Titans blank, crush young Irish


PORTSMOUTH — The Notre Dame Titans needed a home game, needed a runaway victory, and arguably —most importantly —needed some early ills of this 2022 season to go away.

In one fell swoop, and in a tidy two hours time frame for Friday night, the experienced and talented Titans got all three —and in all three phases of the game.

That’s because the Titans had no trouble against an overly young, and highly over-matched, Fisher Catholic Irish club —as Notre Dame did pretty much whatever it wanted in a 55-0 blanking inside an amped-up and still historic Spartan Municipal Stadium.

Yes, that’s correct — as the entire second half was played in less than one hour, and with the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s running-clock rule in full effect.

The Notre Dame reserves played the entire yet scoreless fourth quarter, as the Titans’ true turnaround from a winless season three years ago continues —the same year in which Fisher Catholic clocked the Titans 55-6 at Lancaster’s Fulton Field.

Now, on Friday night, it was Notre Dame and its seniors the ones driving 55 —as the Titans made it two consecutive over the like private-school Irish, having won 35-10 a year ago with a dominant second half.

This time, Notre Dame recovered an Irish fumble on the third play from scrimmage —and Wyatt Webb completed a 26-yard touchdown pass to a wide open Myles Phillips on the first play following, kick-starting the Titans’ total stranglehold for Friday night.

The Titans are now 1-2, after opening-week and long road-trip losses at Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy (42-24) and at Berne Union (26-14).

Simply put, Notre Dame definitely didn’t need to be on a bus last week, and above all else —according to veteran head coach Bob Ashley —needed a night like this.

“It felt good to be home, and I think the kids were long overdue to be here and for a win. We had a very nice crowd tonight, it was a great atmosphere and the kids responded well. It was a total team effort in all three phases. That’s something we’ve been lacking the first two weeks, just missing a play here and there. These guys put it together, had a great week of practice and it showed,” said Ashley. “Wyatt Webb had a real nice night throwing the ball, the guys up front did a really nice job blocking, the defense got pressure on the quarterback all night, and Coleman Shaffer kicking extra points did a really good job. The last two weeks have been very difficult after those losses, so I think this was exactly what we needed as a team.”

Honestly, was it ever.

Cody Metzler was injured on the game’s fifth play at CHCA, and may miss the remainder of the season with a leg injury, while Webb was injured in that same CHCA loss — and didn’t play last week against Berne Union.

The Rockets’ quarterback Nate Nemeth burned the Titans to the tune of 217 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 19 carries, as Notre Dame’s 14 points came courtesy in a span of seven minutes —with its second touchdown coming on an 85-yard return of the opening second-half kickoff by Dylan Seison.

Against the now 0-3 Irish, Seison scored twice —his second TD coming on a 20-yard interception return of FC QB Grant Keefer.

Prior to that, the first seven ND TDs were all offensive and on consecutive possessions—including three touchdown tosses by Webb, who completed 8-of-9 passes for 104 yards.

Phillips, who had the Titans’ only offensive TD against Berne Union on a 12-yard pass from freshman Luke Cassidy, was the first of three Webb touchdown-pass recipients —the others being Carter Campbell on an unguarded tight end dump pass from 12 yards, and Seison on a wide receiver screen, which he took in from 28 yards out.

With Campbell (three receptions for 32 yards), Seison (two for 34) and Phillips (two for 31), Webb spread the wealth around.

“We weren’t sure how well Wyatt was going to be with mobility, so if we could throw quick out of the pocket, he would have a better chance at that,” said Ashley. “We let him call a couple audibles at the line, and he did a nice job of picking the coverage he wanted to throw against.”

Gavin Hart had two touchdown runs (12 and 23 yards) and 117 yards on only nine attempts, and Cassidy —in a span of five minutes and eight seconds in the middle two quarters —dashed for paydirt runs of 35 and 38 yards.

Only two Titan scoring drives, the second which spanned seven plays and 72 yards and the third which covered 11 plays and 50 yards, were longer than three plays —and consumed at least four-and-a-half minutes off the clock.

