August 27th, 2016

Colts defense shuts down Butler

Block_eric thorne

Eric Thorne

Staff Writer

Colts defense shuts down Butler
DeSales defenders Joe Sims (No. 3) and Ashton Baum (No. 2) stop Butler running back Demontae Crumes (No. 7 in red) / photo and cover by Mark Sims

While the oppressive heat may have had the DeSales football team struggling to find its game legs early on, the Colts defense forced six turnovers as they stepped up in class to defeat host Butler 17-0 on Friday night.

DeSales, the state’s No. 2- ranked team in Class 2-A in the first Associated Press poll, improved to 2-0 on the season with its second straight shutout after blanking Fairdale 30-0 last week. Butler (1-1) showed its youth despite being a big, solid 6-A team.

“I think they talked a lot about us being just a little 2-A school and they are the bigger team,” DeSales senior Austin Tharp said. “But I think we showed just how good we have the potential to be and we don’t back down from anyone. This is a good statement, but next week with be another statement game.”

The Colts again employed a contingent of rushers who will wear teams down. Tharp was one of nine DeSales players who carried the ball. He rushed nine times for 29 yards including bulldozing his way to the end zone for the Colts’ final score.

“They were too quick for us to go outside so we just pounded it up the middle on them,” Tharp said. “When we get five yards a carry everyone starts believing and bearing down to free up even more running room.”

Chase Pfaadt did yeoman’s work from the backfield gaining 71 yards on 22 carries. DeSales (2-0) finished with 135 yards on the ground.

“I couldn’t have done that without the offensive line,” Pfaadt said. “All the work they have done this week showed. Last week they missed some blocks and communication wasn’t perfect, but tonight they were on. This win shows that hard work pays off.”

The game was delayed 15 minutes as the heat index on the field exceeded 100 degrees.

“When it is this hot and you get delayed it makes your legs tired and not seem fresh,” senior punter and defensive captain Alec Brothers said. “We gave them the short stuff, but clamped down everywhere else. We have 11 guys on defense always flying toward the ball which will create turnovers.”

After the game DeSales head coach Harold Davis appreciated his team’s effort and focus.

“That is a good football team, but these kids hung in there, fought and they know they can really be something special,” Davis said. “We got better and fixed our mistakes (from last week) and continue to get better. We showed a lot of improvement from last week and that is the key; just seeing us get better.”

The Colts defense has kept opponents off the board for eight consecutive quarters to begin the season and picked up another six turnovers in this game to go with three turnovers in game one. That’s more than one forced turnover per quarter.

“That is a very good defensive team that DeSales has,” Butler head coach Gary Wheeler said. “We’re young starting seven sophomores, but give them credit. They forced us into making a lot of turnovers. It is growing pains that we have to go through. We just didn’t execute when we needed to on offense and that’s what we need to work on this week.”

DeSales took the opening kickoff, but stalled after a costly fumble forced them to punt. Butler (1-1) marched down the field only to have quarterback Blake Showalter fumble it back to the Colts. On the Bears’ next possession Colts junior linebacker Ashton Baum picked off a Showalter pass.

DeSales took advantage of a miscue on a Butler punt—the punter’s knee touched the ground—but had to settle for a Noah Herbert 28-yard field goal after getting the ball at the 12 yard line.

With 2:03 left in the first half Colts quarterback Brayden Recktenwald connected with running back Mitch Sirohman on a wheel route for a touchdown to extend the DeSales lead to 10-0.

Butler then drove 60 yards to the goal line only to have the Colts force anther fumble with just 22 seconds left the half.

DeSales defensive players Chad Welsh and James Tobin both picked off passes from Showalter in the second half to preserve the shutout.

“That defense DeSales has is really good. I think you will watch them win the 2-A championship,” Wheeler said.

Showalter was chased around all night trying to ignite his offense. He completed 19 of 35 passes for 211 yards.

Tobin also carried the ball three times for 30 yards to help the Colts on the offensive side of the ball.

“Oh man was it hot out there,” Tobin said. “The heat made it tough to get our heads in the game, but we did. Getting used to the weather was tough. Tonight, while it was a team win it was all on the defense. We stayed tough and grinded it out. We, as a team, were amazing and that made for a good all-around victory.”

So far this season, Tobin’s words have rung true; this DeSales defense is starting to flex its muscles.

“When you look at the scoreboard and it says zero that’s a pretty impressive thing,” Brothers said.

The win may have been hard fought, but Davis said it will pay dividends later on.

“Our communication out there was much better, especially with the offensive line and the way the defense came up with turnovers,” Davis said. “It was a terribly hot night and I was so pleased with the way they dug in, were focused and our mental toughness really impressed me.”

DeSales will tangle with another 6-A power next Friday when they travel to Ballard (1-1) for a 7 p.m. kickoff. 


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