St. Al KOs St. Joe in overtime

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 5, 2009

GREENVILLE — Ryno Martin-Nez’s 2-yard run in overtime lifted St Aloysius to the biggest win in second year coach B.J. Smithhart’s career Friday night.

The winning touchdown by Martin-Nez capped a terrific overall game by the 200-pound senior and keyed the Flashes’ 20-14 victory over the previously unbeaten Greenville-St. Joseph Irish. Both teams are now 2-1.

“I just wanted the ball there in overtime,” Martin-Nez said. He got it three straight times in the Flashes’ overtime series. The St. Al defense got a break when the Irish were called for holding to wipe out a 10-yard TD toss from Derrick Brown to Tyler Kirksey on third-and-goal. Pierson Waring then intercepted Brown in the end zone to end the Irish’s set of downs.

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Martin-Nez, who had 150 yards rushing and two touchdowns, gained four yards on first down. Then came four more on second down before he ended the game with a 2-yard plunge.

Smithhart was overjoyed by his team’s determination.

“This was my biggest win since I’ve been here at St. Al. This was a big one. St. Joseph is in a very tough district, but they play hard and they’ll be in the playoffs. They have more speed than what we saw against Pelahatchie,” Smithhart said.

St. Joe coach John Baker, who commutes from Redwood, some 75 miles away from Greenville, credited the Flashes’ power.

“We got tested there in the fourth quarter and overtime. They got lower than us on the line and that’s our weakness. We’re not big up front,” Baker said.

The Irish are quick and they used it to rally from a 14-0 third quarter deficit. St. Joe’s Kmeon Kingdom keyed the comeback with a game nearly as good as Martin-Nez. His 69-yard kickoff return to set up the Irish’s first score, that coming on a 13-yard run by Kingdom with 5:51 left in the third quarter. Kingdom also ran in the two-point conversion to make it 14-8.

St. Al’s next drive ended on a Regan Nosser interception. The Irish answered by going 66 yards in 10 plays capped by Kingdom’s 10-yard run with eight minutes left. Instead of kicking the PAT for the lead, the Irish went for two and Kingdom was stopped well short on a sweep.

“Our containment was outstanding. Kingdom was fast, but our guys really handled the sweep well,” said St. Al middle linebacker Brendan Beesley.

St. Al came back with Nosser hitting Martin-Nez on a 29-yard screen pass to set up a first-and-10 at the Irish 12 with three minutes left.

After a five-yard penalty, Beesley rammed the ball six yards but lost it on his third twist through the Irish defenders. St. Joe recovered on the 10 with 2:28 remaining.

Kingdom then came up big again. He took a third down screen pass from Brown, stopped dead in his tracks at the 10 and then reversed field, going 51 yards to the Flashes’ 41.

The Irish picked up one more first down to the 24. They tried a 41-yard field goal with 13 seconds left, but the kick was short and wide left.

St. Al had a pair of 79-yard drives to grab a 14-0 lead. Beesley capped the first with a 5-yard run. A 32-yard option run by Nosser was the key play.

Martin-Nez got the second score on a 1-yard run four minutes into the third quarter. Nosser’s 48-yard pass to Luke Burnett helped key the second scoring march. Waring had both PAT kicks.


Contact Jeff Byrd at