Coleman Shaffer successfully made seven of eight extra-point kicks, his only miss coming on his third try —which clanged off the right upright.

Keefer was sacked several times by the Titan defense, as —before he was injured in the second half —he rushed seven times for minus-38 yards, while completing 6-of-11 passes for 70 yards with two interceptions.

Notre Dame swarmed Fisher Catholic for minus-51 yards rushing on 19 totes, as both teams ran 34 plays from scrimmage —but the Titans tallied 16 first downs to the Irish’s three.

The Titans punted just once — in the fourth quarter — compared to five for Fisher Catholic, outgained the Irish by over 200 total yards (326-24), and only allowed the Irish to cross midfield twice.

Perhaps the highlight for Fisher Catholic was its final punt, a 57-yard second-half attempt — which rolled dead at the Notre Dame 15.

The Irish were just in Scioto County a week ago on Friday night —and were shut out at Green by a count of 40-0.

Speaking of green, the Titans travel again in non-league action this week —with a road show at undefeated Meigs Eastern appearing on the docket.

“Another long road trip again, and I think Eastern is big up front, so we will HAVE to play well once again up front on both sides to have any chance against these guys,” said Ashley. “But we challenged these guys this week to play well up front, and I am proud of the way they responded. We’ll try to correct mistakes because there’s still a lot we need to clean up out there, but we’ll prepare and get ready for the road again next week.”

For now, though, a much-needed home win was exactly what the Titans ordered.

* * *

Fisher Catholic 0 0 0 0 —0

Notre Dame 14 27 14 0 —55

ND — Myles Phillips, 26-yard pass from Wyatt Webb (Coleman Shaffer kick), 10:56, 1st (7-0 ND)

ND — Gavin Hart, 12-yard run (Coleman Shaffer kick), 4:11, 1st (14-0 ND)

ND — Carter Campbell, 12-yard pass from Wyatt Webb (kick failed), 7:43, 2nd (20-0 ND)

ND — Dylan Seison, 28-yard pass from Wyatt Webb (Coleman Shaffer kick), 4:58, 2nd (27-0 ND)

ND — Luke Cassidy, 35-yard run (Coleman Shaffer kick), 2:38, 2nd (34-0 ND)

ND — Gavin Hart, 23-yard run (Coleman Shaffer kick), :20, 2nd (41-0 ND)

ND — Luke Cassidy, 38-yard run (Coleman Shaffer kick), 9:30, 3rd (48-0 ND)

ND — Dylan Seison, 20-yard interception return (Coleman Shaffer kick), 6:48, 3rd (55-0 ND)

Team Statistics


First downs 3 16

Scrimmage plays 34 34

Rushes-yards 19-(-51) 25-222

Passing yards 75 104

Total yards 24 326

Cmp-Att-Int. 7-15-2 8-9-0

Fumbles-lost 3-1 1-0

Penalties-yards 3-20 5-30

Punts-Ave. 5-34.6 1-27


Individual Leaders

RUSHING Fisher Catholic: Grant Keefer 7-(-38), Jack White 10-(-6), Jake Welsh 2-(-7); Notre Dame: Gavin Hart 9-117 2TD, Luke Cassidy 3-73 2TD, Bryce McGraw 3-18, Dylan Seison 3-5, Marcellus Woods 3-2, Myles Phillips 2-10, Ethan Kingrey 1-0, Team 1-(-3)

PASSINGFisher Catholic: Grant Keefer 6-11-2-70, Jake Welsh 1-4-0-5; Notre Dame: Wyatt Webb 8-9-0-104 3TD

RECEIVINGFisher Catholic: Bobby Bennett 3-55, Hyde O’Rielley Coffman 3-15, Jack White 1-5; Notre Dame: Carter Campbell 3-32 TD, Dylan Seison 2-34 TD, Myles Phillips 2-31 TD, Eugene Collins 1-7

Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @paulboggssports © 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved

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