Mistakes cost the St. Charles Preparatory School football team in its CCL-Silver Division opener against DeSales, but coach Jeff Pharion said the Cardinals have to rebound from their 28-16 loss to the host Stallions on Sept. 28.
The Cardinals dropped to 4-2 overall with their 36th consecutive setback in the DeSales series. Their last victory was 14-6 in 1976.
"We just have to score more points," Pharion said. "We moved the ball up and down the field, but didn't get points out of it."
The Cardinals play Friday, Oct. 5, at home against Canal Fulton Northwest. The Indians fell to 0-6 by losing to Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary 41-7 on Sept. 28.
Northwest also has lost to Orrville (24-20 on Aug. 24), Poland Seminary (23-7 on Aug. 31), Canton South (28-23 on Sept. 7), Parma Padua (42-28 on Sept. 14) and New Philadelphia (42-21 on Sept. 21).
"Obviously we were disappointed with the loss to DeSales and we felt like we beat ourselves," junior defensive back Ben Hale said. "We have to go back to taking things week to week and work on our short-term goals, which will help us reach our long-term goals. Now we have to worry about beating (Northwest) and keep things week to week."
Northwest beat St. Charles 21-14 last season.
The Indians have surrendered more than 40 points in each of their last three games and are allowing 33.3 points per game. They score 17.7 points per game.
The Cardinals had four turnovers against DeSales, three of which led to touchdowns.
"I was excited about the mental focus we had in this game," said DeSales senior J.T. Blubaugh, who rushed for 115 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries. "We had been getting killed all year with penalties and turnovers, but our mental focus was great tonight."
The teams each had two fumbles in the first quarter, but the Stallions (3-3) converted one on the opening kickoff into a score on Blubaugh's 3-yard run with 9 minutes, 49 seconds left in the period. St. Charles answered with a 59-yard touchdown run by Evan Brown 19 seconds later to tie the game.
John Colosimo gave the Cardinals a 10-7 lead with a 33-yard field goal early in the second before Blubaugh had a 9-yard scoring run with 4:18 left in the half. St. Charles drove to the Stallions' 2 in the final seconds, but Sean Fitzmartin was stopped just shy of the goal line as time expired.
"I thought (Fitzmartin) stretched the ball over the goal line and he was in, and we should have gone into locker room with a (17-14) lead," Pharion said. "Our kids played hard, but the better team tonight won the game. They did what they needed to win."
Tyler West recovered a fumbled punt return by St. Charles at the Cardinals' 31, setting up a 32-yard touchdown pass from DeSales quarterback Alex Perrine to Oliver Grimard with 7:02 left in the third.
Defensive back LeShaun Sanders had an interception and fumble recovery for DeSales in the third quarter. Fitzmartin tried to score from the DeSales' 4 but fumbled the ball at the 1 and Sanders recovered in the end zone for a touchback with 1:20 left in the third.
An 80-yard drive concluded with Sayyid Kanu catching a 7-yard touchdown pass from Perrine with 5:56 to play for a 28-10 DeSales lead.
"We started to move the ball in the second half and take time off of the clock," said Perrine, who had 61 yards rushing on 14 carries. "We knew what we needed to do."
Fitzmartin rushed for 140 yards on 22 carries, including a 22-yard scoring run with 5:04 to play, cutting the deficit to 28-16. But Ryan Bailey was intercepted by Kanu with 1:19 to play to seal DeSales' victory.
"We definitely have been playing together as a team and we still have to keep our heads up," Hale said. "We have worked to pull each other together through hard times and keep working as a team."
Bailey was 7-for-12 passing for 59 yards and two interceptions.