Cathedral shuts out St. Al

Published 12:51 am Saturday, October 1, 2011

Cathedral’s Khalil Brice takes the ball down the field as he battles St. Aloysius’ John Gordon Friday night during the Green Wave’s 28-0 home win. (Ben Hillyer \ The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — The Cathedral football team cruised to a 28-0 victory over rival St. Aloysius Friday night behind an opportunistic defense and a strong rushing performance from senior running back J.D. Ealey.

Ealey carried the ball 17 times for 158 yards and two first-half touchdowns to lead the Green Wave offense.

“J.D. runs hard every time he gets it, and tonight he stepped up,” Cathedral head coach Ron Rushing said.

The Green Wave offense saw more success in the running game against St. Al than it saw through the air, which is unusual so far this season, Rushing said. Cathedral rushed for 244 yards and threw for 161.

“We ran the ball well,” Rushing said. “They were dropping players and trying to defend the pass, and I thought we ran the ball very well.”

Cathedral was also the beneficiary of five St. Al turnovers. Two turnovers set up Cathedral touchdowns, and two others stopped drives inside Cathedral’s 25-yard line.

“(St. Al) hurt themselves some, and we capitalized like a good team does,” Rushing said. “We gave up some plays and penalties, but I’m proud of the shutout. We needed a shutout, because we had guys that played extremely hard (defensively).”

Rushing was unhappy with his team’s discipline in the win. Cathedral racked up 145 yards in penalties on the night.

“I’m disappointed in the way we played discipline-wise,” he said. “But all that stuff is correctable.”

St. Al had a chance to ruin Cathedral’s shutout on its first drive, but after driving to the Green Wave 3-yard line the Flashes had a bad shotgun snap that sent them back 21 yards. After a penalty and an incompletion, St. Al faced a fourth and goal from the 35-yard line and was forced to punt.

Cathedral got the ball on its own 9-yard line and drove 91 yards to take a 7-0 lead on a 17-yard run by Ealey, and an extra point by Lee Fairbanks.

Ealey would score again a minute and a half into the second quarter on a 6-yard run to put Cathedral up 14-0. That score was set up by a St. Al fumble that was recovered by Cathedral’s Tyler Flemming on the St. Al 20-yard line.

Cathedral would benefit from another fumble on St. Al’s next possession, which Daniel Huffines recovered and returned 34 yards. A 15-yard penalty by St. Al would be tacked on to the return, and Cathedral scored on the next play with an 18-yard touchdown pass from Caleb Upton to Carl Hammitte.

St. Al would threaten again late in the half, but Cathedral’s defense held on a fourth and goal from the 1-yard line. That stop preserved Cathedral’s 21-0 lead going into the half.

Late in the third quarter Cathedral ended the scoring with an 18-yard strike from Upton to Kyle Bradley.

St. Al would drive inside Cathedral’s 25-yard line three times in the second half but failed to score all three times.

The Green Wave finished with 405 yards of total offense to St. Al’s 231.

Upton threw for 160 yards on 14-26 passing and two touchdowns. Hammitte caught five passes for 75 yards, and Bradley caught five balls for 48 yards.

St Al’s Carlton Campbell rushed for 112 yards on 24 carries to lead the Flashes.

The win puts Cathedral at 6-0 on the season and 4-0 in MHSAA Region 4-1A. The Green Wave hosts Mount Olive next week.