Notre Dame edges St. Viator 13-7 in overtime thriller
Both St. Viator and Notre Dame needed a win to keep their playoff hopes alive Friday night in Niles. The host Dons were more desperate than the Lions coming into the Catholic League/ESCC crossover at 0-4. Notre Dame pulled the win out of the hat with a 13-7 overtime win over the 2-3 Lions.
"It was a very important win for these kids on homecoming weekend," Notre Dame coach Mike Hennessey said. "Our defense pulled us back in the game. They made some really good stops."
The biggest defensive play came from junior defensive tackle Frank Salvage late in the fourth quarter. With the Lions driving from their 29 to the Notre Dame 37, Salvage stopped freshman running back Dayvon Ellis for a 5-yard loss. St. Viator was forced to punt with 1:54 left.
"That tackle meant a lot for me and the team. It was the turning point of the game." Salvage said. "This game changed the momentum for us for the rest of the season. This was a steppingstone. We have to keep winning to make the playoffs."
The Lions defense held and the game went to overtime. St. Viator's offense was not able to score going with 4 incomplete passes.
Notre Dame used 3 rushes from senior running back Colin Randazzo, who finally scored from the 1-yard line.
"We took what we could get from their defense," Randazzo said. "We had to play harder in the second half. We were more aggressive."
Notre Dame took a 7-0 lead with 1:55 left in the first quarter. The Dons marched 70 yards in 16 plays, consuming 8:11 before Randazzo sneaked in from the 1-foot line on fourth down. Ahmed Shinnick kicked the extra point.
St. Viator countered with a 76-yard, 11-play drive in the second quarter to score on Carson Eggebraten's 1-yard run. Taylor Petrillo kicked the extra point to tie the game.
The Lions recovered the ensuing kickoff but could not score. St. Viator's John Kaiser recovered a fumble moments later, but, again, could not convert to points.
Interceptions by the Dons' Michael Keenan and Jalil Johnson snuffed out the Lions' attempts to score.
The Lions played without Jake VanBooven, who missed the game due to illness. Ellis did a good job in the backfield with one day of practice, picking up 74 yards in 17 attempts. Quarterback Charlie Dolsen was completed 9 passes for 121 yards.
"I'm proud of our guys," St. Viator coach Dave Archibald said. "We stayed right with them. Notre Dame was physical and had a lot of size. We fought to the bitter end.
"A game like this will only help," Dolsen said. "I want to keep building my confidence, Next game, (St. Ignatius) I go harder."
Randazzo rushed for 61 yards in 20 attempts. Teammate Francisco Ricciardi ran for 60 of the Dons' 122 yards. Junior quarterback Vincenzo Ricciardi completed 4 passes for 63 yards.
"Our turnovers in the first half hurt us," Hennessey said. "Our offensive line did a heck of a job in the second half, as did the defense."