Monday, January 30, 2023

VASJ clinches share of NCL White, moves closer to playoffs with win over Aquinas

Villa Angela-St. Joseph was on the brink of trouble Oct. 25 at Sparky DiBiasio Stadium against NCL White foe St. Thomas Aquinas.

After a gutsy performance late against the Knights, it’s all good for the Vikings now.

All good, with one more step to go.

A 1-yard touchdown run by quarterback Tre’Von Williams with a minute left in regulation set up by a 61-yard scamper by Aaron Rocquemore helped VASJ clinch at least a share of the NCL White title with a come-from-behind 49-42 win over St. Thomas Aquinas.

The Vikings (7-2, 4-0 NCL) not only earned a piece of the league title with the win, but according to JoeEitel.com, control their own playoff destiny and with a win over Cleveland Central Catholic on Nov. 1 will head back to the postseason for a second straight year.

VASJ is No. 8 in Division VI, Region 19 and is projected to make the playoffs with one more win over rival CCC in Week 10.

It certainly wasn’t easy as the Knights roared out to a 21-7 lead at the end of the first quarter, but Marvelle Ross, Brandon Green, Rocquemore and Williams led the rally for VASJ.

“They jumped up on us and our guys kept battling and never lost the faith,” VASJ coach John Storey said.

“It certainly felt like a game where the team who had the ball last was going to win and I am glad we had it. They got the ball, but thankfully they had 60 yards to go.”

A TD run by Williams, a pass from Williams to Ross and a nifty run by Ross down the sideline helped VASJ tie the game at 28 at halftime. Green took a reverse 65 yards to the end zone to give his team a 35-28 lead early in the third quarter before a dramatic see-saw battle ensued in the second half.

St. Thomas Aquinas (6-3, 2-2 NCL) forged ahead, 42-35, before a late rally by VASJ was spearheaded by Ross, Williams and Rocquemore.

Ross tied the game at 42 with less than 3 minutes left on a 15-yard TD run.

After a punt by the Knights, Rocquemore broke through for a 61-yard run down to the 1-yard line. Williams punched in the go-ahead score and St. Thomas Aquinas turned the ball over on down to seal the win for the Vikings.

“I got a little bit nervous, but I am confident in my team and I know what we are capable of,” Williams said. “We had to be confident because we know it was win or go home. We have to win out to make the playoffs.”

Rocquemore said he was confident if his team had a chance to win at the end they would find a way to get it done.

“We knew we had a chance to come down the field and score,” Rocquemore said.
“Throughout the game, we weren’t being patient and finding the holes, so I did what my coaches told me.

“We are going into this last week ready to play and looking for some payback.”

VASJ lost to Cleveland Central Catholic in Week 9 a year ago to derail an unbeaten regular season.
 

Steve Harehttp://www.ohiovarsity.com
Steve Hare is the Chagrin Valley Conference's Sports Information Director. He also created and publishes OhioVarsity.com, an online publication dedicated to providing hyperlocal coverage to area high school athletic programs. Hare began covering high school sports for the Lake County News Herald in 1997. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.

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