John Car­roll gets past crosstown ri­val BW

The Morning Journal (Lorain, OH) - - SPORTS - By Mark Podol­ski mpodol­ski@news-her­ @mpodo on Twit­ter

Rick Finotti re­ceived a game ball from his John Car­roll foot­ball team on Sept. 16.

It sig­ni­fied his first vic­tory as coach of the Blue Streaks af­ter a 24-21 win over crosstown ri­val Bald­win Wal­lace that se­cured the Cuya­hoga Gold Bowl tro­phy for a fifth straight sea­son.

Finotti might have handed the ball off to two of his play­ers, run­ning back Sam Kukura of Kirt­land, and de­fen­sive back Mike Con­nick of Chardon.

They came up huge late and were in­stru­men­tal in JCU’s Ohio Ath­letic Con­fer­ence win.

Finotti and the staff lit­er­ally handed the ball off to Kukura, who picked up key chunks of yards in the fourth quar­ter to help spark the Blue Streaks’ fi­nal scor­ing drive, which re­sulted in the game’s fi­nal points — a 21-yard field goal by Matt Danko.

Then Con­nick’s big play, an in­ter­cep­tion of BW quar­ter­back Jake Hud­son, capped the win. The Chardon grad made the play deep in JCU ter­ri­tory with un­der a minute to play.

“I kind of had trou­ble in prac­tice all week break­ing on the ball. But I saw the ball go up and I took off as fast as I can and tried to make a play,” said Con­nick. “(Starter Ray Brewster) went down, and I had to go in there and help the team win.”

A kneel down by QB An­thony Moeglin, an­other of JCU’s he­roes, se­cured the win, but Con­nick’s big play fill­ing in for the starter Brewster, who went out of the game with an in­jury, caught the at­ten­tion of Fi- notti.

Con­nick be­gan pre­sea­son camp fourth on the team’s depth chart, but he earned his way on the field with solid prac­tices, said Finotti. His game-sav­ing pick had his coach all smiles after­ward.

“Great catch. Un­be­liev­able catch. It was in­cred­i­ble,” said Finotti.

“Mike Con­nick’s one of those guys that just does ev­ery­thing right. He works so hard. I’m so proud of him.”

With the game tied, 21-21, mid­way through the fourth quar­ter, the Blue Streaks drove 57 yards in 13 plays in more than six min­utes to the BW 4. They even­tu­ally set­tled for the Danko field goal, and that proved to be enough.


John Car­roll’s Sam Kukura fights for yardage against Bald­win Wal­lace.

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