By MICHAEL ALEXANDER, Staff Photographer | Published November 24, 2011
ATLANTA–Holy Spirit Preparatory School supporters and students witnessed the varsity football team win its first championship in the school’s 15-year history, as they defeated the Christian Heritage Lions of Dalton 28-21 Nov. 11.
With 6:08 remaining in the first quarter, Christian Heritage struck first when quarterback Trevor Brown threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to tight end Michael McKinney. Holy Spirit had to punt the ball away on their first possession, but during Christian Heritage’s next set of downs, Holy Spirit’s George Maranville intercepted a pass and returned it 22 yards for a touchdown. Holy Spirit kicker Lucas Whelan converted the extra point to tie the score with 2:14 remaining in the quarter.
Early in the second quarter Holy Spirit’s Maranville turned a quarterback sweep into a 79-yard scamper up the Christian Heritage sidelines for their second touchdown of the night. They held the same 14-7 lead at halftime.
Christian Heritage tied the scored with seconds remaining in the third quarter after Brown completed a 17-yard touchdown pass to Jake Stokes.
On Holy Spirit’s ensuing possession, the offense drove down to the Christian Heritage three-yard line, and fullback Andy Moots carried it in from there to recapture the lead at 21-14.
With 6:26 remaining in the fourth quarter, Holy Spirit nose tackle William Oppermann forced a Christian Heritage fumble, and the offense took over on their opponent’s 32-yard line. Six plays later Maranville threw a touchdown pass to tight end Todd Jones to go up 28-14.
As the game drew to a close, Christian Heritage moved down the field, and with 59 seconds left in regulation, Brown threw his third touchdown pass of the night to bring his team seven points away from a tie.
Christian Heritage recovered its onside kick, and their offense took over with 51 seconds left in the game. With 10 of Holy Spirit’s players playing both offense and defense throughout the game, fatigue was obviously an issue, but they held off Christian Heritage’s final assault. A game-ending sack by seniors Ryan Casey and Todd Jones ended Christian Heritage’s drive to seal Holy Spirit’s championship victory.
For second-year head coach James Falcetti, it was an unconventional and memorable win. The night of the game he was nearly 1,100 miles away in Boston, attending a rehearsal dinner on the eve of his sister’s wedding. Falcetti said he stayed in contact with his coaches throughout the game via cell phone.
“I was able to phone in a few adjustments and suggestions, but I trusted Father Jason Brooks (assistant coach) and my coordinators (Levi Hamm and Dave Rosenzweig) to follow the game plan we discussed that week,” said Falcetti.
According to Holy Spirit Preparatory School president Gareth Genner, there are plans to change the name of the 2011 Glory For Christ Football League Championship trophy to “The Rector’s Trophy.” The new name is a tribute to the late Archbishop John F. Donoghue, who served as the school’s rector and died on the same day they won the championship.