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Yo. Christian takes down JFK

November 3, 2012
By TIM CLEVELAND - Tribune Chronicle ( , Underthelights

WARREN - Entering Friday night's Division VI regional quarterfinal game, it was obvious the key to the game was whether Youngstown Christian's defense could contain the John F. Kennedy offense.

That question was answered in the affirmative, as Youngstown Christian held JFK to just 73 yards rushing and had eight sacks - including four by KaeVon Green - and held on for a 20-14 victory at Mollenkopf Stadium.

"He's not the reigning defensive player of the year for nothing," Youngstown Christian coach Brian Marrow said of Green. "It's on him and it's also on the team. His brother (DreVon) was coming, Tymere (Dubose, who had a sack) was coming. Everyone in the middle and up front, they just come hard.

Article Photos

For the Tribune Chronicle / Michael Taylor
John F. Kennedy’s Carl Zallow is tackled by Youngstown Christian’s KaeVon Green for a short gain during a game on Friday night.

"I just love these guys to death. JFK is a tough team. We knew that coming in. We're very fortunate to get a win, especially with what happened at the end. My heart's still racing right now."

Green said preparation was the key to his team's success against Kennedy.

"It all came from practice this whole week," he said. "We had to work hard at practice. I had my line pushing me to the best of my ability and I came out and showed it tonight."

Kennedy coach Dave Pappada said Naples did a good job in the face of tremendous pressure from the Youngstown Christian defense.

"We had problems protecting him," Pappada said. "Going into the game, we knew how athletic they were on the edges and Dominic did do an outstanding job of getting the ball to our receivers and trying to make something happen for us."

Youngstown Christian (8-2) seemingly had the game clinched when Ryan Grier scored his second touchdown of the game - a 25-yarder that gave Youngstown Christian a 20-7 lead with 11:08 to play.

Kennedy wouldn't quit, as quarterback Dominic Naples brought his team back. After Grier fumbled to give JFK the ball at its own 9 with 5:23 to play, Naples passed JFK to the Youngstown Christian 42.

After consecutive sacks, Kennedy (9-2) faced a third and 26 at its own 42. Naples passed to Mark Fordeley for 6 yards. Facing the possible extinction of his season, Naples converted a clutch pass for 31 yards to Carl Zallow and on the next play, a 21-yarder to Robert Seger for the touchdown. The extra point brought JFK to within 20-14 with 1:39 remaining.

Fordeley recovered the subsequent onside kick, giving Kennedy the ball at Youngstown Christian's 38 with 1:36 to play. Naples rushed for 12 yards and then spiked the ball on the next two plays.

That's when the Youngstown Christian defense stepped up one more time to make its biggest stop of the season. DreVon Green sacked Naples on consecutive plays, forcing JFK to take a timeout with 46 seconds left.

On fourth and 20 on the Youngstown Christian 36, Naples threw a long pass to Zallow into double coverage, but the junior wide receiver wasn't able to make the reception. Naples finished 9 of 17 for 143 yards with an interception.

"It was a tough drive," KaeVon Green said. "My heart was pumping, it was going. At the end, we came out with it."

Pappada said JFK tried to make offensive adjustments in the face of Youngstown Christian's pressure, but it was tough going against its defese.

"We had to make some adjustments as far as formations were concerned," he said. "You try and empty the backfield and one-back sets and stuff like that, when you're a spread team. They sort of controlled that by their athletics. That's a tribute to them. That's a pretty good football team we played there."

Kennedy had a difficult start to the game, as Naples and Alec Rossi each fumbled on the JFK's first two possessions. Youngstown Christian missed a field goal after the first turnover and Grier had a 23-yard touchdown after the second. Grier led all players with 142 yards on 24 carries.

"Grier was running like an animal," Marrow said. "Our offensive line was opening holes and he just ran like a monster."

Pappada said despite the loss, he's proud of the way JFK never gave up.

"Tremendous, tremendous," he said. "The thing I'm most proud of, these guys are first-class kids and they played to the end. That's all you can ask."

Youngstown Christian will next play Malvern, a 21-0 victor over Fairport Harding on Friday night. Marrow has yet to get a feel for either team.

"I don't know too much. We'll have Malvern or Fairport Harding," he said. "We did see a film on Malvern when they played Garaway, but we weren't paying attention to them. They're both tough."



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