Not even history could stand in the way of Jesuit’s first Catholic League victory.
Trey Ragas rushed for 144 yards to move into first place all-time on Shaw’s career rushing list, but it wasn’t enough as Jesuit overpowered Shaw for a 42-14 District 9-5A win Saturday at “Hoss” Memtsas Stadium.
It was a bittersweet moment for the soft-spoken senior running back, who appreciated the moment he shared with Daniel Borne, who held that same mark since 2006 and handed Ragas the game ball after in a symbolic passing of the torch.
“It didn’t feel that great since we lost, but I’m happy I did it,” said Ragas, who surpassed Borne on his 19th carry of the game as the third quarter expired and now has 4,595 yards in his Shaw career.
“I never thought about the all-time rushing record; I didn’t know they kept track of that. (I’ll remember) all the fun times I had at practice, at games, at school with my friends and where I came from when I moved to Shaw.”
Not to be outdone, Jesuit’s backfield tandem also made its presence felt. Juniors Connor Prouet and Kai Rozas spearheaded a rushing attack that piled up 253 yards. Prouet finished with 153 yards and three touchdowns covering 31, 10 and 13 yards, and Rozas added 94 yards, including a 1-yard score.
The win snapped a four-game skid for Jesuit (3-5, 1-4), which capitalized with three unanswered touchdowns to open the game and three more to seal it.
“Our offensive line up opened the holes for (Prouet and Rozas), and I think they’d tell you that,” Jesuit coach Mark Songy said. “We played well up front on offense and our backs played real well.”
Trailing by 14 at halftime, the Eagles (4-4, 2-2) opened the third quarter with a 10-play, six-minute scoring drive capped by Matt Keller’s 6-yard touchdown run to cut the deficit to 21-14.
On the ensuing drive, Shaw’s defense was flagged for two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, which allowed Jesuit to double its lead at 28-14.
“We had stupid penalties on us,” Ragas said. “That could’ve changed the game. We could’ve come out on top if we just tied the game there.”
Instead, with momentum in their corner, Jesuit defensive backs Mark Beebe and Matt McMahon each intercepted Keller, and Malachi Hull returned a punt 47 yards for a TD on three of the next four Shaw drives.
The Jays outgained Shaw 365-345, forced a pair of turnovers and received special teams contributions in what Songy called the team’s most complete game in district play.
“It’s the first time where our players played well in all three phases,” he said. “I was waiting for us to play complete games because we haven’t in the last four or five weeks. It’s nice to get one (district win) under our belt.”
Shaw’s a fine football team, but we finally put it together today and played like I thought we could all year.”