Notre Dame staged a herculean defensive effort that included several “red zone” stops, two fumble recoveries and an interception but had little offensive success en route to a 14-0 loss to Bolivar Richburg in varsity football action Thursday night at Van Detta Stadium.
The visiting Wolverines, 3-1, scored on consecutive long drives in the first half and, despite running 63 plays to ND’s 34, failed to score after that as the Irish defense came through time and again with big plays deep in their own territory.
Powered by the senior foursome of quarterback Brayden Ellis and running backs Landon Danaher, Jarrod Polk and Kadin Tompkins, the Allegany County squad ran the ball 56 times for 258 yards.
Polk capped a five-play, 52-yard drive with an 11-yard burst off right tackle with 6:06 left in the opening quarter and, after a Notre Dame punt, Danaher put the finishing touches on a 10-play, 55-yard march with a 21-yard sweep to the left side on the first play of the second quarter.
Senior kicker Hunter Stuck converted both point after touchdown attempts.
The Irish, 1-3, could not run the ball against the Wolverines, with 14 rushing attempts netting minus 11 yards.
Quarterback Jimmy Fanara completed eight of 20 passes for 67 yards – with the biggest gains of 18 and 19 yards to Ryan Fitzpatrick and 22 yards to Evan Cummings. He was intercepted twice in the second half.
Bolivar Richburg’s offense featured a variety of formations. Mixing in misdirection plays and reverses with runs into the middle of the line, the Wolverines chewed up yardage and the clock all night long. The Irish defense, however, did not break as it made big plays to halt otherwise impressive drives.
Linebackers Vin DiRisio (who was named T.F. Brown’s Player of the Game by WBTA Radio (news partner of The Batavian), Andrew Edwards and Cummings, lineman Bryceton Berry and defensive back Hayden Groff led the charge for the Irish. Edwards went to the sidelines after suffering a leg injury late in the third quarter.
Berry recovered a fumble to thwart the visitors’ opening drive, DiRisio was credited with 21 tackles, including many behind the line of scrimmage and also to prevent long gains, while Cummings intercepted a pass on a fourth-and-9 play at the ND 39 in the third quarter and recovered a fumble on second-and-goal from the 1-yard line early in the fourth quarter.
Early in the third quarter, the Irish tackled Danaher for a 12-yard loss on a third-and-1 from the 6-yard line adding to Bolivar Richburg’s futility inside the Notre Dame 20 – which included a pair of missed field goal attempts by Stuck.
In the final minute, with the Irish not trying to stop the clock, Ellis threw two passes into the end zone from the ND 31. The first one was dropped by Polk and the second one was incomplete.
Statistically, Danaher rushed for 112 yards on 23 carries and a touchdown and Polk carried 13 times for 59 yards and a touchdown. Tompkins gained 56 yards on 11 carries. QB Ellis ran seven times for 16 yards and was 3-for-7 passing for 12 yards.
Notre Dame’s next game is at 7 p.m. Oct. 1 at Geneseo.