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FOOTBALL: Catholic Central stuns De La Salle on final play

Shamrocks return missed field goal for touchdown

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Zach Bock missed a pair of fourth-quarter field goals that could have given Detroit Catholic Central a comfortable cushion Saturday night. So, when De La Salle’s kicker lined up a 57-yard game-winning attempt on the game’s final play, Bock knew the odds weren’t very good for the Pilots.

“I knew it was a long field goal, and into the wind, I had been kicking all day,” said Bock, still breathing heavy from his spectacular play. “I figured there was a chance that I would go for it.”

And by “go for it” Bock meant drop back in coverage for a potential return, and boy, what a return it was.

Bock hauled in the kick at the goal line and dashed through would-be tacklers on his way to one of the strangest finishes in this high school football season. Bock’s 100-yard return lifted the Shamrocks to a 20-14 win and catapulted them into next Saturday’s Catholic League A-B Division championship against Birmingham Brother Rice.

“That was one of the most unbelievable, exciting plays that I’ve ever seen,” said longtime CC coach Tom Mach. “I’ve never seen anything so exciting. I don’t know how long it took him to get down there. From the sideline I couldn’t see everything, but I thought they had tackled him at one point, but he made a couple of moves and kept going. … He’s just a great athlete.”

De La Salle (5-3, 2-2 CHSL) had tied the score with 2:43 left in the fourth quarter. The Pilots took five plays to gain 80-yards and scored when receiver Patrick Adams made a tremendous play of his own, catching a slant pass from Giovanni Rescigno. Adams was nearly knocked down by a CC cornerback on the play, but he kept his balance and raced 41-yards for the score that tied the game at 14-14.

After they held CC to three plays and forced them to punt, the Pilots’ offense was on the move again, beginning the final drive on their own 26 with 1:35 on the clock.

Rescigno, who completed 16-of-26 passes for 156 yards, two TDs and two interceptions, got the Pilots down to the Shamrocks’ 40 with six-seconds left on the clock. But instead of taking a shot at the end zone through the air, the Pilots send junior Jake Townsley in to try a 57-yard kick.

Without any timeouts to discuss how the Shamrocks were going to defend the kick, Bock intuitively took it upon himself to make a play.

“I did it on my own,” Bock said. “I knew it was a long field goal and I was really mad at myself for missing a couple of field goal and I just wanted to make a play for my team.”

The Pilots were without their leading rusher, senior Sam Badalamenti, was injured early in the first quarter when he was bent backwards at the line of scrimmage by CC defenders. Badalamenti, who has rushed for nearly 500 yards this season, watched the rest of Saturday’s game on the sideline on crutches and his left ankle wrapped in ice.

De La Salle scored a touchdown on its second drive to take a 7-0 lead when Rescigno tossed an 11-yard strike to senior receiver Patrick Adams on a cross pattern over the middle of the field.

The Pilots’ defense did a nice job of bottling up the Shamrocks’ ground attack, but two costly penalties forced De La Salle to settle for a 7-7 tie at halftime. The penalties – a late-hit personal foul and a pass interference call – aided Catholic Central’s scoring drive. The interference call gave the Shamrocks the ball at the Pilots’ 12-yard line.

On the next play, senior quarterback Sean Birney delivered a 12-yard touchdown pass to senior receiver Mitchell Katkic for the equalizer with six-seconds left before the break.

CC (7-1, 3-1) took advantage of Jack Van Acker’s third-quarter interception and turned it into points when Birney’s 20-yard keeper gave them a 14-7 edge.

Detroit Catholic Central 20, De La Salle 14

Detroit Catholic Central 0 7 7 6 --- 20

De La Salle 7 0 0 7 --- 14

First Quarter

DLS – Giovanni Rescigno 11 pass to Pat Adams (Nate Nordstrom kick)

Second Quarter

DCC – Sean Birney 12 pass to Mitchell Kitkic (Zach Bock kick)

Third Quarter

DCC – Sean Birney 20 run (Zach Bock Kick)

Fourth Quarter

DLS – Giovanni Rescigno 41 pass to Pat Adams (Nate Nordstrom kick)

DCC – Zach Bock 100 kick return

Last Updated: 10/20/2013 8:40:41 AM EST