Bishop McNamara 21
A fumble on a kickoff in the closing minutes of the Fenwick football team’s game against Bishop McNamara on Saturday night at Morton West Stadium in Berwyn capped off a strange week for the Friars.
The mishap came after Fenwick Athletics Director Scott Thies, who replaced head coach Joe DiCanio after DiCanio was apparently let go amid controversy earlier in the week, elected to allow Bishop McNamara to score from the 20-yard line in order to get the ball back with 1:30 left on the clock. Before the touchdown, the Friars were down 14-13. The strategy didn’t pan out as the Friars were handed a 21-13 loss in front of its homecoming crowd.
In a largely defensive battle in both teams’ Catholic League White Division opener, neither squad could find the red zone, let alone the end zone, in the first half.
The Fighting Irish (3-1, 1-0) finally scored in the third when senior quarterback Channing Dolliger connected with senior Ryan Lambert for a 44-yard touchdown pass.
The Friars (1-3, 0-1) found their own stride in the second half with an 11-yard touchdown run by Jack Stibich. The senior finished the game with 109 yards rushing on 22 carries.
But Dolliger struck again in the fourth, this time while playing on defense. He intercepted a pass by Fenwick’s Pat Hart and ran it back for a touchdown to put Bishop Mac up 14-7 with 5:45 left in the game.
On fourth and 12, Hart hit senior John O’Malley (6 catches, 83 yards) for a 34-yard touchdown pass on the ensuing possession, but the extra point was deflected, leaving the Friars trailing 14-13 with 1:50 remaining. Bishop McNamara recovered the onside kick, which eventually led Thies to make the call on allowing the Irish to score.
“I did not foresee them doing that at all,” said Bishop McNamara head coach Rich Zinnani on Fenwick’s decision to allow Irish running back Travis Grant to score untouched from 20 yards out. “There was too much time left for us to take a knee and try to run out the clock. We took the touchdown and the points.”
The Friars will go for their first win in the White Division when they travel to St. Laurence on Friday (7:30 p.m.).
Eric Lutz contributed to this report.