Red Knights close regular season with 59-7 win over Central
TORONTO — Three weeks ago, when Toronto was sitting 2-5 and on the outside looking in of the Division VII, Region 25 playoff picture, it would have been easy for one to write the Red Knights off.
Coach Josh Franke’s club, however, did not write itself off.
The Red Knights wrapped up the regular season by finishing the 10-game slate with a three-game winning streak at 5-5 and headed to the playoffs following a 59-7 win over Catholic Central Friday night.
“I give all the credit to the kids,” Franke said. “They could have easily gave up and packed it in several weeks ago and looked ahead to another sports season, but they didn’t. They showed up every day and they have worked to get better. We had to fight through adversity, and they responded.
“We have said all year we have a really young team; we were waiting for the day for them to grow up and mature. In the past couple weeks, they have done that. Now we have gotten to the point where that maturation process has come full-circle and we’re peaking at the right time, and that is what you want to see.”
The Crusaders, who entered the week in 18 in the standings and needing a win for any chance to get in the Region 25 playoffs, will drop the curtain at 3-7.
Toronto scored 20 points in each of the first two quarters for a 40-7 halftime lead, tacking on another 19 in the second half.
“This is a huge rivalry for our kids. It’s a rivalry they take very seriously,” Franke said. “They look forward to this game all year. I didn’t have to give a pre-game speech this week, these kids came out of the locker room ready. In a rivalry game, you want to see your team play with emotion, play with intention. And, right from the start of the game, that is what we did.
“I have nothing but respect for (Central) coach Tony Agresta, he is a great coach. We respect Central as a school and as a rival.”
Dominic Bouscher, who has been a big part of the Red Knights’ turnaround in the second half of the season, had another big all-purpose night.
The sophomore, who entered the night with kick return scores in back-to-back games, returned an interception 60 yards for a touchdown and hauled in a 30-yard pass for another score. He also had an 82-yard run that set up another score.
He ran for 127 yards on five carries and hauled in four passes for 112 and a score, giving him 239 yards of offense on just nine touches.
“Dom Bouscher is getting better every single time he steps on the football field in many different ways,” Franke said. “Offense, defense and special teams, he is a threat every time he steps on the field, and he is proving that. He had a hand injury that kept him out as a freshman (last year), so really, he is just getting back into football.
“We’re really excited about the future that he has. He is a dynamic athlete and he’s only going to get better from here.”
Shane Keenan also had a big night on both sides of the ball for the Red Knights, as he ran for a 1-yard score, hauled in a 25-yard touchdown, returned a fumble 65 yards for another score and ran for and threw for a pair of two-point conversions.
Kam Baker racked up 80 yards on 12 carries, finding the endzone three times for Toronto. Aiden Mick went 8 of 11 passing for 165 yards and two touchdowns.
Catholic Central’s lone score came on the final play of the second quarter, an untimed down because of a defensive foul, as Andrew Dorsey fired a back-shoulder pass to Tommy Pergi just inside the pylon.
Dorsey led Central with 59 rushing yards, throwing for 38 yards.
“I’m proud of my young kids,” was the only comment Central coach Anthony Agresta had to offer after the game.
According to Joe Eitel’s unofficial rankings, Toronto will either finish No. 11 or 12 in the region, which will send the Red Knights on the road next Saturday to open the playoffs.
Toronto will find out the when and where over the weekend, but the Red Knights will be going in with plenty of confidence.
Catholic Central, also according to Joe Eitel, appeared late Friday it was going to finish 17 in the Region 25 and miss the playoffs by one spot.
Toronto 59, Catholic Central 7
Catholic Central 0-7-0-0 – 7
Toronto 20-20-13-6 – 59
T: Keenan 1 run (Keenan run) 7:59
T: Keenan 33 pass from Mick (run failed) 5:05
T: Baker 8 run (run failed) :18
T: Wiegand 3 run (Kick failed) 7:21
T: Bouscher 60 INT return (pass failed) 5:33
T: Baker 2 run (Filby pass from Keenan) :44
CC: Pergi 14 pass from Dorsey (McGinnis kick) :00
T: Bouscher 30 pass from Mick (Fancher kick) 11:32
T: Baker 10 run (kneel) :42
T: Keenan 65 fumble return (kneel) 9:07
RUSHING: Catholic Central 28-144 (Seditz 9-12; Dorsey 13-59; Pergi 2-25; Rusciano 2-41; Lamantia 3-7); Toronto 27-241-5TD (Mick 3-3; Nett 3-18; Baker 12-80-3TD; Keenan 2-4-TD; Bouscher 5-127; Wiegand 1-3-TD; Dickinson 1-6).
PASSING: Catholic Central 6-15-38-TD-2INT (all by Dorsey); Toronto 8-11-165-2TD (all by Mick).
RECEIVING: Catholic Central 6-38 (Pergi 3-36-TD; Seditz 1-(-2); Lamantia 1-0; Toriscelli 1-4); Toronto 8-165-2TD (Bouscher 4-112-TD; Keenan 1-25-TD; Filby 1-14; Wiegand 2-14).
FIRST DOWNS: Catholic Central 8; Toronto 10.
PENALTIES-YARDS: Catholic Central 1-5; Toronto 9-95.
FUMBLES-LOST: Catholic Central 3-1; Toronto 1-0.
PUNTS-AVERAGE: Catholic Central 2-4; Toronto 0-0.