The Class D2 No. 4 (Lincoln JS) and No. 5 (Omaha WH) FC Sacred Heart football team appeared at Jug Brown Stadium for the first time this season last Friday and for the second consecutive week earned a blowout victory but also saw another key contributor suffer a major injury.
The Irish were absolutely suffocating defensively, making a tremendous 15 tackles behind Pawnee City’s line of scrimmage for 82 yards in losses. The Indians, 0-2 on the season, finished with a negative-15 yards rushing and 63 total yards of offense for the evening. That, even though just four FCSH players (three underclassmen) played in part of all four quarters.
But it all wasn’t good news, either, as the Irish for the second straight week watched as one of their own was helped off the field, not to return. Last week, 193-pound junior linebacker Austin Ahern in the early going of FCSH’s 60-8 win at Meridian re-injured a back that once sidelined him an entire year in junior high. He didn’t return to that game, didn’t suit up Friday at home and isn’t likely to practice this week. Sophomore back William Morehead met a similarly cruel fate in the opening period against Pawnee City, suffering a knee injury that positively ends his 2015 campaign.
Rough stuff for the young athletes, but the games will go on and if anybody has the depth to weather injuries, it’s Sacred Heart and its 31-man roster. And most of those guys turned in multiple plays to celebrate in the home opener. Five different guys scored touchdowns and five had sacks, led by senior Reggie Johansen’s trio of sacks for 24 yards in Indian losses. Junior Michael Keithley sacked the QB twice and Nathan Bird, Bryant Jorn and Brandon Scheitel all dropped the PC signal-caller behind the line of scrimmage. Senior Henry Arnold didn’t do a sack dance, but did pick off a pass and recover a fumble.
Offensively, after an opening drive three-and-out, FCSH reeled off six consecutive scoring drives (and took the opening kick after halftime all the way back) – the last one coming with 1:03 to play in the third quarter.
Senior quarterback Bailey Witt put his team on the board with a 28-yard TD run with 2:14 to play in the first quarter. Witt would later add a two-point conversion pass to Henry Arnold (following a one-yard TD run by sophomore back Sean Arnold), but otherwise it was a quick and painless work shift for the Irish signal-caller. Witt rushed just four times (at 14.8 per) and completed 4-of-9 passes for 75 yards and one score. After sophomore Christian Harring scored on a 12-yard run (followed by the Witt conversion pass to Henry Arnold), the Irish led 24-0. Inside of the final minute of the second quarter, Witt marched his team 38 yards in eight plays, throwing to junior Noah Keller for a six-yard TD as time expired. Sean Arnold, who rushed six times for 56 yards, took the opening kickoff of the second half all the way home, 74 yards for a score, adding to his TD run and pair of conversion runs. He also made nine stops defensively.
Harring (five carries, team-high 84 yards; team-high 12 tackles) tacked on his first conversion two-pointer and it was 40-0 just 12 seconds into the second half. He would later break a 56-yarder on Sacred Heart’s first offensive snap of the half, coming with 2:35 to play in the third quarter, to make it 46-0.
Moments later, after Pawnee City fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Henry Arnold recovered, junior Cameron Barker went in from the one-yard line and that was it, 52-0 FCSH.
While the Irish are off this Friday, Johnson will hit the road and play two-time defending state champion Exeter-Milligan, which is 2-0 after beating Kenesaw (46-40 in OT and Sterling, 34-16).