By Tim Corso
YOUNGSTOWN OH- Canfield came into the 2023 season as the defending Division 3 State Champions. However, we all know the saying, “To be the best, you need to beat the best”. And Ursuline did just that.
The Irish rallied to top the Cardinals 16-13 in the Regional Quarterfinal Friday night.
It was a highly anticipated rematch from last year’s Regional Semifinal, where the Cardinals topped the Irish 33-25, but it was defense that showed up in last night’s clash.
After a scoreless third quarter for both teams, Ursuline’s defense came up with a big stop when it needed it most.
Moving the ball into Irish territory, Canfield came up 4th-and-1 from the Ursuline 39-yard line. Scottie Eaton, who had been running through Ursuline’s defense all night took the ball to the outside on a run looking to move the chains.
It appeared Eaton had the first down, and then some, but was tripped up by Jy’Quise Liason at the last second. That big stop propelled Dan Reardon’s troops into great field position and a chance to mount a game-winning drive.
Irish quarterback Jack Ericson lost this game a year ago but didn’t plan on it this year. He hit Sophomore Devonte Taylor for a chunk play that brought Ursuline to the Canfield 25-yard line.
Moments later, on a 3rd-and-7 Ericson found D.C. Ferrell at the 5-yard line. The drive was then capped off by Christian Lynch, who found the endzone from two yards out for his second score of the game, and 24th of the season.
The ensuing Cardinal drive, Canfield quarterback Paul Bindas was looking to move the ball with time dwindling but threw an interception into the arms of Luke Kollar.
Mike Pavlansky’s defense was able to force Ursuline into a three-and-out and set up a play that could’ve been talked about forever.
With three seconds on the clock and the game on the line, Bindas took his time and let the ball go for the endzone.
When the final whistle blew, the pigskin was laying on the turf, ruled incomplete, and resulted in an Ursuline win.
Both teams came into the came with successful offenses. Ursuline was scoring 39.9 point per game, while Canfield was at 26.
After the Canfield lead was 13-9 at half, the defenses showed up and allowed just one combined score the rest of the way.
Christian Lynch and Scottie Eaton lived up to the hype in the battle of 1k backs, but it was Lynch, the Princeton commit, who got the last laugh.
Ursuline (12-0) moves on to face Cleveland Villa Angela-St. Joseph (9-3) in the Regional Semifinal at a site TBD. Canfield’s season ends at 7-4.