DeSales Roundup: Stallions build strong supporting cast

Jarrod Ulrey
ThisWeek group
DeSales quarterback Whit Hobgood eludes Anthony DeFilippo (left) and Cole Graney of Watterson during a 35-34 double-overtime loss to the visiting Eagles on Sept. 18. Hobgood, a senior, is among several players who have stepped up as key contributors in a 4-1 start.

Other than having a question mark at quarterback, the DeSales football team entered this season knowing who it could lean on. 

There was senior Quintell Quinn, one of the area’s top returnees at both running back and linebacker, along with three key returnees on the offensive line and another cornerstone at linebacker in senior Jason Velazquez II. 

What the Stallions weren’t sure about was who might fill important complementary roles, but many of those uncertainties have faded away because of players such as seniors Whit Hobgood and Jordan Johnson and junior Jonathan Thompson. 

After previously splitting time at quarterback with sophomore Nicky Pentello, Hobgood threw for 157 yards and one touchdown and rushed for 43 yards and two scores in a 35-34 double-overtime loss to Watterson on Sept. 18. It’s uncertain how much Pentello will be able to play until the playoffs because of an injury. 

Johnson and Thompson, meanwhile, have provided a boost at wide receiver and running back, respectively. Johnson also has been a key player on special teams, while Thompson has stepped into a full-time role at linebacker. 

“We’ve always got some room to improve communication-wise. We’ve just got to play as a team and if all the players do what they’re supposed to do, we’re going to have some success,” Thompson said. “It’s come together. We thought it was going to happen because we all worked hard together in the offseason. We’ve been working hard and have been hoping for a season and we’ve got to make the best of it.” 

DeSales is 4-1 overall and 3-1 in the CCL after beating St. Charles 48-7 on Sept. 25. It plays Friday, Oct. 2, at Hartley and then begins the Division III, Region 11 playoffs Oct. 9. 

Johnson had two of his best performances against Watterson, with five catches for 156 yards and one touchdown in a 28-22 overtime win Aug. 28 and four receptions for 131 yards and one score in the rematch Sept. 18. 

Johnson also has been the team’s No. 1 punt returner. 

While Quinn has been averaging more than 100 yards rushing per game, Thompson has rushed for 296 yards and four touchdowns on 32 carries. He also has one interception. 

“Jonathan Thompson has been playing well,” coach Ryan Wiggins said. “He’s a running back and a crash end and outside linebacker who has been great on defense. He’s leading us in sacks and tackles for losses. He’s an animal out there all over the field and has made some key runs as a running back. 

“We really like what he’s doing. Last year, Jon was a really promising sophomore who filled in and when (2020 graduate) Jaylen Ball got injured, he got thrust into the lineup and went from being a role player to a two-way guy. We love his effort and the way he’s playing.” 

Girls golfers  

eye strong finish 

Girls golf coach Charlie Mitchell lauded his team’s consistency as the regular season winds down, as most rounds for his golfers have been within the 40s for nine holes. 

“We’ve had a few injury issues but when it’s that top five golfing like they can, we’ve been consistent,” Mitchell said. “I don’t think we’ve overachieved or underachieved, but the game of golf is funny. Stuff can change on a dime. I like where we are right now, especially when we’re even-keel and playing like we know how.  

“The girls love to compete and they’re excited to compete.” 

Lead golfer Amanda Pancake, who usually has shot in the low 40s, missed time early in the season and again recently with lower back issues, according to Mitchell. Three freshmen have seen varsity time in Marielle Mitchell, Addie Stonis and Lucy Wills, next to or in place of regulars Faith Corn, Lizzy Gutman and Melina McSweeny. 

Two of the Stallions’ most important events take place within the next week-and-a-half, as they will participate in a Division I sectional tournament Tuesday, Oct. 6, at Mentel Memorial and then play the second and final CCL tournament of the season Oct. 10 at their home course, NorthStar. 

DeSales shot a 374 in the first CCL tournament Aug. 12 at NorthStar to finish second behind Hartley (366) and ahead of Watterson (379).  

“Making up eight shots at NorthStar entering the final round should be nothing for us, hopefully,” said Mitchell, whose team is seeking its third consecutive league title. 

From sectional, the top three teams and three individuals not on qualifying teams advance to district Oct. 13 at New Albany Links. 

–Dave Purpura 

Freshman leading  

girls runners 

In a top seven full of upperclassmen, freshman Mary McAllister made her case to be the girls cross country team’s top runner throughout the first month of the season. 

McAllister led the Stallions in two of their first four races and had the team’s best time of 20 minutes, 23.1 seconds before DeSales participated in the Tiger Invitational on Sept. 26 at Pickerington Central. McAllister recorded that time Sept. 19 in the Central Ohio Invitational at Three Creeks Metro Park, when she finished 14th. 

She also paced the Stallions in her debut Sept. 5, finishing 22nd (21:14.9) in the Cardinal Division race of the Westerville Classic at Westerville North. 

“This is actually Mary’s first year ever running cross country, which is even more exciting,” coach Amy Schockling said. “She is an incredibly hard worker who pushes her teammates both through encouragement and her work ethic.” 

The rest of the top seven has included seniors Bre Callahan, Hannah Pekarcik, Megan Shuey and Gracey Wilson, juniors Audrey Callahan and Monica Sullivan and sophomore Ellie Reash. 

Sophomore Josie Dages, a regional qualifier last year, has been hampered by injuries. 

The boys team also has had two impact freshmen in Luke Aaron and Neal Ritchie, who have been in the top seven all season with seniors Isaiah Rush, Nick Schetter and Adam Weithman and sophomores Max Figliola, Owen Eckstein and Aidan Shannon. 

Aaron led the boys in their first race, finishing 12th (18:17.4) on Aug. 29 in the Newark Catholic Invitational at Bryn Du Mansion. 

–Dave Purpura 

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