RACINE — On an afternoon when Da’Shaun Brown was good, Isaiah Dodd was even better.
Yet, best of all might have been the offensive and defensive lines of the St. Catherine’s High School football team.
Containing Tyler Tenner, the leading rusher in Racine County, for most of the afternoon and producing 410 yards on offense, the Angels defeated Racine Lutheran 33-14 in a Metro Classic Conference showdown between two previously unbeaten teams at Horlick Field Saturday afternoon.
Dodd, a 5-foot-7, 160-pound sophomore, zigged, zagged and pounded for 187 yards and two touchdowns in a nearly three-hour game game that was frequently delayed by 21 penalties for 140 yards, plus several players cramping up on the field.
A big key for the Angels was keeping Tenner, who entered the game with 631 yards and 11 touchdowns, under wraps. Tenner was held to 29 yards on 14 carries in the first half and finished with 118 after breaking off a 42-yard run in the second half.
“We wanted to contain Tenner,” St. Catherine’s junior free safety Luke Letsch said. “We didn’t want him to get outside. That’s why the safeties and linebackers were responsible for him. Guys stepped up and I think we played pretty well today.”
The same was true on offense, where a line of tackles Tim Carthron and Guy Van Dis, guards Austin Tuttle and Gavin Moriarity and center Mike DeGuire was exceptional. Those linemen average 288 pounds each and they cleared enough space for the Angels to rush for 318 yards and average 6.6 yards per attempt.
The performance of Dodd served as a cautionary tale for future opponents. Key on Brown, who passed and ran for 184 yards Saturday, and Dodd has the capability to dominate behind that line.
“We’re in a situation where we have a very talented tailback in Isaiah Dodd,” St. Catherine’s coach Dan Miller said. “He’s put on some weight and he has such great vision. He was going backside and finding holes and dancing with power in the lanes. His vision is improving every game.”
Dodd and D.J. Carter combined for three touchdowns in the first half as the Angels (4-0, 2-0 MCC) took a 21-7 lead. In the second half, Carter and Demarion Cobb each had a touchdown run.
Lutheran coach Scott Smith, whose team defeated St. Catherine’s 46-39 in double overtime last season, did what he could to generate offense. For the second straight week, he occasionally moved quarterback Josh Hess to wide receiver, where the playmaker had six touchdowns among his 10 receptions last season.
But while the Crusaders (3-1, 1-1 MCC) produced 334 yards, only Bruce Cosey was able to get into the end zone. He scored on a 19-yard run in the first quarter that briefly tied the score at 7-7, and caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from Hess with 4:03 left.
“We had stupid mistakes we have to eliminate,” said Smith, who turned 57 Saturday. “I think we probably had six or seven offsides penalties and that’s stupid. We have to tackle better.
“But my hat’s off to St. Catherine’s. They tackled much better than what we did. And do you know what? They deserved to win and we didn’t. That’s the bottom line.”
When asked about Dodd’s performance, Smith conceded that the Crusaders might have paid too much attention to Brown, who was offered a scholarship from the University of Wisconsin on Sept. 1.
“That’s probably my fault,” Smith said. “ I was trying to keep Da’Shaun in the pocket more and not let him get outside. In the second half, I thought we played a little better. We went back to basic defense and saw what we could do. But part of that was my fault and we didn’t do we were supposed to do.”
Everything has sure been working for the Angels, who are ranked ninth among medium enrollment programs in the most recent Associated Press state poll. St. Catherine’s is off to a 4-0 start for the first time since 2007, when it went 11-2 and advanced to the Division 5 semifinals.
With Brown still rounding into form – he has rushed for two touchdowns in four games – and the Angels coming on, it could be a season to remember.
“We could be state bound,” said Dodd, whose team has outscored its opponents 197-62. “We could go all the way.”
Added Letsch, “If we keep working at it because nothing is free, we could go to state. We just have to keep grinding.”