Football wins first Post-season Game since 1935 season, 18-17

Football wins first Post-season Game since 1935 season, 18-17

Football wins first Post Season Game since 1935 season, 18-17

November 22, 2008

BALTIMORE, MD.-- The 2008 CUA football team has accomplished what this year's seniors had set out to do as freshmen...take the team to the postseason and win a game.

Prior to today, CUA football had only recorded post season games in 1936 (1935 season), 1939, and then from 1997-99.  In five event, CUA walked away with only one victory, the 1936 Orange Bowl, when CUA upset Mississippi, 20-19.

When this year's senior class were seniors in high school, the Cardinals finished the season 0-10.  As seniors, the team played through and accomplished a feat that has been accomplished only three times, nine wins in a single season.  It was also accomplished during the '97-'99 playoff run when CUA finished 10-1, 10-1, 9-2, respectively.

CUA jumped out to an early seven point lead when Miles Sabrick (Douglassville, Pa./Reading Central Catholic) was on the receiving end of Keith Ricca's (Poolesville, Md./St. John's Prospect Hall) 70-yard deep strike with 12:05 left in the first quarter.  The play was CUA's first from scrimmage.

The Cardinals extended their lead with a 19 yard field goal from Joseph Owens (Blackwood, N.J./Paul VI) with 4:48 left before the break. 

CUA secured that 10-0 advantage until 12:11 left in the third quarter when Alex Lachman converted on a 43 yard field goal with the wind at his back.

Andrew Kase then capped a 14-play, 60 yard drive that consumed 4:41 off the clock in the fourth quarter, with a seven yard rushing touchdown to knot the game at 10.

What happened next was nothing short of spectacular.  After seven plays and 48 yards, Keith Ricca had the offense within a yard of the goal line when a broken play forced Ricca to make a break for the end zone.  At the one yard line Ricca was stood up and stripped by Tom O'Neill.  The ball popped high in the air and was caught by Mike Todisco in the end zone.  Rather than simply taking a knee and the ball at the 20, Todisco did what would have been considered stupid had it not worked out the way it did.  Todisco ran the ball out of the end zone and past all of the CUA offense and into the end zone for the longest possible play in college football, a 100 yard return for a touchdown.

With a seven point lead the Blue Jays kicked off to Nick Olivero (Fairfax, Va./W.T. Woodson) who returned the ball 25 yards to the CUA 43.  The teams exchanged punts and ended up giving CUA the ball with 2:31 left on the clock at the Johns Hopkins 48 yard line. 

Ricca converted on a third and ten to Mike Smith (Silver Spring, Md./The Bullis School) then on back-to-back receptions Ryan McManus (Malvern, Pa./Malvern Prep) the ball sat back at the JHU 1 yard line.  Seemingly unaffected by their luck the last time the Cardinals were at this spot, Ricca handed off to Stevie Hendley (Annandale, Va./Bishop O'Connell) for a one yard touchdown.

Rather than keeping to tradition and playing for overtime, head coach Dave Dunn went for two and was not disappointed.  Ricca found Andrew Buis (Gaithersburg, Md./Gaithersburg) in the back of the endzone and the Cardinals took an 18-17 lead with 1:04 left on the clock.

Most would assume that it would come down to a deep pass from the Blue Jays at time was expiring, but this game couldn't end that way.  The ensuing kickoff was fumbled by the returner and CUA fell on the ball at the JHU 18 yard line.  Stevie Hendley rushed for two yards forcing the Blue Jays to call a time out.  After the time out Hendley was given the ball again but was hit in the backfield and lost the ball. 

With 1:15 left on the clock JHU was given another chance.  Eight plays later the Blue Jays were poised to at least attempt a last second field goal into the steady wind.  Tyler Porco dropped back to pass with just over 10 seconds left in the game and tried to connect with his receiver deep down the left sideline.  The ball was picked off by Dylan O'Shea (Westport, Conn./Staples) with 6.8 seconds left and CUA simply took a knee and secured the first post season victory in more than 70 years.

Ricca finished the day 25 of 47 for 283 yards and one touchdown while Dean Petrone (Hamilton, N.J./The Hun School), who was also named Most Outstanding Player of the game, finished with 13 tackles, 5.0 tackles for loss, and 2.5 sacks.  His tackles for loss accounted for 22 yards, while his sacks accounted for 16.  Eight of his tackles were solo hits.

CUA finishes the season with a league high record of 9-2, passing for over 3,300 yards offensively, and defensively forcing 30 turnovers.