The Newark Catholic High School football team’s defense seemed to be one step ahead throughout its 25-8 victory Oct. 24 at Granville.
Although the Green Wave trailed 2-0 at halftime, they already had intercepted Blue Aces quarterback Isaac Maurer four times. Newark Catholic added three more interceptions in the second half to help the Green Wave snap a five-game losing streak to the Blue Aces.
Newark Catholic improved to 8-1 in a non-league matchup of Licking County League teams. Granville dropped to 6-3 and remains on the playoff bubble in Division III, Region 9.
“We played more of a college-style defense against them,” Newark Catholic senior defensive back Mikey Lohr said. “Our linemen worked hard and got pressure on them and we had guys downfield who didn’t let them get open.”
Lohr and Anthony Wing each had two of the seven interceptions off Maurer, who entered the game with 37 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Granville took a 2-0 lead into halftime when a snap on a punt went over the head of Newark Catholic’s Chayce Crouch. He was tackled in the end zone after falling on the loose ball.
On Granville’s fourth play of the second half, Baker picked off a deflected pass and returned it 24 yards for the score to make it 6-2.
“To have (Baker) go up there and get that interception was big,” Green Wave coach Bill Franks said. “In the first half we just didn’t make some of the plays we needed to but we sure did in the second half.”
Lohr intercepted Maurer on the first play of the fourth quarter and the Green Wave scored on the ensuing possession on a 6-yard run by Wing to extend their lead to 13-2.
Granville’s Ajay Alderman returned the ensuing kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown pull the Blue Aces to within 13-8 with 8:21 remaining. Granville failed on its two-point conversion attempt.
With 7:10 remaining, Newark Catholic’s Reed Mathews recovered a Granville fumble and Green Wave took over on their own 47-yard-line. Crouch hit Luke Ceneviva for a 47-yard reception on the next play. Three plays later, Wing ran in for a 1-yard touchdown run to make it 19-8.
“Both defenses played great,” Granville coach J.R. Wait said. “They played a little bit better. They emphasized coverage and for whatever reason it was a good defense tonight.”
G--Safety, Crouch tackled in end zone on punt attempt
NC--Baker 24 interception return (pass failed)
NC--Wing 6 run (Bell kick)
G--Alderman 89 kickoff return (run failed)
NC--Wing 1 run (run failed)
NC--Crouch 2 run (kick failed)