Leopards Rally, But Fall on a Heartbreaking Kick

Walsh Louisville Neff

VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS:

Walsh Jesuit 27, Louisville 26

After rallying from a 17-0 deficit to take the lead, the hearts of Leopards fans were crushed by a 29-yard Ross Martin field goal as time expired giving the Warriors the 27-26 victory on opening night at Louisville Leopards Stadium.

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Leps roar through a tunnel of Little Leopards, Cheerleaders, & Band members. See more pics below.

After spotting Walsh a 17-0 lead the Leopards showed some serious heart, mounted a rally, and took lead with  1:15 left in the game.  A 6 play 69-yard drive that included a 35-yard pass from Chad Neff to Gavin Lovejoy.  Soon after Neff found and hit Alex Schooley in the left side of the endzone for a 29-yard touchdown pass to give the Leps a 26-24 advantage.

However, just as soon as the celebrating started, disaster struck.  The Leopards were called for an unsportsmanlike penalty on the play setting the Leopards back 15 yards on the kickoff.  A botched two-point conversion attempt followed leaving the score within a field goal for Walsh.

On the ensuing kickoff Crissean Caver returned the ball 41 yards all the way to the Leopards 29-yard-line.  With Martin being fourth best kicker in the nation according to rivals.com, the Warriors were already in field goal range.  After two solid runs by Brock Jones and Ryan Jun Walsh was in business and they didn’t disappoint as Martin’s kick sailed through the uprights.


But forget all that for a minute, the Leopards were down 17-0.  Most teams would have packed it in, most teams would have quit.  They didn’t  even when adversity hit them straight in the forehead.  After being pinned back at the 20-yard-line, the Leopards drove deep into Walsh territory on ten plays.  But the drive had hit a speed bump and Louisville faced a 4th-and-17 on the Warriors 21-yard-line.  Out of the shotgun Neff looked left then fired into the right corner of the endzone to the double covered Lovejoy.  When the dust cleared Lovejoy and the Leopards had their first points of the season.  The Leopards would go covert 5 fourth downs in 7 tries before the night was over and after a blocked extra point, Louisville would eventually trail 17-6 at the half.

Pinned back deep again by Martin, the Leopards went on a 12 play 80 yard drive that ended with Neff finding junior wide receiver Trent Ohman.  On 4th-and-3 Ohman caught the ball at the 26-yard-line, juked one defender, and then sidestepped another on the way to the endzone.  Ohman finished the night with 7 catches for 79 yards.

On the next play Chad Neff rolled out to the right and sacrificially threw his spinning body into the endzone about three Walsh defenders for the two-point conversion.  Neff finished the night with 103 yards rushing to go along with his 266 yard passing performance.  Louisville now only trailed by a field goal.

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The Leopards Celebrate after a Touchdown. See More Pics Below!

The Leps look poised to score again late in the third quarter, but Neff’s 4th-and-4 pass sailed just out of the reach of Connor Ruffier.  Walsh marched 71 yards the opposite way and scored on a 28-yard pass from Nick Wargo to Jones.  The Leopards again trailed by double digits 24-14.

The Leopards tried a fake punt on their next possession that failed giving the ball to the Warriors near midfield.  But the Leopards defense stiffened and force a three-and-out.  The Leopards mirrored the Warriors punting after three plays.  But a Walsh fumble gave the Leopards the ball on their own 36-yard-line and they took advantage.

The momentum had swung towards the Leopards and seven plays later the Neff lobbed a pass to Lovejoy who again came down with it in the right corner of the south endzone.  Lovejoy led all Louisville receivers for the evening with 7 catches for 94 yards.  If this played seemed like deja vu for the Leopards fans, the next one eerily did as well.  Walsh again blocked the extra point kick leaving the score 24-20.

Walsh’s first two touchdowns came on a 2-yard quarterback sneak by Wargo and a 18-yard run by Jones.

This was all you could ask for in week one.  Only four penalties and one turnover by both teams combined ruined what would have been a flawless night on the gridiron.  This game had everything from the Leopards 17-point rally to a heartbreaking ending.  I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait for Week 2!


NEXT UP: The Leopards will host the North Canton Hoover Vikings on Friday, September 2 at 7:00 PM.

EDITOR’S NOTE: My preview predication was 27-24 Louisville, it sure looked like I was going to get i there for a minute!

PICTURES

Pictures Taken By Tammy Archer, Dan Davis, & Jared Heller

STATISTICS

WARRIORS 27, LEOPARDS 26

1      2     3     4   Total

Walsh Jesuit        10     7     0     10    27

Louisville               0       6     8     12    26

1st Qtr:

WJ – 9:05 Ross Martin 42 yd Field Goal

7 plays 62 yds

WJ – 1:54 Nick Wargo 2 yd Run

Ross Martin PAT Good

11 plays 50 yds

2nd Qtr:

WJ – 10:37 Brock Jones 18 yd Run

Ross Martin PAT Good

3 plays 54 yds

L – 6:32 Gavin Lovejoy 21 yd Pass from Chad Neff

Kick Failed

11 plays 84 yds

3rd Qtr:

L – 7:28 Trent Ohman 39 yd pass from Chad Neff

Chad Neff 2pt Run

12 plays 80 yds

4th Qtr:

WJ – 10:28 Brock Jones 28 yd Pass from Nick Wargo

Ross Martin PAT Good

5 plays 71 yds

L – 4:32 Gavin Lovejoy 20 yd Pass from Chad Neff

Kick Failed

7 plays 66 yds

L – 1:15 Alex Schooley 29 Pass from Chad Neff

Run Failed

6 plays 69 yds

WJ 0:00 Ross Martin 29 yd Field Goal

4 plays 32 yds

Team Stats:

First Downs:

Walsh Jesuit – 13

Louisville – 22

Rushing:

Walsh Jesuit – 36 carries for 159 yds

Louisville – 39 carries for 166 yds

Passing:

Walsh Jesuit – 6 of 11 for 107 yds 1 TD 0 INT

Louisville – 21 of 35 for 266 yds 4 TD’s 0 INT

Fumbles/Lost:

Walsh Jesuit – 1/1

Louisville – 2/0

3rd Down Conv:

Walsh Jesuit – 4 of 10

Louisville – 3 of 15

4th Down Conv:

Walsh Jesuit – 0/0

Louisville – 5 of 7

Individual Stats:

Rushing:

Walsh Jesuit – Jack Meadows – 8 carries for 65 yds

Louisville – Chad Neff – 24 carries for 103 yds

Lucas Poyser – 15 carries for 63 yds

Receiving:

Walsh Jesuit – Crissean Caver – 3 catches for 46 yds

Louisville – Gavin Lovejoy – 7 catches for 94 yds 2 TD’s

Trent Ohman – 7 catches for 79 yds 1 TD

Passing:

Walsh Jesuit – Nick Wargo 6 of 11 for 107 yds 1 TD 0 INT

Louisville – Chad Neff 21 of 35 for 266 yds 4 TD’s 0 INT

Records: Louisville 0-1, Walsh Jesuit 1-0

About Jared

Jared is the Owner & Creator of this Leopard Nation website. He works full-time at SiteLogic Marketing in Canton and graduated with a Bachelor’s in Creative Arts at the University of Akron. Jared is an avid fan of all Louisville Leopards athletics and hardly misses a game.