In a game marked by strong defense, numerous false start penalties and fumbles, nine punts and just one completed pass, the visiting Alexander Trojans turned back the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, 14-6, in Section V varsity football Thursday night at Van Detta Stadium.
Alexander raised its record to 4-1 as junior running back Brayden Woods ran the ball 20 times for 131 yards, including a six-yard touchdown run with 30 seconds left in the third quarter.
The scoring play and junior kicker Eric Cline’s extra point gave the Trojans that eight-point lead and from there they were able to hold off the Irish, who fall to 1-4.
Notre Dame opened the scoring late in the first quarter as senior running back Dylan Warner capped a six-play drive with a one-yard TD plunge. Sophomore quarterback James Fanara’s pass attempt for the two-point conversion fell incomplete.
The Irish had taken possession of the ball at the visitors’ 26-yard line when Alexander’s punter muffed the snap. A six-yard run by junior Vin DiRisio and a 19-yard scamper by senior Alonso Storey advanced the ball to the 1, setting up Warner’s touchdown two plays later.
The Trojans came right back, however, marching 58 yards on 14 plays to knot the score at 6-6 on junior quarterback Nick Kramer’s 1-yard plunge with 8:36 left in the half. Cline’s extra point gave Alexander a 7-6 lead.
Key plays in that drive were a 13-yard run by Woods to the ND 15 and a 13-yard scramble by Kramer to the Irish 6.
In the fourth quarter, Notre Dame capitalized on a 59-yard punt by junior Cody Henry to pin the Trojans back to their own 7. Five plays netted only seven yards and Alexander was forced to punt.
Storey fielded the punt around the 45 and bolted up the field to the Alexander 27, putting the Irish in position to tie the game with a touchdown and two-point conversion.
On third-and-13 from the Alexander 30, Fanara hit senior wide receiver Anthony Zambito over the middle for 17 yards – the game’s lone pass completion. A run by Fanara and two by Warner gained eight yards, making it 4th and 2 from the Alexander 5-yard line.
After an ND timeout, a false start penalty on the Irish offensive line pushed the ball back to the 10. From there, Fanara fired a pass over the middle that was intended for Storey but was a bit high and went off the receiver’s hands with 3:46 to play.
Alexander was then able to run out the clock as Woods collected 30 of his rushing yards in the closing minutes.
Kramer added 61 yards on the ground on 14 carries while fullback Devin Dean chipped in with 17 on five carries. Kramer was 0-for-10 passing.
Dean, from his linebacker position, made nine tackles to lead an Alexander defense that held ND to 104 total yards. Lineman Gavin Smith-Crandall had five tackles and recovered a fumble while Kramer had two sacks and forced a fumble for the winners.
For ND, Storey gained 43 yards on 10 carries and Fanara rushed for 29 yards on nine carries. He was 1-for-8 for the 17 yards through the air. Defensively, Henry, with 13 tackles, and Donato Fiorentino led the way.
Photos by Philip Casper.
Top photo: Nick Kramer (#3)
QB Fanara (11) DiRisio (24)
RB Storey (6) breaking his way through the Alexander Defense.
Wuest (52) leading the way for Kramer (3).
Kramer (3) with the carry as Zambito (2) goes for the tackle.
Woods (5) heading out to open field.
Fanara (11) scrambling through the field.
Woods (5) with Alexander’s final touchdown of the game.