St. Philip wanted to be tested against a Waldron team that also had yet to lose entering Saturday’s Homecoming game at C.W. Post Field
And the 8-Player Division No. 3-ranked Fighting Tigers were tested for the better part of a quarter before having their way with the visiting Spartans in a 55-16 victory.
With the victory, St. Philip (7-0, 5-0 Southern Michigan 8-Man Football League) secured another conference title.
“Third year in a row of league champs,” said St. Philip head coach Dave Downey. “That’s a goal that we had back in August and they accomplished that goal, and we have a few more that we want to accomplish too.”
After St. Philip senior Brayden Darr opened the scoring with a 35-yard touchdown run on the game’s fourth play from scrimmage, honorable mention Waldron (6-1, 3-1 SM8MFL) used its power running attack to go on a 20-play, 73-yard drive that ended with a 1-yard touchdown run by Tyler Winch. The Spartans were successful on the 2-point conversion, giving them an early 8-7 lead.
From there, the Tigers scored 48 straight points before the Spartans found the endzone against St. Philip’s reserves on the final drive of the contest.
“Waldron is a good football team — you could see that in the first half when they came out and they played physical football,” Downey said. “But then our defensive coordinators (Jack Brown, Marc Pessetti) made a good change and we stopped their running game… (Waldron) will be in the playoffs, we will probably see them again.”
Senior receiver/defensive back David Downey was all over the field for the Fighting Tigers, hauling in three receptions for 84 yards and two touchdowns while adding 16 tackles, an interception and a sack on defense. He also went 7-of-8 on extra points and booted five touchdbacks. To make his day even more special, he was crowned the 2015 Homecoming King at halftime.
“Homecoming usually has a lot of distractions. We tried to stay focused,” David Downey said. “We said the Homecoming game was the height of the entire week and we just wanted to focus on this game.”
Dave Downey, the head coach and father of David Downey, was proud to see his namesake have the big day on the gridiron.
“It’s really gratifying to see your son have a big game plus a Homecoming King,” he said. “I’m really happy for David. He’s worked hard this year, and good things happen when you work hard.”
In the first half, St. Philip junior receiver Drew Lantinga caught a 36-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Brendan Gausselin. Senior receiver Evan Hanna later went uncovered as he streaked down the sideline for a 50-yard touchdown reception.
In the second half, Gausselin plunged in for a 1-yard touchdown run; Downey had touchdown receptions of 63 and 25 yards; and Darr had an 11-yard touchdown run followed by a 74-yard touchdown reception.
Gausselin finished 9-of-12 passing for 300 yards and four touchdowns. Darr had five carries for 57 yards and two touchdowns along with 119 receiving yards and a score. Defensively, Lantinga had 17 tackles and a fumble recovery; senior Trevor Searls had 17 tackles; Darr had 15 tackles; and senior Omar Gaona had 11 tackles. Senior Noah Andrews played a big role in slowing Waldron’s rushing attack, plugging up rushing lanes and finishing with six tackles.
The Fighting Tigers now turn their attention to next week’s game against a Portland St. Patrick team that is 6-1 on the season — the lone blemish being a loss to Waldron in Week 3.
“We’re definitely going right back to work Monday and practicing for Portland,” David Downey said. “They are a good team.”
Nick Buckley can be reached [email protected] or 269-966-0652. Follow him on Twitter:@NickJBuckley