HUBBARD 6 0 8 6 8 28
FENWICK 7 13 0 0 0 20
Taking on great teams like Mt. Carmel and St. Rita all season long, it was ultimately a great player who dashed the Fenwick football team’s playoff aspirations in the first round of the Class 6A playoffs. Hubbard running back Robert Hughes, following the blocks of his mammoth offensive line that averages 315 pounds per man, shredded the Friars’ defense for 201 yards on 29 carries to lead the Greyhounds to a 28-20 overtime victory Saturday night at Gately Stadium.
“Robert Hughes is a great player and deserving of every accolade that he gets,” said Fenwick coach Joe DiCanio. “He’s too big and too strong. He just ran us over.”
With Fenwick protecting a 20-14 lead at the 8:14 mark of the fourth quarter, a Hubbard punt hit the Friars’ Austin Gordon, which was promptly recovered by the Greyhounds. Hughes, a 6-1, 230-pound runner who is being recruited by Notre Dame, Ohio State, Michigan, and several other Division I programs, proceeded to carry the ball three times for 61 yards, including a 10-yard touchdown scamper, to tie the score at 20. Fenwick’s Pat Mulhern blocked his second extra point attempt to preserve the tie score.
In overtime, Hughes continued his clutch play with a 1-yard touchdown run. Hubbard quarterback Sean Cattouse added a 2-point conversion to give the Greyhounds a 28-20 advantage.
“I knew they were going to go for two,” DiCanio said. “We wanted to keep leverage on the quarterback (Cattouse), but we just ran out of gas. We were on the field too much defensively.”
On the Friars’ first and final possession in overtime, quarterback Brien Rooney was sacked and threw two incomplete passes to end the game.
Bolstered by their superior size and speed, Hubbard (8-2) scored 22 unanswered points in the second half and extra period. The Friars enjoyed the best of times during the opening 24 minutes of play, holding a 20-6 lead at the intermission.
Although he did not practice all week, Rooney showed no ill effects of the sprained knee injury he suffered during the Mt. Carmel game. In fact, the elusive Rooney (96 passing yards, 33 rushing yards) tossed a 23-yard touchdown pass to Patrick Cahill to put the Friars up 7-0 with 8:19 left in the first quarter. For good measure, he added a brilliant 5-yard reverse field touchdown scramble. Running back Dan Mega (18 carries, 82 yards) capped off the Friars’ scoring on a 4-yard run with 3:34 left in the half.
Nick Caldicott (fumble recovery, interception) led an opportunistic Fenwick defense, which caused six turnovers in the first half.
“I thought we ran the ball pretty well and we played very hard,” DiCanio said. “We dropped four or five passes which we normally don’t do. It’s disappointing, but this game will help us learn to bounce back.”
During a season that has included signature wins over good teams like St. Rita, Loyola and Simeon, Fenwick now focuses on the Prep Bowl playoffs. The Friars will take on the winner of the Loyola-De La Salle game. Fenwick defeated both of these conference foes during the regular season.
“We’ll find out how we respond for the next game,” DiCanio added. “Now, it’s just play football, have fun and see what the season holds.”
Beginning next season, the Friars will switch to a more suitable division in the Catholic League. Fenwick will reside in the White Division, along with St. Laurence, St. Ignatius, Bishop McNamara, and De La Salle.
“We had to find a way to make it fair for the smaller schools, while remaining competitive,” said Fenwick Athletic Director and Catholic League President Mike Curtin.