At the end of a game that had 116 points go up on the scoreboard Saturday at Tiger Stadium, Sacred Heart was able to score one more touchdown than the McAuley Catholic Warriors as the Gremlins pulled out a 60-56 win.
Quarterback Trent Lyles accounted for eight of Sacred Heart’s nine touchdowns, including six rushing and two passing.
“The front line did a really good job,” said head coach Ben Lyles. “With a kid like that moving around they never stopped blocking down field for him.”
Nick Cashman scored the other touchdown as he dove up the middle from the 1-yard line to give the Gremlins a 54-48 lead early in the fourth quarter.
Cashman caught a 19-yard touchdown in the second quarter. Lyles’ pass went off of Cal Racey’s hands and into Cashman’s hands in the end zone, making it 28-26 Gremlins with 1:05 remaining in the half.
With offense dominating for both teams, the Gremlins opted for an onside kick in the second quarter after Lyles scored a 35-yard rushing touchdown to give the Gremlins a 22-20 lead.
Cashman recovered the kick but was injured on the play. He would return and get injured again in the third quarter when a McAuley player hit him after the whistle. That player was ejected.
Cashman was able to return once again and was one of the focal points for the Gremlins’ running and passing games and on the defensive side with his tackling.
“He goes hard,” Ben Lyles said. “That’s the thing you’ve got to love about Nick, that’s the thing you’ve got to love about Cal, Kyle (Kennon), Micah (Tanguay), they go hard.”
The Gremlins were able to use defense to extend their lead at the end of the first half.
Sacred Heart forced a four-and-out as Warriors running back Dylan Londo came up just short of the first down on a 4th-and-9.
Sacred Heart took advantage by letting Lyles air it out to Racey down the left sideline for a 38-yard score to give the Gremlins a 34-26 advantage at the break.
After the Warriors and Gremlins traded touchdowns twice in the third quarter, a four-and-out gave the Warriors the ball 38 yards from the goal line.
Quarterback Colin Lowry’s 17-yard run on a 4th-and-3 got McAuley to the 2-yard line and Lowry later ran it in from seven yards out to get the Warriors within two with 1:33 left in the third quarter. Lowry ran it in for two points to tie the game up at 48-48.
Cashman’s 1-yard score came on the ensuing drive and then McAuley’s Simeon Dohmen leaped over a Sacred Heart defensive back in the end zone for a 17-yard reception to tie the game at 54 apiece. Lowry found the 6-2 Dohmen for two points to give McAuley the lead with 7:42 remaining.
A horse-collar penalty set up the Gremlins on the McAuley 21-yard line on the ensuing drive. Cashman started the drive with a 14-yard run and a facemask penalty added five to that. Lyles capped off the drive with a 7-yard score on third down to score the final points of the game.
McAuley’s ensuing drive ended with two straight incompletions to turn the ball over on downs. Sacred Heart ran out the remaining 3:21 off the clock to seal the win.
“I felt like we’re probably in a little bit better shape than them,” Ben Lyles said. “As the game wore on a little bit we were able to make some adjustments.”
Sacred Heart (2-0) will play at Greenfield on Friday.
Jason Strickland can be reached at 660-530-0147 or on Twitter @J_Strick_Sports.