In an anomaly of a first half in which neither football team completed a pass, Nick Duffy and Joe Mullen had a connection to aid St. Edward invaluably.
Faced with a fourth-and-17 from the Aurora Central Catholic 25-yard line Friday night in a Suburban Christian Conference crossover, Duffy hauled in a strike from Mullen at the far corner of the left end zone.
Capping a 12-play scoring march, the second time-consuming drive bridging the second and third quarters in Aurora, St. Edward opened a two-score lead and never looked back in its 35-21 victory.
"(Mullen) just threw it up there, and it was my job to get it," Duffy said of the play nearly seven minutes into the third quarter that extended the Green Wave spread to 27-14. "It was a jump-ball situation."
It also served to be an equally incongruous option for St. Edward (3-2), which -- despite a mere 26 players on its squad -- dominated both lines of scrimmage to secure the victory.
The Green Wave mustered 348 yards of offense on the ground alone.
Davontae Elam pulverized the Chargers' defense with 187 punishing yards, the vast majority coming on the inside, while Mike Castoro and Tighe Koehring harnessed equal energy for the Green Wave.
"The line, they were extraordinary the whole night," Elam said.
ACC had a pair of 4-play first-quarter scoring drives, only to see St. Edward answer in kind.
Koehring dashed 47 yards on a fullback trap to forge the first tie, and Elam made ACC (3-2) pay with a short score four plays after a botched squib kick following the Chargers' second first-quarter score.
It would serve as an omen as St. Edward was dominant on defense with a pair of interceptions and three forced forfeitures on downs over the final three quarters.
ACC had 4 yards of offense in the second quarter.
"Both teams made adjustments," ACC coach Brian Casey.
Castoro was the primary difference-maker for St. Edward. The wingback had a 24-yard touchdown on wingback reverse to give St. Edward the lead for good late in the second quarter.
"(Castoro) is one of the toughest kids I have ever coached," St. Edward coach Mike Roland said.
Castoro finished with 84 yards on eight touches.
"He is an athlete," Casey said of Castoro.
After a promising offensive start, ACC was never able to sustain either its ground or aerial attack.
The Chargers had negative rushing yardage after halftime, and St. Edward completely shut down their passing attack.
ACC could manage only 5 completions in 20 combined attempts between quarterbacks Matt Schaefer and Kyle Reilly.
Schaefer scored all three times for ACC and led the Chargers with 58 yards rushing.
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