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Notre Dame escapes St. Francis: Battle of Knights comes down to end

Posted By Karen Young On October 18, 2009 @ 11:25 pm In Sports,spotlight | No Comments

parimalrohitBY PARIMAL ROHIT

Even Cardinal Roger Mahoney’s presence on the St. Francis sideline was not enough to save the Golden Knights (5-1) from agonizing defeat, as Sherman Oaks Notre Dame rebounded from a mistake-filled game to defeat their La Cañada brethren, 28-24, in a key non-league battle in front of a packed house here at Freidman Field on Friday evening.

In what was the Battle of the Knights, Notre Dame overcame three first quarter turnovers and a 14-point deficit to extend its winning streak to four games and improve to 5-1 overall.

 

Notre Dame QB Ryan Kasdorf

Notre Dame QB Ryan Kasdorf

Capping off a 91-yard scoring drive late in the fourth quarter, Knights’ quarterback Ryan Kasdorf’s 10-yard touchdown run with 3:49 remaining in the game gave Notre Dame its only lead and proved to be the game-winner.

 

“In the first-half, we were making a lot of mistakes,” Kasdorf told My Daily Find after the game. “We knew we could move the ball and our defense would step up if we just got it together in the second half. The offense and defense just clicked in the second half.”

Things were not clicking very well for the Notre Dame offense in the first quarter, when Kasdorf threw two interceptions on the Knights first two possessions – both to St. Francis star player Dietrich Riley, who returned the first interception 64 yards for a touchdown.

Before St. Francis’ final possession of the opening quarter, Notre Dame had eight first downs on its first three possessions, while St. Francis had zero yards of total offense through the first 11 minutes of the game, yet it was the Golden Knights had a 7-0 lead entering the second quarter.

After a Notre Dame penalty negated a Kasdorf 34-yard touchdown run late in the first quarter, the Golden Knights forced a Knights running back Kenneth Boggs to cough up the football on at the St. Francis 19 yard line, the third turnover of the first quarter by the visiting team.

Riley capitalized with a two-yard touchdown score with 9:11 remaining in the second quarter, extending the St. Francis lead to 14-0.

Notre Dame immediately responded on its next possession, as Boggs chipped away at the St. Francis defensive line capped off by his three-yard touchdown run with 5:02 remaining in the half, cutting the Golden Knights lead to 14-7.

The Golden Knights took a 17-7 lead into the locker room on a 32-yard field goal conversion at the halftime gun, but failed to capitalize on its first possession of the second half, when Riley fumbled the ball on the St. Francis 23 yard line within the first 60 ticks of the third quarter. That turnover allowed Notre Dame to cut the St. Francis lead to 17-14 after Boggs found the end zone on a two-yard run.

St. Francis quarterback Ryan Posthuma gave his team life again with a 7-yard touchdown run to give the Golden Knights a 24-14 lead entering the fourth quarter.

Boggs responded for Notre Dame on its ensuing possession, cutting the St. Francis lead to 24-21 with 10:58 remaining in the game.

The Golden Knights were unable to respond on its next drive, as the Notre Dame defense forced St. Francis to punt the ball midway through the fourth quarter. A beautiful punt pinned the Notre Dame offense on its own 9 yard line.

However, Kasdorf connected with Boggs on a 55-yard pass play to set up a first-and-10 at the St. Francis 22-yard line. Then Kasdorf ran the ball on a quarterback option for 12 more yards, to set up a first-and-goal on the St. Francis 10 yard line.

Running a fake to Boggs, the Notre Dame offensive line opened up a seam for Kasdorf, who ran right through it for a 10-yard touchdown run on the keeper to give the Knights its only lead of the game, 28-24, with 3:49 remaining.

The Golden Knights had an opportunity to respond, as Posthuma took over on offense at the St. Francis 20 yard line and led his team into scoring position with an option play of 14 yards and three pass plays of 13, 12 and 26 yards, respectively, placing St. Francis in the red zone with just under 90 seconds remaining in the game.

However, Postuma fumbled the ball on a quarterback keeper on the Notre Dame 8 yard line with just over one minute remaining in the game, and the Knights recovered the ball to end the St. Francis scoring threat and preserving the come-from-behind victory.

Despite the fumble, Posthuma had a solid game for St. Francis, completing 18 of his 25 passes for 224 yards and rushing for 101 yards and one touchdown on 13 carries. Riley was not much of a factor on offense, rushing for only 29 yards and one touchdown on 10 carries while catching 6 passes for 71 yards; but, he also finished the game with two interceptions for a total of 114 return yards, including one taken down field for a score.

Kasdorf was 10-of-17 for 194 yards and two interceptions, with 54 yards and one touchdown on nine carries for Notre Dame. His backfield teammate, Boggs, rushed for 121 yards and scored three touchdowns on 22 carries.

“Once we stopped making mistakes, we were able to score a few times,” Notre Dame head coach Kevin Rooney said after the game. “We had a hard time stopping (St. Francis). Dietrich Riley’s a heck of a player, and once we stopped throwing it to where he was, that helped a whole lot. It’s good to win tight games.”

Notre Dame returns to the field next week in another tough match-up, this one at home against Chaminade at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 23. The Knights then begin league-play in a premiere match-up against Crespi, also at home, on Oct. 30.

Parimal Rohit is an avid writer who loves covering politics, sports, entertainment and anything else under the sun. Currently, he writes for Buzzine Magazine, Campus Circle and India West. In addition to writing full-time, Parimal is also a staff member of the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles. Prior to becoming a journalist, Parimal worked in sports, entertainment and criminal law. A graduate of UCLA, he has a Master’s in Sports Management from the University of San Francisco and a law degree from Loyola Law School. Contact him parimalrohit@gmail.com

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