Flashes fall from ranks of unbeatens at Mize, 6-0

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 14, 2002

[10/12/02]MIZE Mize’s pregame banner asked how long St. Aloysius’ undefeated record would last.

The answer was 48 minutes.

The Region 4-1A playoff picture turned into an open race as Mize (5-2, 3-1) beat the Flashes 6-0 Friday night.

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The Flashes’ (6-1, 3-1) vaunted running attack of Greg Smith (16 attempts for 32 yards) and Michael Head (10 attempts for 52 yards) was smothered by the Bulldogs’ defense for a season-low in yards and St. Al was outgained 253-173 in total offense.

“All we needed was a couple big plays,” Flashes coach Jim Taylor said. “I just knew we would get them, but every time we got an opportunity, we would hurt ourselves.”

The Flashes started strong on their first drive, using Chad Cox’s 45-yard pass to Michael Engle to establish field position at the Bulldogs’ 18. But three consecutive plays netted minus-7 yards, and a delay of game penalty turned a promising field goal opportunity into a 47-yard miss by Cass Dodgen.

The Bulldogs punted on two consecutive possessions until a Flashes’ fumble on their own 17 provided Mize with a window of opportunity. Jason Ducksworth (16 carries for 95 yards) crashed through the defense on the following play for a 17-yard scoring run and a 6-0 lead after a botched extra point.

“We probably gave them the touchdown on the fumble down there,” Taylor said.

“That’s probably my fault because other than that, we played very well.”

Mize followed the touchdown with an onside kick and the teams traded punts until Walker Hengst intercepted a pass to give the Flashes the ball on the Bulldogs’ 48 with 35 seconds left in the first half.

Cox completed a 22-yard pass to Austin Golding, but after a Flashes’ timeout, Cox was sacked to end the half with his team trailing 6-0.

“St. Aloysius has got a good ballclub and has improved dramatically since last year,” Mize coach Kenny Robinson said. “It came down to one touchdown.”

The second half turned into a battle of field position as both teams struggled on offense. The Flashes’ defense came alive 5 seconds into the fourth quarter by recovering a fumble to stop a long Bulldog drive on their own 28.

The Flashes then drove 60 yards, but were stopped two yards short on a fourth-and-8. On the final drive, St. Al drove to the Bulldogs’ 32-yard line, but a penalty and lost yardage forced the Flashes into a fourth-and-17.

“I saw something in there I hadn’t seen for five years,” Taylor said.

“They came out and proved we can play and we can line up with anyone.”