Catholic Central still has holes to fill despite beating Golden Bears

PLENTY OF RUNNING ROOM — Catholic Central’s Justin Hartzell rushes past Oak Glen’s Ethan Mick, left, and Paxton Shuman on Friday. Also shown is Central’s Dom Argentine (24). (Photo by Andrew Grimm)

NEW MANCHESTER — Football coaches often say a game will come down to execution in the red zone. Friday night’s showdown between Catholic Central and Oak Glen was no exception.

The Crusaders took a 41-20 victory to improve to 2-0, but neither coach was completely happy with its respective team’s level of execution inside the 20.

“We made too many mental mistakes,” Central coach Steve Daley said. “We were down inside the 20 three times and didn’t put it in. I told the kids one time was not great play selection by me, but a couple other times were mistakes, and we cannot afford that.

“We probably should have had a bigger gap early in the game and didn’t. You’re going to have nights like this, but you can’t have them week in and week out. We’ve got to find a little consistency.”

While a 21-point margin does not sound like a close game at face value, Friday’s could have been much closer than it was if not for the Golden Bears’ inability to turn field position into points in the second half.

Oak Glen started five consecutive drives in Crusader territory after getting back within 35-20 with 7:12 left in the third quarter but came away with nothing all five times. Daley gave a lot of credit to his defense for stepping up when it needed to, despite allowing 399 yards of total offense.

“Our defense did a good job,” he said. “Our kids, technique-wise, played the ball pretty well in the air. We just stuck with it.”

After an interception set the Golden Bears up at the Central 25, Matt Bell picked off a Nick Chaney pass inside the 10-yard line. After starting at the Crusaders 33, another interception at the 5-yard line, this time by Anthony Fallon, ended another threat. Once more after starting at the Central 33, the drive ended at the 9, with an incompletion on fourth down.

Contributing to those failed drives deep in the Central end were several key dropped passes by Oak Glen receivers.

“It’s frustrating because, I think, we left a lot out on the field,” Oak Glen coach Ted Arneault said. “We left a lot of opportunities out on the field that we needed to capitalize on. We have got to make those catches in the red zone. The two times Central stopped us in the red zone is the most frustrating part of that game because we are right there. If we put the points up on the board, it very easily could have been a tied game going to the fourth quarter.

“When your defense makes a stop to give you the ball, you have got to put the ball in the end zone. We’ve got to make plays and do the little things right, and we are very close to doing that.”

Justin Hartzell, Central’s standout senior quarterback, did not have the same success throwing the ball as he did in the opener — finishing 7 of 18 for 88 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions — but his feet made a big impact. He ran the ball for team-highs in attempts (19), yards (176) and touchdowns (three) to lead a Central rushing attack that put up 433 yards.

“He can hurt you a lot of ways, and he kind of took what they gave him tonight,” Daley said of Hartzell. “I thought he had another great game.”

Chaney finished with an impressive 297 yards and three long touchdowns through the air, but was just 12 of 46 and had three interceptions as well.

“He had nice night, but numbers aren’t everything,” Arneault said. “We want that completion percentage to be higher. We need to be able to run the ball more and be more balanced.”

Chaney was missing two of his favorite targets in the second half. Gage Patterson missed the game with an injury from Week 1, and Hunter Patterson stayed on the sidelines on crutches after his team came back out of the locker rooms for the second half. He had hauled in five passes — including breaking a short crossing pattern down the sideline for a 93-yard score — for 131 yards, while also running the ball three times for 47 yards before leaving.

“Gage was out, and he was already one of our inside receivers,” Arneault said. “Hunter is our other inside receiver. We have kids that tried to step up and make plays for us, but that hurt us a lot. It’s an ankle thing that is going to be nagging and come back periodically.”

Central did not escape without an injury of its own, as junior lineman Indy Marcino was carted off the field with a leg injury late in the game.

Central plays its first home game of the season on Saturday night, welcoming Southern Local to Harding Stadium. Oak Glen goes on the road to face Buckeye Local, also 0-2 after falling 30-16 at Union Local, Friday at World War II Memorial Stadium.

Catholic Central 41, Oak Glen 20

Central 14-14-7-6 — 41

Oak Glen 0-14-6-0 — 20

C: Dawson 20 pass from Hartzell (Roberts kick), 10:01

C: Fayak 90 run (Roberts kick), 8:31

O: Patterson 93 pass from Chaney (Dwoskin kick), 10:46

C: Hartzell 11 run (Roberts kick), 9:32

O: Taylor 64 pass from Chaney (Dwoskin kick), 8:08

C: Hartzell 23 run (Roberts kick), 6:18

C: Keeder 11 run (Roberts kick), 9:08

O: Lemley 40 pass from Chaney (kick failed), 7:12

C: Hartzell 4 run (conversion failed), 4:26

RUSHING: Central 55-433-5 (Hartzell 19-176-3; Fayak 7-109-1; Keeder 18-103-1; Dawson 5-31; Fallon 2-11; Simmons 3-2; Argentine 1-1); Oak Glen 26-102 (Shuman 15-48; Patterson 3-47; Mick 6-20; Chaney 2-(-13)).

PASSING: Central 7-18-88-1-2 (all by Hartzell); Oak Glen 12-46-297-3-3 (all by Chaney).

RECEIVING: Central 7-88-1 (Dawson 1-20-1; Argentine 2-14; Fallon 2-35; Bell 1-5; Simmons 1-14); Oak Glen 12-297 (Patterson 5-131-1; Taylor 2-86-1; Lemley 2-42-1; Travis 2-31; Mick 1-7).

FIRST DOWNS: Central 16; Oak Glen 11.

FUMBLES-LOST: Central 1-0; Oak Glen 2-1.

PUNTS: Central 1-30; Oak Glen 6-28.5.

PENALTIES-YARDS: Central 9-85; Oak Glen 10-105.