Varsity football looks to keep its streak alive

Irish head to Brebeuf to take on the Braves on Oct. 8


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The Irish defense has allowed only six touchdowns in seven games so far this season.

Will Mayer, Sports Editor

It will be Holy Cross vs. the Jesuits, a matchup that has taken place for centuries, when the Irish set their sights on the Braves as they make the trip across 86th Street to take on Brebeuf on Oct. 8.

Head Football Coach Mr. Bill Peebles ‘88 shared his thoughts on how the Irish plan to keep their undefeated streak alive. Peebles said, “Just like we’ve done every week, we have to take things one game at a time, one play at a time. Don’t look ahead to next week’s game, nor to the playoffs.”

The team, which is coming off a big win against the ninth-ranked team in Ohio (to be followed by playing the ninth-ranked team in the nation on Oct. 15), could very well have this be a trap game. Peebles said, “We have to be focused on what’s in front of us, because Brebeuf is a really good football team. They lost in a close game to Roncalli, and they’ve beaten everybody else on their schedule, and they got a good win against Chatard (during) Week 1. We’re going to have to play really well to beat them.”

The Irish did indeed come off a big victory against Cincinnati La Salle. Sophomore quarterback Danny O’Neil had quite possibly his best game of the season, going 23 for 38 with 347 yards and four touchdowns, all in the air. Peebles was impressed with the way O’Neil performed and hopes he continues to execute at a high level.

Peebles said, “He had a really good game. Our game plan going into the La Salle game was to put the ball in the air. We knew they were big and strong up front and our best opportunities were going to be with the ball in the air especially early in the game. Danny was actually 20 for 30 with 330 passing yards and three touchdowns at halftime. We didn’t throw the ball a lot the second half because we had a big enough lead. Danny executed at a really high level and made some great plays.”

Receivers step up

The receiving core did an outstanding job as well, even with Jaron Tibbs being out because of injury. We also actually didn’t know if Michael Page was able to play until 20 minutes before game time because he was dinged up, but his warm up led us to believe he could play, and he ends up being our player of the game.”

Also, credit to the offensive line in the second half who took over the game. We were able to run the ball really well in the second half because of them.”

Senior wide receiver Michael Page had quite the game as well, with 142 receiving yards and two touchdown receptions in what was a breakout game for him. Peebles said, “We had no idea that Michael was going to be our Number-1 target going into that game. We were rotating a lot of receivers in the La Salle game. A lot of our younger receivers got to play. David Ayers and Sammy Bridges both had a lot of playing time and did really well. And in my opinion, our tight ends, (Brennan) Wooten and (Parker) Spellacy, probably had their best game of the year.”

The defense playing outstanding football seems to be the usual for this Irish football team, allowing only six touchdowns through seven games. Jack Goheen came up with a Pick 6 against La Salle. The entire defense held La Salle to 150 total yards of offense, compared to the Irish’s 400 total yards. Peebles has a lot of good things to say about the defense, but this Brebeuf offensive juggernaut could create havoc on the defensive side of the ball. Peebles said, “Brebeuf is very good. They have excellent receivers and a great quarterback. They put up a lot of points every game.

“We anticipate that they’re going to throw the ball a lot against us. Most games we go into, we think we have to stop the run first, but this week, we feel like Brebeuf is going to try and air it out on us and beat us deep. We have to come into this game with a different mindset of how we’re going to cover them. We’re taking a different defensive approach with us this week and it will most definitely be a challenge.”

Defeating Catholic rivals

Classic 5A football is all about establishing the run game, which is what the Irish prepare for as they go on their State tournament. But this Brebeuf offense will be a good preview of what the Irish defense will look like against Center Grove, a team that throws the ball on most of their plays. Peebles said, “Anthony Anee and Max Walters are their receivers. They’re standout receivers. They have a Division 1 offensive and defensive lineman in Joe Strickland. He starts both sides of the ball and is a Purdue commit who had multiple Power 5 conference offers.”

The biggest difference with Brebeuf this year, rather than the past couple years is that their offensive and defensive lines are really solid. In past years, they’ve always had some good skill guys but this team has taken the next step because they’re good up front on both sides of the ball.”

Peebles said in closing, “A few of our yearly goals are that we always want to win our first game. Our second goal is that we always want to beat every Catholic school we play on our schedule. We want to be the top Catholic school in the state of Indiana. Our third goal is to make the playoff run and make the big game. So those are the program-wide yearly goals we have, so this game against Brebeuf is a big game when it comes to our program and what our expectations are for our program.”