Villa Angela-St. Joseph coach John Storey had a flashback to the 1989 state championship game the Vikings won over Fostoria during the closing moments of Saturday’s game against NCL White foe Holy Name.
And it wasn’t just because the ’89 team was being honored at halftime to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the title team.
VASJ senior linebacker Mar-Cel English stopped a potential game-winning two-point conversion run in overtime by the Green Wave to preserve a 21-20 win at Sparky DiBiasio Stadium.
The stellar defensive play by English capped a furious rally in the final minutes by the Vikings (4-2), who tied the game with 20 seconds left on a touchdown pass from Tre’Von Williams to Brandon Green and then went ahead in OT on pass from Williams to Jacob Stauffer.
“We kept playing and God be good to us, we made the plays when we needed to,” Storey said. “It was almost reminiscent of our great stand in the state championship game in 1989 and the team was here tonight. Mar-Cel has only been playing linebacker a few weeks. It was a great win.”
In 1989, St. Joseph won the state championship, 21-14, over Fostoria at Ohio Stadium in Columbus keyed by a goal-line defensive stand. Facing a fourth-and-goal on St. Joseph's 1-yard line in the third quarter, Fostoria handed the ball to Brian Hernandez. But linebackers Scott Petche, Marc Wertenberger and Bill Splete stopped the fullback a foot behind the line of scrimmage. The moment came back to Storey after watching the Vikings hold in overtime against Holy Name after the Green Wave had pulled to within 21-20 in overtime.
VASJ forced overtime after taking advantage of short field following a punt and Williams hitting Green with a fade pass in the back of the end zone with time winding down in regulation. Holy Name (2-4) had taken the lead with 4:40 remaining on Shakief Seymour’s second TD run of the night.
In overtime, Williams hit Stauffer for a touchdown and the Green Wave answered quickly with a TD pass to slice the deficit to one point. Holy Name opted to go for 2 and the win, but English and the defensive front held to preserve the victory.
“They pretty much were running the same play and I just threw my body in front of it,” English said. “This is my senior season and we want to make the playoffs. We want to go out on top, all of us, we don’t want this to be a season of regret so I was happy to thrown my body out there and try to make a play.”
After a 7-7 first half and a scoreless third quarter, Holy Name appeared to make the play to win the game when Seymour scored on a run to take a seven-point lead. The Green Wave were unable to run out the clock, and VASJ took advantage in the closing seconds on the pass from Williams to Green and the subsequent point after to tie the game and force OT.
The Vikings got the ball first and scored in the extra session on a pass from Williams to Stauffer. Holy Name responded with a touchdown, but the 2-point conversion was stopped by English and company to seal the dramatic win.
“Give Holy Name credit for going down and scoring and making some plays, but our guys kept playing and it is a great win,” Storey said. “What a shot of adrenaline and momentum this is for us.”
A TD pass from Williams to Marvelle Ross tied the game following a Holy Name fumble late in the first half.
The 1989 state championship team for St. Joseph was honored at halftime.