DeSales vs. Kettering Alter: Stallions prep for state semifinal battle with Knights
During its run to a Division III state runner-up finish in 2001, DeSales dug deep to reach the championship game.
With the Stallions trailing Kettering Alter in a state semifinal at Springfield, quarterback Dino Razzano ran for 29 yards on fourth-and-4 from the Stallions’ 13 with 59 seconds left and later threw a game-winning 17-yard touchdown to De’Wayne Penn with 7 seconds to go as DeSales won 20-17.
The programs will meet in another state semifinal Friday, Nov. 13, at London, with the winner to face Tiffin Columbian or Chardon on Nov. 20 or 21 in the championship game at Fortress Obetz.
Getting to this moment was something senior quarterback Whit Hobgood said he and his teammates envisioned once football was approved in late August.
“We’ve got to come ready to practice, come hard all week and be ready to play,” Hobgood said. “We knew we had a chance at the beginning of the season to make it this far. Now we’ve just got to put it together.”
Both the Stallions and Knights enter their matchup on long winning streaks.
DeSales was the top seed for the Division III, Region 11 playoffs and is coming off a 38-7 victory over second-seeded Hartley on Nov. 6 that improved its record to 8-1 and gave it a fifth consecutive win.
Alter, which opened with back-to-back setbacks but hasn’t lost since, was the sixth seed in Region 12. The Knights avenged a 14-12 loss to Hamilton Badin on Sept. 4 by upsetting the second-seeded Rams 20-3 on Oct. 30 then defeated fifth-seeded Hamilton Ross 35-21 on Nov. 6 in the regional final to improve to 8-2.
While helping the Stallions beat Hartley for the third time this season, Hobgood completed five of eight passes for 142 yards, including a 31-yard touchdown to Jordan Johnson.
Senior running back Quintell Quinn rushed 22 times for 164 yards and four touchdowns, and junior running back Jonathan Thompson had 78 yards on 19 carries.
On the season, Quinn has rushed for 1,215 yards and 21 touchdowns and Thompson has 670 yards and six touchdowns on the ground.
For Alter on defense, lineman James Keighley leads the team in tackles with 69 and senior defensive back Aidan Plate has five fumble recoveries and three interceptions.
“You know (Quinn and Thompson are) always going to give it their 100 percent and are always going to run hard,” Hobgood said. “The offensive line has been working so hard.”
Senior running back Branden McDonald leads Alter’s offense with 1,548 yards and 20 touchdowns on 166 rushes.
Senior quarterback Brian Shane has completed 27 of 58 passes for 561 yards and eight touchdowns and has rushed for 529 yards and six scores on 86 carries.
Senior wide receiver Patrick Connor has 12 receptions for 260 yards and six touchdowns.
Alter coach Ed Domsitz will miss the game after testing positive for COVID-19, according to the Dayton Daily News.
DeSales held Hartley to 124 yards rushing on 27 carries and stopped the Hawks on back-to-back first-quarter possessions when they went for it on fourth down.
Senior defensive lineman Matthew Stewart recovered a fumble at the Hartley 23 to set up the Stallions’ first touchdown.
“The fourth-down stops were big and we turned them into points,” coach Ryan Wiggins said. “Holding them to seven points is really difficult with all the weapons they have. The previous two games (against Hartley) we were hurt with some deep stuff and I thought we did a great job of keeping that at bay. We played good run defense except for a play here or there.”
Wiggins, who was an assistant in 2001 before taking over as head coach in 2007, has the program in a state semifinal for the first time since 2016.
He also coached the Stallions to a state semifinal in 2008 and a state runner-up finish in 2009.
“We’ve got a lot of seniors, a lot of experience out there, especially on the defensive line,” Stewart said. “Everyone knows what they have to do. Everyone’s good and disciplined at doing their job and we can make big plays when we need to. We can force fourth downs and turnovers to get the job done.”
DeSALES vs. KETTERING ALTER
•When: 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 13
•Last meeting: 2005, DeSales 17-0
•Alter (8-2) to date: Lost to Clarksville Clinton-Massie 42-32; lost to Hamilton Badin 14-12; defeated Middletown Fenwick 49-13; def. Dayton Carroll 48-0; def. Cincinnati McNicholas 28-7; def. Dayton Chaminade Julienne 49-21; def. Dayton Dunbar 35-13; def. Trotwood-Madison 42-0; def. Badin 20-3; def. Hamilton Ross 35-21
•DeSales (8-1) to date: Def. Watterson 28-22 (OT); def. Mansfield Senior 35-12; def. Hartley 24-21; lost to Watterson 35-34 (2OT); def. St. Charles 48-7; def. Hartley 16-14; def. Granville 56-35; def. Jonathan Alder 31-6; def. Hartley 38-7
•Top Knights: Patrick Connor (WR), C.J. Hicks (LB/RB), James Keighley (OL/DL), Branden McDonald (RB), Nolan Meyer (LB), Harper Mitchell (DB), Aidan Plate (DB), Matt Sciarretti (LB) and Brian Shane (QB)
•Top Stallions: Nathan Barber (WR/DB), Billy Cain IV (OL/DL), Jordan Johnson (WR/DB), Will Hast (OL), Whit Hobgood (QB), Quintell Quinn (RB/LB), Matthew Stewart (TE/DL/LS), Jonathan Thompson (RB/LB) and Jason Velazquez II (WR/LB)