DeSales: Stallions to play Chardon for Division III state title

Jarrod Ulrey
ThisWeek group
DeSales' Jason Velazquez II (9) runs off the field with teammates Matteo Cua (12), Rechee Smith and Braden Jehn (88) after recovering a fumble during a 23-13 win over Kettering Alter in a Division III state semifinal Nov. 13 at London.
Senior Quintell Quinn rushed for 135 yards and three touchdowns on 24 carries in the state semifinal. The Stallions will play Chardon for the Division III state title at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 21, at Fortress Obetz.

Holding a 10-point lead in a Division III state semifinal, the DeSales football team pinned its hopes on senior running back Quintell Quinn and let him put the finishing touches on a 23-13 victory over Kettering Alter on Nov. 13 at London.

The Stallions forced the Knights to punt with 3 minutes, 3 seconds remaining and got the ball at their own 49-yard line. After Quinn ran for 6 and no yards and then was stopped for a 2-yard gain, he nearly was stopped short of a first down but carried a pile of players with him for 14 yards on fourth-and-2 to seal the win.

It was reminiscent of his 23-yard touchdown run in the first quarter of DeSales’ 38-7 regional final win over Hartley on Nov. 6.

With the win over Alter, the Stallions advanced to the state championship game to face Chardon at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 21, at Fortress Obetz.

“I kept driving my feet because we had to get that first down,” Quinn said. “I kept moving just like on every other play.”

DeSales, which won back-to-back state titles in 1997 and ’98 and then lost in state finals in 2001 and ’05 — all under former coach Bob Jacoby — will be in its second state final under coach Ryan Wiggins. In 2009, the Stallions lost to Youngstown Mooney 35-7 in the Division III title game.

The Stallions are 9-1 heading into the state final while Chardon is 11-0 after beating Tiffin Columbian 47-7 on Nov. 13.

The Hilltoppers attempted just three passes in their state semifinal but got 231 yards rushing and three touchdowns from James Pettyjohn and 74 yards and two scores from quarterback Drew Fetchik. The defense produced three turnovers and held Columbian to 121 yards.

In DeSales’ last appearance in a state semifinal in 2016, it lost to Akron Hoban 23-14 after winning its first 13 games.

The Stallions have won six in a row since losing 35-34 in two overtimes to Watterson on Sept. 18.

“We expected it would be Chardon,” Wiggins said. “They’re the real deal.”

Against Alter, Quinn finished with 135 yards and three touchdowns on 24 carries, quarterback Whit Hobgood rushed for 69 yards on six carries and Jonathan Thompson had six rushes for 25 yards. Hobgood also completed two of six passes, with both going to Jordan Johnson for 44 yards.

Junior Gabbi D'Amico, center, dives for the ball during a Division I regional semifinal Nov. 5 against Olentangy Orange at Hilliard Darby. DeSales lost 25-21, 25-9, 25-16.

Volleyball team

loses in regional

The girls volleyball team gathered in a circle outside the Hilliard Darby gymnasium following a 25-21, 25-9, 25-16 loss to Olentangy Orange in a Division I regional semifinal Nov. 5.

After the Stallions shared some laughs, tears and memories of the season, coach Brenden Pence and his staff reminded the players how hard they had worked to capture their ninth district championship in 10 seasons — the past seven of which have come in Division I — and finish within four wins of their second consecutive state title.

“I told them there will be eyes on them the rest of their lives for what they’ve accomplished,” Pence said. “The biggest compliment to any coach is what they do after this, what kind of person they become when they go out (into the world). They all have bright futures. 

“The lessons they’ve learned in this program would be the biggest compliment we could get if they continue to be great citizens, lead the next group and leave their legacy.”

Senior outside hitter Saje Washington had six kills, senior defensive specialist Bridget Javitch recorded 16 digs and junior setter Ashleigh Zehala added 16 assists against Orange. DeSales was ahead 9-5 in the first game before the Pioneers reeled off a 9-1 run and never trailed again.

The Stallions finished 10-8 overall and 2-3 in the CCL.

“From the beginning when I came in four years ago, we’ve always talked about how we had to win the serve and pass battle and we just didn’t do enough of that or controlling play in space,” Pence said of the regional semifinal. “We weren’t in our system … but that was more about us just not controlling the controllables, passing to our setter in a bad location and then putting our hitters in a bad location. We shot ourselves in the foot. We weren’t doing enough good things.”

Senior middle hitter Avery Boyd, a Fairfield recruit, led the team in kills (166) and blocks (42). Washington added 160 kills and Javitch, who has signed with American, had 353 digs to finish with 1,017 for her career as well as 29 aces.

Javitch was named first-team all-league and all-district. Boyd was second-team all-league and all-district and Washington was second-team all-league.

Other key players eligible to return include juniors Gabbi D’Amico (defensive specialist/outside hitter, 108 kills. 229 digs, 20 aces) and Morgan Tydings (middle blocker, 131 kills) as well as sophomore McKenzie Hall (outside hitter).

—Dave Purpura

Shaffer paced

boys soccer team

Junior midfielder Andrew Shaffer’s 20 goals — almost half of the team’s total of 43 — and two assists led the boys soccer team, which overcame a slow start to win its sixth Division II district championship in seven years but lost at defending state champion Tipp City Tippecanoe 3-0 in a regional semifinal Nov. 4.

DeSales lost its first three games and seven of its first nine but finished 10-9-1 overall and 3-1 in the CCL.

Senior Nick Kennedy (midfielder), junior Alex Shaffer (midfielder) and sophomores Ryan DeStefanis (midfielder) and Yair Perez-Gonzalez (forward) each scored three goals.

Senior goalie Gabe Weikert made 17 saves against Tippecanoe and finished with 141 saves on 161 shots (87.6 percent).

Classmate J.J. Baughman, with whom Weikert split time for much of the season, stopped 47 of 57 shots (82.5 percent).

Other players eligible to return include junior Andy Shoemaker (defender), sophomore Zack Rennie (midfielder) and freshman Luca Romanelli (defender).

—Dave Purpura

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BOYS SOCCER

Record: 10-9-1 overall

CCL standings: St. Charles (4-0), DeSales (3-1), Watterson (2-2), Hartley and Ready (both 0-3)

Seniors lost: J.J. Baughman, Vigo Bertolo, Gibran Cuevas, Kaeden Fox, Alex Hatcher, Nick Kennedy, Oscar Marquez-Trejo and Gabe Weikert

Key returnees: Ryan DeStefanis, Luca Romanelli, Yair Perez-Gonzalez, Alex Shaffer and Andrew Shaffer

Postseason: Defeated Heath 7-0; def. Jonathan Alder 6-0; def. Watterson 2-1; lost to Tipp City Tippecanoe 3-0 in Division II regional semifinal

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

Record: 10-8 overall

CCL standings: Watterson (5-1), Hartley (4-2), DeSales (2-3), Ready (0-5)

Seniors lost: Avery Boyd, Alexis Johnson, Tara Mnich, Brooke Stablein and Saje Washington

Key returnees: Gabbi D’Amico, McKenzie Hall, Morgan Tydings and Ashleigh Zehala

Postseason: Def. Marion Harding 25-10, 25-8, 25-12; def. Pickerington North 25-20, 25-17, 25-17; def. Watkins Memorial 25-23, 25-23, 25-22 in Division I district final; lost to Olentangy Orange 25-21, 25-9, 25-16 in Division I regional semifinal