Irish head to Cincinnati to take on La Salle

Coach Peebles says he expects a difficult match up


Ashlynn Bakemeyer

Senior running back Seth Mencer strong arms the Columbus North defense during his team’s 37-13 win over the Bull Dogs.

Will Mayer, Sports Editor

The football team makes the trip down I-74 on Oct. 1 to Cincinnati in a matchup against two highly ranked opponents.

After a dominant 51-0 victory against the Governors of Hammond Morton, the Irish set their sights on traveling to La Salle, a Catholic all-boys school in the heart of Cincinnati.

Head Football Coach Mr. Bill Peebles ‘88 shared his thoughts on what should be one of the team’s toughest regular season games this year. Peebles said, “It’s going to be a close game. They’ve won the State championship in Ohio at the Division II level, which is similar to our 5A, for four out of the last six years. Traveling to Cincinnati is a whole different ball game as opposed to them driving to us.

“If you look at our record against Cincinnati teams over the past 20 years, it’s not great. We’ve won a handful of times when we’ve had to travel there. Going into this game, we’re going to consider ourselves underdogs. Travel is a big part of that and so is the quality of the team we’re playing.”

Peebles talked about the strength of La Salle’s defense up front and how this will be a tougher task for the Irish offensive line. Peebles said, “First of all, we haven’t thrown the ball a ton over the past two weeks. We’re going to have to throw the ball more this week.

“The strength of La Salle’s team on defense is up front, similar to Brownsburg. The holes are not going to be as big or as open as they have been. Our offensive line has a big challenge in front of them against La Salle’s defensive front and their linebackers. There’s going to be more pressure on (quarterback) Danny (O’Neil) and our receivers when it comes to moving the chains and getting the ball into the end zone. We’re going to continue to try and be balanced on offense, but the passing game will have more of an impact for us this week.”

Peebles was very satisfied with the way the Irish played against Hammond Morton in their shutout victory. “The best thing coming out of that game was everybody in the program got to play and got on the field. We even got some freshmen in the game that were dressing that day.

“It was great to see Justin Sage throw a touchdown pass. David Ayers and Sammy Bridges both scored. Defensively, our backup defense can shut them out. We had our second and third team that was in there and they continued to play really good defense. (Hammond Morton) had one first down on the day against us, which was on a long pass where they were in a trick formation. Other than that, the defense played outstanding. A lot of positives came out from that game.”

One of the biggest impact players on the defensive side for the Irish against Morton was junior defensive lineman Patrick Kendall, whop had three tackles, and two were sacks with one of them resulting in a safety. Peebles said, “He absolutely has a huge upside for next year. He’s doing a great job this year. He rotates a lot and he’s been in the game quite a bit recently. He rotates with Kyle Coleman at the nose guard position.

“Navi Neal is our rotator at the defensive end position with Kendrick Gilbert and Dominic Seibal. Both of those guys play roles now. They may not start, but they are getting starter minutes with the way we rotate. They’re all getting significant minutes on the field.”

The Irish are heading into their toughest three weeks of the regular season with their matchups against La Salle, the Number-9 ranked team in Ohio; Brebeuf Jesuit, the Number-1 ranked team in 3A; and Center Grove, the top-ranked team in the state and Number-9 ranked team in the nation. Peebles said, “We’re going to try and go 3-0 for these last three weeks by simply not looking ahead. We’re going to take it one game at a time.

“It is extremely rare for me to watch film on an upcoming opponent a week ahead of when we play them. I have not watched film on Brebeuf or Center Grove and we will not start preparing for Brebeuf until (Oct. 2), and we will not start preparing for Center Grove until the following Saturday.”