DeSales: Stallions gear up for trip to Mansfield

JARROD ULREY
julrey@thisweeknews.com
Watterson's Tanner Mercer has a grasp on DeSales' Whit Hobgood during the teams' game Aug. 28. The visiting Stallions won 28-22 in overtime.

The DeSales football team overcame a bumpy start during a 28-22 season-opening overtime victory Aug. 28 at Watterson.

Falling into a similar hole could be troublesome for the Stallions when they play Friday, Sept. 4, at Mansfield Senior in the first meeting between the programs.

The Tygers went 13-2 and were Division III state runners-up last season and will be playing their home opener at one of the state's annual playoff host sites, Arlin Field.

In addition, Mansfield isn't likely to be in a great mood after falling 56-21 on Aug. 29 in its opener at Millersburg West Holmes.

The DeSales-Mansfield matchup was added in mid-August when the Stallions went looking for a replacement for its scheduled matchup against St. Charles, which has elected to play the Stallions, Hartley and Watterson one time apiece while the other three CCL programs are doing home-and-home matchups.

"Mansfield played in the finals last year and our schedule's going to be a grind," coach Ryan Wiggins said. "We have to stay healthy and keep getting better. That's going to be a key for everybody this year."

DeSales got 92 yards and three touchdown rushes on 21 carries from senior running back Quintell Quinn against Watterson, including the winning 4-yard score in overtime.

Senior wide receiver Jordan Johnson was one of the team's biggest bright spots, finishing with five receptions for 156 yards and one touchdown, as was sophomore Nicky Pentello, who had an interception while playing in the secondary.

Pentello also saw action at quarterback, throwing for 26 yards and rushing for 18 while junior Whit Hobgood took most of the snaps, finishing with 130 yards and one touchdown passing with one interception.

The 56 points Mansfield gave up were the most it has allowed in a game since the 2004 season, when it went 1-9.

The Tygers have a new group of leaders, with junior Brock Hill at quarterback and seniors Albree Grose and Darnell Hawkins at running back. Grose's brother, Angelo Grose, is a 2020 graduate who was a finalist for Mr. Football last season and is now a defensive back at Michigan State.

Against West Holmes, Hill rushed for 70 yards and passed for 257, and junior wide receiver Amar Davis had six catches for 189 yards and one score.

Junior wide receivers Aveon Grose and Myles Bradley are two of the Tygers' most athletic players.

Bradley and sophomore Mekhi Bradley, a two-way starting lineman, are the sons of coach Chioke Bradley.

It's uncertain who DeSales will have at center after senior Owen Kirk was injured against Watterson. He was replaced by junior Ben Mahle.

The Stallions allowed 164 yards and two touchdowns rushing to Watterson's Cam Nickleson but limited Eagles quarterback Jake Hoying to 93 yards passing and no touchdowns.

DeSales trailed Watterson 22-14 when the game was delayed because of lightning with 8 minutes, 8 seconds left in the fourth quarter. On the first play after the game resumed, Quinn ran for a 3-yard touchdown and Pentello followed with a two-point conversion pass to Nathan Barber to tie it.

"It was hard work," Johnson said. "We got delayed, we went in there and talked and we knew what we had to do. We came out harder and took full advantage."

julrey@thisweeknews.com

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WEEK 2

DeSALES at MANSFIELD SENIOR

*When: 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 4

*Last meeting: First meeting

*DeSales (1-0) to date: Defeated Watterson 28-22 (OT)

*Mansfield (0-1) to date: Lost to Millersburg West Holmes 56-21

*Top Stallions: Nathan Barber (WR/DB), Billy Cain IV (OL/DL), Jordan Johnson (WR/DB), Jackson Hartman (OL/DL), Nicky Pentello (DB/QB), Quintell Quinn (RB/LB), Matthew Stewart (TE/DL/LS), Jonathan Thompson (RB/LB) and Jason Velazquez II (WR/LB)

*Top Tygers: Mekhi Bradley (OL/DL), Myles Bradley (WR/DB), Amar Davis (WR), Albree Grose (RB), Aveon Grose (WR/DB), Tyshaundre Hall (DL), Brock Hill (QB) and Seth Miller (LB)