St. Edward clinches conference title, playoff spot
St. Edward muscled its way to a playoff berth with a 37-21 win over Metro Suburban Conference Red rival Fenton Friday night at Greg True Field.
The Green Wave victory clinched the conference title which secured a slot in the playoffs.
Most of the night, St. Edward ran a power offense with an eight-man line and three backs. One back would take the snap and run, while the other two blocked.
Running backs Sidney Muhammad, Nick Wright and Joe Sacco took most of the snaps. Wright was the most successful, scoring three touchdowns while gaining 236 yards on 23 carries. Muhammad (16 yards on 5 carries) and Sacco (98 yards on 17 carries) also crossed the goal line.
"Against Chicago Hope, we lost that game pretty bad but the power game was what we had the most success with so we went into Elmwood Park and ran something similar and had a lot of success against them," said St. Edward coach Mike Rolando. "The boys are able to get it done on the line of scrimmage. Our line played awesome. The running backs blocking for each other."
"The line is a big part of it," Sacco said. "They punched holes that a truck could go through."
The Green Wave was also effective when it went to its passing game. Quarterback Anthony Holte completed 7 of 12 passes for 99 yards and a TD.
Wright's first score came on a 5-yard run that ended St. Edward's first drive of the game. Fenton tied the game 7-7 on its ensuing possession with a 9-yard run by quarterback Kyle Cacioppo.
Fenton (4-4, 2-2) extended its lead to 14-7 with 59 seconds left in the second quarter when Cacioppo connected with Diamon King for a 14-yard TD pass.
St. Edward (4-3, 4-0) made the most of the remaining time left in the half. With seven seconds left, Muhammad caught a 20-yard pass in the end zone. Fenton maintained the lead 14-13 when the two-point conversion failed.
"We threw the ball when we needed to," Rolando said. "We came up with a nice touchdown pass in the second quarter to keep us in the game."
The Green Wave took the lead 19-14 on its first drive of the third quarter on a 19-yard Wright run. St. Edward extended its lead to 25-14 with a 1-yard Muhammad plunge with a second left in the third quarter.
A Sacco interception early in the fourth quarter set the Green Wave's most dramatic scoring drive. Wright completed the possession with a 75-yard TD run down the left side to put his team up 31-14.
"Coach told us to play to the sideline," Wright said. "I was patient, waited for a hole to open up and I hit it."
Sacco finished the team's scoring with a 3-yard run.
Fenton completed the game's scoring on a 7-yard Cacioppo pass to Andre Reed.
Rolando, in his 14th season as head coach, now holds the best record for St. Edward football coaches with a 59-73 record surpassing Greg True, who led the team from 1944 to 1965 and had a 58-90 record.