You can see in the way his eyes narrow when talking about his team's rival that Jeff Pharion wants to beat DeSales.
You can see in the way his eyes narrow when talking about his team’s rival that Jeff Pharion wants to beat DeSales.
The St. Charles Preparatory School football coach knows his team hasn’t beaten the Stallions since a 14-6 decision 1976. He wants to have the Cardinals prepared to end that streak when they play host to DeSales on Friday, Sept. 30.
“They have a great program over there, but we have a good program, too,” said Pharion, whose team lost to DeSales 20-6 last season. “We’re always excited about it and it’s the same thing every year. We have to have good play from the offense, defense and special teams and if we do that, everything will fall into place.”
The Cardinals (2-3) are on a two-game winning streak after beating Toledo Rogers 24-6 on Sept. 16 and the Columbus Crusaders 41-28 on Sept. 23.
Sean Fitzmartin had 80 yards rushing on 13 carries and two 4-yard touchdowns against Rogers, and quarterback Nick DeJaco had 74 yards on 14 carries with a 15-yard touchdown.
Fitzmartin rushed for 125 yards on 11 carries with touchdowns of 34 and 5 yards against the Crusaders. Senior running back Gunner Francis added 11 carries for 84 yards with scores of 5 and 7 yards.
Also against the Crusaders, DeJaco was 7-for-10 passing for 119 yards with a 10-yard touchdown to Chris Fenlon. Garrett Cargin and Ian McPhaden had fumble recoveries, and Garrett Haywood had an interception.
“It’s the biggest game of the year, every year,” Francis said of playing DeSales. “It’s been 35 years since we’ve beaten them, and we’d like to see that end. It’s going to take all of our men on offense and all of our men on defense going all out until we can’t go any more.”
The Stallions are 2-3 after losing to visiting Orchard Park (Mich.) St. Mary’s 42-21 on Sept. 23. DeSales lost to Gahanna 31-14 on Aug. 26 and New Albany 27-24 on Sept. 9, and has wins over Brookhaven 48-12 on Sept. 2 and Union (Ky.) Ryle 42-7 on Sept. 16.
The Cardinals will be focused on stopping Ohio State recruit Warren Ball. The senior running back has rushed for 342 yards and 14 touchdowns on 70 carries.
J.T. Blubaugh led the Stallions in rushing against St. Mary’s with 107 yards on eight carries with a 35-yard touchdown. Ball had 21 yards on nine carries.
“(Ball) is going to Ohio State and they don’t sign bad players,” Pharion said. “We need to contain him and that will take getting 11 hats to the football. Just like when we play against any other good player, we have to play good defense.”
•The golf team begins defense of its two Division I state titles when the Cardinals play Tuesday, Oct. 4, in the sectional at Granville Golf Course.
The top four teams and the top four individuals not on qualifying teams advance to district Oct. 11 at Apple Valley.
The Cardinals were seeded fourth in the district behind Dublin Jerome, Dublin Coffman and Upper Arlington. Jerome plays in the sectional at The Players Club at Foxfire, Coffman plays at Darby Creek and UA joins the Cardinals at Granville.
“We’re starting to build toward October and we’re seeing more confidence from our players,” coach Andy MacKinnon said. “We have five seniors who know what they have to do to win in October.”
Last year at state, senior Nate Yankovich shot a 155 and senior Austin Cuervo added a 157 as St. Charles had a two-day total of 610, 11 strokes better than runner-up Cleveland St. Ignatius. The score broke the record of 611 at Ohio State’s Scarlet Course set by UA in 1993 and St. Ignatius in 2002.
In the district at Apple Valley last season, St. Charles finished first (300) ahead of Coffman (301) and Jerome (305) as the three teams advanced to state.
At the Granville sectional last year, the Cardinals shot a 296 to outdistance runner-up UA by 14 strokes.
At a glance
Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the St. Charles cross country, soccer and water polo teams:
Sept. 17 — Finished fifth (136) in 12-team large-school race of Central Ohio Invitational at Three Creeks Metro Park, as Dublin Jerome (54) won. Joey Gilmore (10th, 16:35.02) led the way. Connor Bowman (15th, 16:42.68), Brian Vetter (30th, 17:16.4), Nick Marino (38th, 17:27.18), Michael Susa (43rd, 17:42.84), Will Herriman (52nd, 17:52.9) and Tom Krajnak (55th, 17:55.43) followed.
Oct. 1 — Erin Nance Fall Distance Classic at London Country Club
*Sept. 13 — Defeated Hartley 2-0 in CCL opener. Vaal Ngalla and Alex Polko scored and Adam Mesewicz had six saves.
Sept. 17 — Def. Teays Valley 4-1. Finlay Hessler, Daniel Huss, Alex Macias and Ngalla scored and Mesewicz had three saves.
*Sept. 20 —Lost to Watterson 1-0
Sept. 22 — Def. Westerville North 2-0. Elyas Ingram and Polko scored and Mesewicz had nine saves.
*Sept. 27 — Played Ready
Oct. 1 — Home vs. Bexley
*Oct. 4 — Home vs. DeSales
Of note: The Cardinals were 5-5 overall before Sept. 27.
Sept. 7 — Def. Worthington Kilbourne 13-9
Sept. 9-10 — Def. Napoleon 14-3; def. Kilbourne 19-16; def. Thomas Worthington 12-6; lost to Milford 10-8 in Toledo St. Francis Invitational
Sept. 14 — Def. New Albany 18-10
Sept. 17-18 — Def. Upper Arlington 10-8 in final of Ohio Cup at Thomas Worthington. The Cardinals beat Thomas 13-7 in a semifinal and Kilbourne 13-1 in a quarterfinal. In pool play, St. Charles beat Cincinnati Sycamore 9-5, Sylvania 18-10 and UA 8-7. Daniel Cogan had 13 goals in the tournament, Zach Poltor had 12, Alex Kocher and Natty Patterson had 11 and Chris D’Angelo had 10.
Sept. 21 — Def. UA 11-6. Cogan scored six times and Patterson had two goals. Carl Calcara had 13 saves.
Sept. 23-24 — Def. Milford 8-6 in final of Packer Classic at Cincinnati Princeton. The Cardinals beat Thomas 11-10 in a semifinal. In pool play, St. Charles beat Thomas (8-2) and Napoleon (17-4) and lost to Milford (7-6). D’Angelo had eight goals.
Sept. 28 — Played New Albany
Sept. 30-Oct. 1 — St. Charles Tournament
Oct. 5 — At Upper Arlington
Of note: The Cardinals were 21-6 overall before Sept. 28.