Irish dump Reds to advance to final
Tal Ibrahim was a man on a mission Thursday.
The 18-year-old, Grade 12B student set the tone early, rushing for two touchdowns on their first two possessions as the Notre Dame Fighting Irish wiped out the Denis Morris Reds 55-0 in a Niagara Catholic Athletic Association playoff semifinal senior football game played at Saint Paul.
The Irish advance to the NCAA final versus the Patriots Friday, Nov. 12 at Saint Paul. The Patriots topped the Blessed Trinity Thunder 42-3 in the other semifinal Thursday.
“We just went out and executed, right away,” Ibrahim said. “There was a lot of trash talk before and we just wanted to come out and win.”
The Irish defeated the Reds 35-0 earlier in the season.
“We played them before but we came out and started kind of slow, and this game we wanted to make sure we came out on the attack right away,” said Ibrahim, who last played high school football at Saint Paul before the pandemic.
Ibrahim said playing with a lead took all the pressure off the Irish.
“Honestly, it’s the best way to play football,” he said.
The Irish were unstoppable early, scoring three majors in the first quarter and increasing their lead to 48-0 at the half.
“We haven’t played enough games really to get our rhythm,” Notre Dame coach Tim Bisci said. “We wanted to execute properly and we thought we had a real good game plan, we watched a ton of film with the kids.”
Bisci said Ibrahim’s early major set the tone.
“Tal ran the ball so hard,” he said. “He popped right in and then after that, we were just in a rhythm.”
Bisci said the Irish grasped what the coaching staff went over with them on film.
“They were coming out saying, ‘That’s a good call’. “When the kids are coming off and saying that, something is going right.
“We made some defensive plays, we made some offensive plays. It’s a good way to go as we proceed into the final.”
The Irish made wholesale substations in the second half with the outcome clearly no longer in doubt.
“We just told the guys we have to play next week and we wanted to get kids in,” he said. “We have a lot of kids come to practices that don’t always get a lot of playing time and today they got to play.”
DM coach Andy Cecchini tipped his cap to Notre Dame.
“They’re a great team,” he sad. “That team we just played is an amazing team.
“It’s not us, it’s them.”
The Reds were missing three key players who were ill, but Cecchini didn’t want to use that as an excuse.
“It didn’t help we had a few guys out but like said, I don’t want to take anything away from them.”
The Reds finished the regular season with a 1-3 record.
“It’s a tough day today but it was a good season,” Cecchini said. “We have a real nice group of boys. They tried hard. They came out. They had some fun and we’re playing football during COVID.”
Fighting Irish 55 Reds 0
Cat’s Caboose Player of the Game: Fighting Irish running back Tal Ibrahim with the first two touchdowns of the game on Notre Dame’s first two possessions.
For the Notre Dame Fighting Irish: Ibrahim 2 TDs; Dayshawn Johnson 2 TDs; Nick Longo TD; Adrian D’Gyves TD; Jordan Higgins TD; Jake Laewetz Field two field goals, seven converts; Jack Santoro interception.
For the Denis Morris Reds: No scoring.
Up next: The Irish and St. Paul Patriots square off in the NCAA final Friday, Nov. 12 at Saint Paul. Time TBD.
Dear reader. If you liked this story or one of the 3,600 other stories found on our website, please consider hitting the Support Us button on the right-hand side of our home page and making a PayPal contribution to our website. Your support would be much appreciated. If you are a business owner, please consider advertising on our site. Our rates are reasonable and we provide plenty of exposure for your business. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.