St. Pius X 41, Decatur 14

When win-or-go- home time came for St. Pius X Friday night, the Golden Lions leaned heavily on their beloved running game to beat Decatur 41-14 to sew up an eighth straight playoff berth as junior fullback Dalton Wilson rushed for 160 yards and a score.

The main math was simple at St. Pius: the winner would go to the playoffs, and the loser would not. Decatur (7-3, 3-3 Region 6-AAA) lost out to Cedar Grove (6-4, 3-3) for the fourth region spot by virtue of Cedar Grove whipping Decatur earlier this season.

St. Pius (7-3, 4-2) entered with a rare two-game losing streak after losses to Woodward Academy and Region champion Blessed Trinity.

Wilson said that a lack of confidence was not an issue. Absence of attitude, on the other hand, had been a problem.

“If anything, it was motivation. We knew we should have won those games, and it was a chip on our shoulder that Pius usually plays with but hadn’t really had,” Wilson said. “It took that punch in the mouth for us to really step up and play like we should.”

Something was amiss early Friday as St. Pius broke the game open with its rarely-used passing attack.

Sophomore quarterback Reed Egan, who replaced starter Joey Connors briefly on the Golden Lions’ first possession and then again after Connors returned but lost a fumble on a bad pitch, threw deep middle for the game’s first score.

Senior wide receiver Fred Dorsey worked his way behind the entire Decatur defense and easily completed a 75-yard scoring play in the first quarter.

Decatur moved the ball well on several occasions, but stalled at key points. St. Pius had a modest 379-356 edge in total yardage, but made more key plays on both sides of the ball.

The Bulldogs drove to fourth-and-2 from the St. Pius 12 on the game’s opening drive only to suffer a delay penalty and then have Golden Lions Branden Mitchell and Garrett Gooden break up passes.

Moments after Dorsey scored, he recovered a Decatur fumble at the Bulldogs’ 41. Thomas O’Leary gave pushed the lead to 10-0 with a 46-yard field goal.

Decatur closed to 10-7 when St. Pius left freshman wideout Dennis Bell uncovered, and Devontae Carter threw an easy 27-yard pass with 9:07 left in the first half. Carter completed 12-of-20 passes for 196 yards.

Connors returned, and when he threw sophomore running back Ransom Klinger outjumped Elijah Rachell for a ball at the goal line to give St. Pius a 17-7 lead. Connors rushed for 60 yards and competed 2-of-3 passes for 43 yards as St. Pius passed for 118 yards overall.

Again, the Bulldogs drove back, this time to the St. Pius 15.

They initially lined up to try a field goal, but after St. Pius called time out, Decatur went for it. Gooden broke up the pass over the middle with less than a minute left in the first half.

The second half was all St. Pius. The Golden lions scored the first three times they had the ball, including a 50-yard run by Wilson.

“I’m so proud of these seniors, who’ve struggled these last two weeks,” said St. Pius coach Paul Standard. “Everyone has, but they bear the brunt of whatever happens, and I did not want them to be the first class in eight years to not make the playoffs. I’m proud of how they battled. That’s the team that beat Blessed Trinity.”

Wilson broke several tackles Friday, but he had help getting into the clear on plenty of occasions as the Lions’ depth wore down the short-staffed Bulldogs.

“With the plan that our coaches implemented, I was going to be a big part of the offense,” Wilson said. “Our offensive line played out of their minds . . . and once we got to the second level, receivers had everybody blocked; it was a walk in the park.”

Decatur’s final score came on a 1-yard run by senior Nick Bentley. Gooden added a score on an interception return.

Decatur – 0 7 0 7 – 14

St. Pius X – 7 10 14 10 – 41

SPX – Fred Dorsey 75 pass from Reed Egan (Thomas O’Leary kick)

SPX – O’Leary 46 field goal

Dec – Dennis Bell 27 pass from Devontae Carter (Nathan Tampuri kick)

SPX – Ransom Klinger 25 pass from Joey Connors (O’Leary kick)

SPX – Connors 19 run (O’Leary kick)

SPX – Dalton Wilson 50 run (O’Leary kick)

SPX – O’Leary 21 field goal

Decatur – Nick Bentley 1 run (Tampuri kick)

SPX – Garrett Gooden 30 interception return (Michael Matthews kick)

10 comments Add your comment

Fuseball fan

November 8th, 2013
11:21 pm

Way to go SPX… We needed that! CG says thanks!

BR549

November 8th, 2013
11:24 pm

Congrats SPX!! Great win over a really good Decatur Team with Big Athletes.

kidsballcoach

November 9th, 2013
1:26 am

Great Job Golden Lions! Outstanding O Line play against bigger opponents. Hat’s off to a continually improving Decatur program with some great athletes.

Doris Konneh

November 10th, 2013
1:51 am

Thank you, Decatur Bulldogs, for all your hard work! We’re still proud of you! We hope you’re proud of yourselves, too!

Keep moving – Keep building! Never give up! Never give up! Never-Never-Never give up!

Cartersvilleman

November 10th, 2013
3:58 pm

so standard once again shows his true lack of class… “thats the team that beat Blessed Trinity”.. so what????

Big Fan

November 10th, 2013
5:01 pm

Cartersvilleman

“Lack of class” what? That’s a statement of fact. BT beat SPX. Decatur beat BT. SPX beat Decatur. Just facts..So what? That elicits a “lack of class” accusation? Huh? I don’t follow that line of reasoning.

bubba bean

November 10th, 2013
7:02 pm

@Cartersvilleman… WOW!! I am totally shocked about an accusation that you make about a coach!
Coach Standard spends more time with his school, players, parents and the whole “Golden Lion” community than he does with his family! I am blown away by that statement. We have the finest parents around Georgia that volunteer endless hours to support Coach Standard and his complete process and program. Open your eyes, listen, read and get your fingers off the keyboard…unless you want to apologize to the SPX community. You are a complete ZERO to make that statement and I am personally appalled by it and would love to meet you in person!
My son is a student athlete and a member of the Varsity football team…one of the many reasons that I sent my kid to SPX is because of him and the administration at SPX.
P.S. @ Carterville I am a SPX alumnus too!

SPXFAN

November 10th, 2013
8:25 pm

@Cartersvilleman – The quote from Coach Standard reads a little awkwardly but it was a conversation. For what it’s worth, I think Coach Standard was complimenting his boys for beating the team that beat BT (i.e., Decatur is a good team, they beat BT). If you have ever been around Standard and his coaches, you know “class” is not something they lack and they would not disparage the competition.

Roy D. Mercer

November 10th, 2013
8:43 pm

Cartersvilleman,

Why? Just why would you? I realize that these forums create a place to run and hide for some. But that’s baseless and out of line. I have to defend a good man here. Lets move on sir.

kidsballcoach

November 11th, 2013
2:34 pm

Questioning Coach Standard’s “class” is laughable.