The St. Charles Preparatory School football team has had its problems with DeSales.

The St. Charles Preparatory School football team has had its problems with DeSales.

It's a rivalry game in which St. Charles has lost the last 35 meetings, including 27-10 last season. The last win for the Cardinals was 14-6 in 1976.

When the teams meet Friday, Sept. 28, in the CCL-Silver Division opener at DeSales, the Cardinals will focus on assignment football and taking things one play at a time.

"We go out and play our game, no matter who the opponent is," senior running back Sean Fitzmartin said. "We have to take the season one game at a time. We look at this game as being big because it's our game this week. But we can't make it 'that' big."

Senior linebacker Philip LaFleur echoed that sentiment.

"I don't think we approach it differently, even though it's a big game," he said. "We have to go in and play our game and do what we can do to get the job done.

"We circle this game because it's the first of our two league games and that's always a goal we have (winning the CCL-Silver)."

The Cardinals improved to 4-1 by defeating the Columbus Crusaders 37-13 on Sept. 21 after having a 34-0 halftime lead. DeSales improved to 2-3 by beating Chillicothe 34-0 that same evening.

"I'm pleased in the progress this team has been making," coach Jeff Pharion said. "We have been attempting to make improvements daily and weekly. We focus on that no matter who we are playing."

The Stallions lost to Gahanna 13-10 in three overtimes Aug. 24 before defeating Brookhaven 32-26 on Aug. 31 and losing to both New Albany 56-22 on Sept. 7 and Union (Ky.) Ryle 21-10 on Sept. 14.

Just like every year, the Cardinals believe this is the season their DeSales skid will end. But the team doesn't feel the weight of the losses, according to Fitzmartin.

"The 35-year thing is a program thing, and not really a player thing," he said. "There have been different players throughout those years, so it's not that intimidating. We just have to worry about playing this week."

"We can't think about the past because we weren't part of those games," LaFleur said. "We only get to play in three or four of these games, and that's what matters. As seniors, we have been working to win in our senior year. That's what we have worked for."

Fitzmartin scored on a 5-yard run last season against DeSales as the Cardinals rushed for 103 yards on 27 carries.

"Every year (the Stallions) have a good, physical defense, but I have confidence in our offensive line," Fitzmartin said. "We have to worry more about our offense than their defense."

LaFleur said DeSales' option offense can give a defense fits.

"As a defense, you have to play assignment football," he said. "Every player has a job to do on every play, and if you do that, you can shut down their offense. But that's not as easy as it sounds. It takes a lot of focus.

"We have to stay really focused and give 100 percent with each rep in practice this week. Every rep helps us prepare for the game."

Against the Crusaders, Fitzmartin rushed 10 times for 114 yards with two touchdowns. He also returned the opening kickoff 60 yards for a score.

Quarterback Ryan Bailey was 3-for-6 passing for 39 yards, all in the first half, and added one rushing touchdown. Ni'Quille Bell rushed for 83 yards and one touchdown as well as going 2-for-3 passing for 20 yards.

Jack France made his third interception of the season and Will Groeber kicked a 22-yard field goal.

On Sept. 14, the Cardinals defeated host Toledo Rogers 41-0 as Fitzmartin rushed for 121 yards and one score. He also caught a 50-yard touchdown pass from Bailey.

Bailey was 5-for-8 passing for 109 yards and also threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to David Shuster. Bailey also rushed for one touchdown and Graham Plageman ran for 79 yards.

Bell hit Daniel Shannon with a 1-yard touchdown pass and John Colosimo had field goals of 35 and 42 yards.