mann attempted a 20-yard field goal, but pushed it wide right.

However, Conerly fumbled the snap on the very next play and Semmes White fell on it at the 1-yard line.

Huffines plunged into the end zone on the next play for Cathedral’s final touchdown of the night.

Beesley was impressed with the way his team took care of the football in contrast to Dexter’s carelessness.

“I thought our kids did a good job of playing in the elements,” Beesley said. “Both teams play on the same field, so we have to take advantage of what we get.”

Friday’s victory continued an amazing turnaround for the Green Wave, who two weeks ago were sitting at 1-6 with a heartbreaking overtime loss to their arch rival, St. Aloysius.

Since then, Cathedral is 2-0 and has outscored their opponents 55-24.

They moved into third place in Region 4-1A with the win with one game to play. The top four teams make the playoffs.

Cathedral clinches a spot in the playoffs with either a win next week over Salem or a loss by St. Aloysius against Sebastopol.

“It’s unbelievable the way these kids kept persevering through the tough times early in the year,” Beesley said. “We’re on a roll right now. We’ve got them believing in themselves and that’s what we’re going to keep on working on.”