The underdog Wildcats fought to the bitter end before the Eagles retired. Kyle ends his 40-year tenure with 377 wins, 11 state titles and three national titles.
EUCLID, Ohio — This was how Chuck Kyle would have liked to go out: to fight his bitter (but respected) rival once more.
Admittedly, he would certainly have preferred to win, but he can be proud to know that his underdog team fought for him until the last whistle.
Kyle’s 40-year career as Saint Ignatius football coach officially ended Friday night, as the Wildcats lost to St. Edward 28-7 in the OHSAA Division I Regional Semifinals . The top-seeded Eagles emerged as heavy favorites after beating their arch-nemeses 48-6 last month, but this game was much closer than the final scoreline indicated.
Despite being beaten 160-40 in the first half, fifth-seeded Ignatius trailed just 7-0 at intermission. Marvin Bell put St. Ed ahead with a 1-yard touchdown run, but the Eagles also missed three field goals.
It brought the Wildcats to life early in the third quarter, with junior quarterback Joshua Papesh leading them on a deep foray into Eagle territory. On fourth down from the 3-yard line, he found Hunter Moriarity in the end zone for a score, tying it at 7.
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But from there, St. Edward (12-1) was able to impose his will, Casey Bullock hitting Kyan Mason for a 45-yard gain that created another Bell TD. After Nate Gregory had a third sack from Papesh in the following series, the Eagles took over and saw Mason fire another reception from 38 yards out before Bullock connected to Grady Lentz-Pieffer to take the score to 21-7.
Saint Ignatius had one more chance to get back there, but Papesh was intercepted by Jonathan Slaper with just over 2 minutes left, sending him back to the Wildcat 4 and setting up a final Bell touchdown. As time ticked away, members of the Eagles’ student wing began taunting Kyle about his impending retirement, but he eventually met up with his St. Ed counterpart, Tom Lomardo, in midfield for a hug. warm, signifying the respect that the two competitors had for each other. other over the years.
The book is now closed on the Chuck Kyle era in Saint Ignatius, but what a time it was: 377 wins, 11 state titles, three national championships, and countless men and women who love him and have felt his impact. on them. He also finishes with a career record of 26-18-1 against St. Edward, although he sadly gave up the last six dating back to 2018.
St. Edward advances to the Division I, Region 1 Finals, where they will face mentor #3 at a neutral site for a trip to the state semifinals. The Eagles are seeking their second straight state championship and their fourth under Lombardo.