LANCASTER — The best news for the Notre Dame Titans on Saturday night was that a long night was at least, mercifully, made much shorter.
Trailing 48-0 at halftime to the host Fisher Catholic Irish, both head coaches and the game officials agreed to shorten the second half to two four-minute running-clock quarters.
Yes, you heard that correctly, as unheard of it as it may seem.
But at least the Titans took some advantage of that shortened second half, which lasted exactly 20 minutes in real time, unlike what the undefeated Irish did to them for the first 24 minutes of actual time on the clock.
An undermanned Notre Dame squad was simply overwhelmed by Fisher Catholic, as the Irish amassed the first 55 points en route to a 55-6 rout in a non-league tilt inside Lancaster’s Fulton Field.
“We got exposed tonight,” said Notre Dame coach Bob Ashley. “Our youth got exposed and our lack of being physical was exposed. You can’t be that way up against a team as good as Fisher Catholic is. Our hats are off to them. They played the game the way it is supposed to be played.”
The loss left the Titans win-less in three games, as they have now been outscored a whopping 130-12.
And, thanks to the decision to shorten Saturday night’s affair, it could have been worse.
In fact, two penalties on Fisher Catholic negated first-quarter scores, including a 60-yard punt return by Alex Smith.
The Irish scored on all eight of its possessions, and needed just one play to post all the points it would need for the win.
It finished with 55 including 48 first-half points, seven of which were off the foot of placekicker Ollie Hill.
The Irish amounted 371 rushing yards on 29 attempts, scoring seven of its eight touchdowns on the ground, including two apiece by Trey Fabrocini (41 and 12 yards), Nick Krooner (17 and 11) and Connor Swartz (two and nine).
It hit for 299 yards on 21 rushes in the first half, as the eight-minute continuous-clock second half featured Fisher running the ball eight times for 72 yards, including a 3-yard score by Caden McColley with only two-and-a-half minutes remaining.
Seven separate ball-carriers toted at least twice for 13 yards, as Fabrocini led the way with 88 yards on five carries and McColley chipped in with 84 on six.
Fisher Catholic quarterback Kaden Starcher completed both of his pass attempts for 26 yards, with both passes coming in the first half’s final 5:53.
Colton Yeager made the first reception for 22 yards, then Starcher found Swartz for a four-yard touchdown toss to complete the first-half scoring with just six seconds left.
In scoring those 48 first-half points, the Irish forced the Titans into two lost fumbles and four three-and-out punting situations, as Notre Dame didn’t cross midfield until late in the first quarter on its fourth possession.
When it did, it was an 11-play, 46-yard drive that picked up three first downs, but unfortunately it ended when a measurement marked the Titans just inches shy of another first down on 4th-and-6 at the Irish 30.
The Titans averted the shutout with just a minute and eight seconds remaining, when Beau Hobbs scored on an 11-yard run.
On the two plays prior, Notre Dame’s only others of the shortened second half, Logan Emnett gained six yards to the Irish 48 before going for 37 to the 11.
The Titans’ touchdown on Saturday was only their second score all season – with the other being a 2-yard run by quarterback Jake McGuire in the season-opening loss against Southern.
Those two extra touches allowed Emnett to finish with 73 yards on 10 carries, as Hobbs had 10 carries for 17 yards.
McGuire rushed four times for 11 yards, and did not complete either of his two pass attempts.
Fisher Catholic collected 19 first downs to Notre Dame’s six, as the Titans ran 26 first-half plays for 52 yards.
Following a three-and-out on Notre Dame’s opening possession, Fisher Catholic’s Fabrocini took a toss sweep almost untouched 41 yards just a minute and 45 seconds in.
Hill’s extra point, the first of his eight attempts, made it 7-0 – and the rout was
The Titans fumbled on the first play following, and Krooner capped a three-play flag-filled Fisher Catholic series with his 17-yard run.
Speaking of 17, that was the number of healthy Titans that could have possibly played on Saturday night, as Notre Dame’s numbers only opened the year at 25.
At least, mercifully, the Titans’ long night was made shorter with the second half.
“We have to get tougher up front, just compete every play, and hopefully gain more experience as the season goes on. We’re trying to get all of our young kids older,” said Ashley.
The Titans return home, and return to non-league action, on Friday night against Fayetteville.
Notre Dame 0 0 0 6 – 6
Fisher Catholic 21 27 0 7 – 55
FC — Trey Fabrocini, 41-yard run (Ollie Hill kick), 10:15, 1st (7-0 FC)
FC — Nick Krooner, 17-yard run (Ollie Hill kick), 8:13, 1st (14-0 FC)
FC — Connor Swartz, 2-yard run (Ollie Hill kick), 4:19, 1st (21-0 FC)
FC — Trey Fabrocini, 12-yard run (Ollie Hill kick), 9:52, 2nd (28-0 FC)
FC — Nick Krooner, 11-yard run (Ollie Hill kick), 8:13, 2nd (35-0 FC)
FC — Connor Swartz, 9-yard run (kick failed), 3:49, 2nd (41-0 FC)
FC — Connor Swartz, 4-yard pass from Kaden Starcher (Ollie Hill kick), :06, 2nd (48-0 FC)
FC — Caden McColley, 3-yard run (Ollie Hill kick), 2:32, 4th (55-0 FC)
ND — Beau Hobbs, 11-yard run (kick failed), 1:08, 4th (55-6 FC)
First downs 6 19
Plays from scrimmage 29 31
Rushes-yards 27-106 29-371
Passing yards 0 26
Total yards 106 397
Cmp-Att-Int. 0-2-0 2-2-0
Fumbles-lost 3-2 0-0
Penalties-yards 2-20 11-87
Punts-average 4-24.75 0-0
RUSHING —Notre Dame: Logan Emnett 10-73, Beau Hobbs 10-17 TD, Jake McGuire 4-11, Austin Vaughters 2-5, Team 1-0; Fisher Catholic: Trey Fabrocini 5-88 2TD, Caden McColley 6-84 TD, Nick Krooner 4-58 2TD, Kaden Starcher 2-53, Connor Swartz 5-39 2TD, Alex Smith 3-36, Cole Nepa 4-13
PASSING — Notre Dame: Jake McGuire 0-2-0-0; Fisher Catholic: Kaden Starcher 2-2-0-26 TD
RECEIVING — Notre Dame: none; Fisher Catholic: Colton Yeager 1-22, Connor Swartz 1-4 TD