RACINE — With University of Wisconsin football coach Paul Chryst watching his potential recruit during the afternoon of Sept. 23 at Horlick High School, Da’Shaun Brown was admittedly not himself and did not play well.
“It humbled me,” the junior quarterback for the St. Catherine’s High School football team said. “It made me think that when someone’s here, I just have to trust myself to play my game.”
Brown remembered that lesson Saturday and the results were historic. In his first game back at Horlick Field since Chryst’s visit, Brown rushed for 402 yards and six touchdowns on just 10 carries — all in the first three quarters — in leading the Angels to a 55-7 Metro Classic Conference victory over Kenosha St. Joseph.
Brown set the unofficial Racine County single-game rushing record with his performance. The previous record was by Waterford’s Bobby Sossaman, who rushed for 376 yards and six touchdowns Oct. 15, 1999 in a 47-14 victory against, ironically enough, St. Catherine’s at Waterford.
“My line makes it easy,” said Brown, who was offered an athletic scholarship from Wisconsin on Sept. 1. “My line blocks everybody, man. It’s just a blessing having a big line in front of you. They’re over 1,000 pounds (as a unit) and they just drive. They’ve got the heart.”
Behind Brown, St. Catherine’s clinched the Metro Classic Conference championship for the sixth time in seven seasons. The Angels will finish the regular season 9-0 overall and 7-0 in the MCC since they will receive a forfeit victory from Catholic Central, its scheduled opponent in the regular-season finale.
Catholic Central announced Sept. 27 it was forfeiting its final three regular-season games because of low numbers.
St. Catherine’s athletic director Mike Arendt said the team will play all home playoff games on the artificial turf at Union Grove High School, with the first likely being on Friday, Oct. 20. There is also a strong possibility, Arendt said, that St. Catherine’s will be moving from Division 5 to Division 4 for the playoffs because of its increased enrollment.
Brown, who rushed for just 52 yards against Whitefish Bay Dominican with Chryst in attendance, had that many just minutes into Saturday’s game.
By the end of the first quarter, he had run for touchdowns of 26, 20 and 67 yards. He followed with scoring runs of 94 and 57 yards in the second quarter and 81 yards in the third.
St. Catherine’s coach Dan Miller gave Brown the rest of the afternoon off after his final touchdown with 4:46 remaining in the third quarter.
“He’s athletic, he’s elusive and he’s just an amazing fast player,” St. Catherine’s left tackle Tim Carthon said. “He’s amazing all around.”
Miller said Brown was helped out by St. Joseph’s focus on containing sophomore running back Isaiah Dodd, who entered the game with 972 yards. Dodd was held to 27 yards on 11 carries, giving him 999 rushing yards for the regular season.
“If they try to take away 4 (Brown), then 3 (Dodd) is going to have a great game,” Miller said. “And if you try and take away 3, then 4 is going to have a big game.
“We told Da’Shaun this week, ‘Hey, you might not have all the stats you had last year, but that’s because you’re the most feared offensive player in our conference.’ He’s who everyone is trying to stop.”
Making Brown’s day all the more complete is he passed for 87 yards, including an 11-yard touchdown pass to William Mueller. He also sacked St. Joseph quarterback Jake Gessert.