Alexander takes down Notre Dame to advance to Class D title game
Submitted by Nick Sabato on October 26, 2013 - 9:45pm
Alexander will play for their first sectional championship in school history after defeating Notre Dame, 28-0.
When these teams met in September, it was Notre Dame who dominated the game from start to finish, but this time it was Alexander.
Alexander held Notre Dame to 25 yards of total offense and two first downs for the entire game while controlling the ball for over 36 minutes.
“I think defensively we were rock solid -- all 48 minutes,” said Alexander Head Coach Tim Sawyer. “We looked at how Attica beat them a week ago, and we played our defense but we did take some things from them.”
The two teams that tied for the Genesee Region League title played to a scoreless draw in the first quarter, but in the second the Trojans' offense started clicking.
Alexander notched the first touchdown of the game after the two squads traded fumbles at midfield after Tyler Laird punched it in from a yard out five minutes into the second quarter.
Notre Dame struggled to move the ball with any consistency in the first half, but then disaster struck as star quarterback Tim McCulley was forced to leave the game with an injury that would sideline him for the remainder of the game.
The Irish did come up with a big defensive stand as time ran out in the first half, stopping Alexander on fourth down to keep the score 6-0 heading into halftime.
The second half was all Alexander though.
The Trojans took the first drive of the half and finished it off on a one-yard touchdown plunge from Dylan Scharlau.
Disaster would strike again for Notre Dame on the ensuing possession after the ball was snapped over backup quarterback Joe Zickl’s head, giving Alexander the ball deep in Irish territory.
It wouldn’t take long for the Trojans to capitalize as Nelson Burke found freshman Derrick Busch on a 13-yard touchdown as Alexander scored for the second time in 20 seconds to go up 19-0.
After McCulley’s departure from the game, Notre Dame had difficulty with the quarterback-center exchange for the entire second half, fumbling the ball five times.
Meanwhile, the G-R League’s leading rusher had another huge game for the Trojans, as Scharlau carried the ball 30 times for 161 yards and a touchdown. The senior has rushed for more than 100 yards in all eight games this season.
“I knew they were keying on me,” Scharlau said. “I think we have the best line in the G-R League. I can’t gain yards without having them push people out of the way.”
Alexander would put the finishing touch on the game, sacking Zickl in the end zone for a safety early in the fourth quarter.
Tristan Aldinger would score the final touchdown of the game for the Trojans on a seven-yard run to make the score 28-0.
Before leaving what would be his final high school game, McCulley only managed to complete 3-of-11 passes for 41 yards after a record-setting season, and it was clear that the complexion of the game changed after his departure.
“I thought our defense played fantastic all game,” said Notre Dame Head Coach Rick Mancuso. “If you told me we had to play Alexander without Timmy, I would have thought it would have 60 or 70 (to nothing). We really played very well, we got caught with a few missed exchanges with the change at quarterback but I really thought we played very well.”
Alexander (7-1) will play top-seeded Clyde Savannah next Sunday at Sahlen’s Stadium for the Class D sectional championship.
“It’s big, but I think our kids are really grounded,” Sawyer said. “The most important game in our philosophy is the next one. We really don’t want them looking ahead too far and we really had a good week of preparation.”
After winning the Class D title a year ago, Notre Dame will end their season 6-2.
“We had a great run and a great group of guys,” Mancuso said. “We are thankful for the seniors and the effort that they gave. It was a great ride and we look forward to getting ready for next season.”
McCulley finishes his final season 83-for-165 passing, 1,388 yards and 25 touchdown passes.
Top photo: Scharlau breaks free on a long run in the first half.
McCulley was sacked four times during the first half. Here he's swamped before he could even look for a receiver shortly before the end of the half. It was McCulley's last series in the game. He was apparently injured a couple of plays before this sack.
Laird broke off a few long runs as the Trojans' secondary back.
Derrick Busch hauling in a third-quarter TD reception.
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