One area of the field the DeSales football team has been gaining more confidence in as midseason approaches is its running game.
Although junior running back Quintell Quinn rushed for three touchdowns in a 35-28 season-opening victory over Dayton Carroll on Aug. 31, the Stallions were limited to 68 yards on 18 carries.
Quinn rushed for 118 yards and a touchdown in a 45-14 loss to Dublin Jerome on Sept. 6 and ran for 106 yards and three scores on 18 carries in a 36-21 win over Chardon Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin on Sept. 13.
In addition, senior Jaylen Ball provides experienced depth after missing the opening game with an injury. He rushed for 314 yards last season.
"Running the ball gives balance to our offense and we still feel like we can do some things throwing it," coach Ryan Wiggins said. "We want to have balance. In that opening game, we didn't have a lot of balance and we were still able to win. (Against NDCL), we were able to have balance and minimize turnovers.
"Quinn was a workhorse (against NDCL). It's nice to have a returning player like Jaylen who's a high-motor guy. He goes hard all the time."
On Sept. 20 in a 35-31 win over the state's second-ranked Division III team, Kettering Alter, Quinn rushed for 147 yards and two scores and Ball ran for 63 yards and two touchdowns, including a game-winning 11-yard run with 54 seconds remaining.
DeSales improved to 3-1 with the win over Alter and travels to Middletown Fenwick on Friday, Sept. 27, for the first meeting between the programs.
Fenwick improved to 2-2 with a 16-0 win over St. Charles on Sept. 20. Its losses have come against Anna, which is 4-0, and Clarksville Clinton-Massie, which is 3-1.
The Falcons are led defensively by junior linebacker John Maxwell, who has 26.5 tackles and three tackles for loss, and junior defensive back Logan Miller, who has 24 tackles and an interception.
Junior Braden Listermann and senior David Schuh both have seen time at quarterback for Fenwick, but Listermann saw the bulk of the action against St. Charles, completing eight of 14 passes for 85 yards with two interceptions.
DeSales jumped out to a 14-0 lead over Alter, last year's Division III state runner-up. After the Knights cut their deficit to 14-7, Quinn ran back the ensuing kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown.
The game was tied at 28 until Alter made a field goal with 3:39 left, but the Stallions drove 10 plays for the winning score and held off a rally attempt by the Knights, who reached the DeSales 18-yard line before quarterback Kale Steneman threw an incomplete pass on the final play.
Alter edged DeSales in total yards, 328-321.
"We're starting to learn about ourselves," Wiggins said. "We've got to keep improving."