Gehlen Catholic football fell in their opening round playoff matchup with third-ranked West Hancock by the score of 38-22 on Friday night.
Going into the matchup, the Jays were heavy underdogs against an Eagle team who had beaten teams by an average of over 40 points per game this season. The Jays were not fazed and proved that by keeping it a two-score game for a large portion of the game. Gehlen Catholic’s 22 points were the second most put up against the Eagles this year trumped only by No. 1 Saint Ansgar. Gehlen Catholic head coach Jeremy Schindler says his guys were ready no matter what the situation was.
West Hancock’s running defense was a staple allowing just 84 yards per game on average to opponents. Gehlen Catholic proceeded to triple that running for 241 yards led by Cole McCarty’s 143 yards and two touchdowns. Coach Schindler says the offensive line got great leverage leaving huge holes to run through.
On the defensive side, Gehlen Catholic had a gameplan and executed it very well. The Jays were going up against an offense that ran the Wing-T and ran it well. Gehlen’s defensive effort forced West Hancock to go to something else, and that something else was quarterback Mitchell Smith. Smith ran for 235 yards and three touchdowns, but Coach Schindler was pleased that his defense forced West Hancock into a “Plan B.”
This year’s run marked just the third instance in which the Jays qualified for the playoffs in three-or-more seasons in a row. This came after starting 0-2 and finishing the year with four wins in six games to make the postseason. Coach Schindler says he was proud of the guys for not giving up on the season and competing until the end.
Gehlen Catholic ends its season at 4-5 overall and graduates nine seniors off the roster. West Hancock improved to 8-1, and they will continue the postseason at eighth-ranked Starmont on Friday night.