Regardless of whether it was a coincidence or not, senior two-way lineman Travis Jackson did not play last Friday and the DeSales High School football team struggled to move the ball during the first half of a 21-13 victory at Cincinnati La Salle.

Regardless of whether it was a coincidence or not, senior two-way lineman Travis Jackson did not play last Friday and the DeSales High School football team struggled to move the ball during the first half of a 21-13 victory at Cincinnati La Salle.

Two days before facing the Lancers, Jackson dislocated an elbow during a pass-rushing drill.

A starter at left guard and on the defensive line all season, the Michigan State University-recruit won't play Friday in the Stallions' regular-season finale against visiting Cleveland Benedictine and is expected out until at least mid-November.

"The crummy part is that you survive the type of schedule that we play and then you get an injury like this in practice," coach Ryan Wiggins said.

The win over La Salle clinched a Division III, Region 10 playoff berth for the Stallions, and a victory over Benedictine would wrap up a first-round game at home.

In place of Jackson, the Stallions used senior Harold Nicholson (6-foot-2, 275 pounds) on offense, while a combination of senior Joe Riley (6-0, 240) and sophomore Alex Washington (6-2, 250) saw increased action on defense.

That trio will get an opportunity to sharpen their skills in DeSales' lineup against a Benedictine team that is just 3-6 but winners of its last two.

The Bengals haven't had a winning season since they won the 2004 Division III state championship, but they beat DeSales 24-21 in overtime in 2006, despite entering the game with a 1-8 record.

Led by senior linebacker Adam Patterson (6-0, 255), the defensive front is one of Benedictine's biggest strengths.

The Bengals are running more shotgun spread plays offensively than in past seasons and have been getting healthy lately. Junior quarterback Tyler Wilcosky (5-10, 177), senior running back Demetric Banks (5-9, 215), sophomore running back Bryan Lacey and sophomore wide receiver Xavier Cloud (6-3, 260) lead the offense.

No player on Benedictine's offensive line weighs less than 240 pounds.

"Even though we didn't play that well offensively (against La Salle), I still feel pretty good about how we're playing," quarterback Nick Gentile said. "Travis Jackson is a great player on our offensive and defensive lines, but one guy can't mess everything up. Harold Nicholson did a great job on offense and Alex Washington and Joe Riley do a great job on defense."

DeSales finished with 158 yards rushing last Friday. Gentile led the team with 78 yards and one touchdown to help rally his team from a 13-0 deficit. Adam Griffin rushed for 25 yards and one touchdown and Robert Perrine had 28 yards rushing.

Gentile, who leads the team with 737 yards and eight touchdowns rushing, had his best passing game of the season. He was 6-for-11 for 111 yards. He hooked up with Griffin three times for 55 yards.

"We definitely have a spot (in the playoffs), which is what we were aiming for," Wiggins said. "We don't think we're going to have a hard time getting motivated for Benedictine. It's week 10 and we want to be going in the right direction."

Next game

CLEVELAND BENEDICTINE

at DeSALES

•When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

•Last meeting: 2008, DeSales 35-21

•Benedictine (3-6) to date: Lost to Chardon Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin 27-16; lost to Mentor Lake Catholic 35-0; defeated Chardon 28-0; lost to Fremont Ross 28-21 (OT); lost to Watterson 28-10; lost to Lakewood St. Edward 17-0; lost to Youngstown Mooney 42-7; def. Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit 14-3; def. Louisville St. Thomas Aquinas 28-7

•DeSales (6-3) to date: Def. Gahanna 38-0; lost to Youngstown Mooney 21-14; def. New Albany 13-6; lost to Cincinnati Anderson 28-25; def. Findlay 56-23; def. St. Charles 10-0; def. Watterson 17-10; lost to Cincinnati Elder 34-24; def. Cincinnati La Salle 21-13

•Top Bengals: Demetric Banks (RB), Xavier Cloud (WR), Simon Cvijanovic (OL), Tim Kendig (WR/DB), Bryan Lacey (RB), Adam Patterson (LB/OL), Matt Wenzel (WR/LB) and Tyler Wilcosky (QB)

•Top Stallions: Chi Chi Ariguzo (LB), Nick Gentile (QB), Mitch Herbert (DB), Adam Griffin (RB/DB), Chris Rock (DL) and Alex Vance (OL/DL)