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Saints' mistakes aid Spartans' march

October 17, 2008|By BOB PARASILITI

SAINT JAMES -- Chris Milmoe readily admits the St. James has a very small margin for error.

On Thursday, the Saints proved it. They had more errors than their margin would allow.

For Saint James, it started with a pair of special team gaffes. But that was more than enough courtesy gifts for Bishop Walsh to handle the Saints. Dylan D'Atri rushed for 172 yards and three touchdowns as the Spartans laid a 34-16 pasting on the Saints in a Thursday afternoon matinee.

"It's the fundamentals of the game," said Milmoe, St. James' first-year coach. "It's simple. You have to tackle properly and protect the football."

It was more than just blocking and tackling that tripped up the Saints (4-3). Sure, there were four turnovers, but other things added to the quagmire that St. James sunk in. D'Atri scoring on runs of 6, 78 and 36 yards was just the edge of it.

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Start on a miscommunication by the returners on the Bishop Walsh punt of the game, which turned a 35-yard kick into a 65-yard roller that changed the battle for field position. Finish it off with a bad snap that set up Bishop Walsh on the St. James 2 for Marshall Porter's touchdown run with 4:38 left in the first quarter for a 7-0 Spartans lead.

Quarterback Mike Russ was stripped of the ball by Bishop Walsh's Myles Clifford while being sacked at the Saints 49. D'Atri broke off a 50-yard run and then scored from the 6 after a penalty for a 15-0 lead.

The Spartans capped the first half when Robby Lehman returned an interception of Russ 45 yards for a touchdown for what eventually became a 22-3 halftime lead.

St. James broke the run momentarily when Tom Wagner hit a 40-yard field goal with 2:55 left in the half to move within 19 points. The Saints had held the Spartans to 87 yards of offense -- 50 coming on the one run -- and two first downs in the first half, but trailed.

St. James came out energized in the second half, but settled for trading scores the rest of the way.

St. James got touchdowns on an 11-yard burst by Grant McWilliams at the 7:55 mark of the third quarter and a 10-yard Russ-to-Barr scoring pass in the fourth quarter.

"We play and thrive off of emotion," Milmoe said. "On the other side, though, when things go bad, the team gets down."

D'Atri scored on his two long runs to give Bishop Walsh all its scoring in the second half. He had 17 carries for his 172 yards, but 114 came on two second-half touchdown runs. In fact, 164 of Bishop Walsh's 292 yards of offense came on three runs.

St. James turned to Russ to bring it back and he managed 23 of 46 passing for 266 yards, but he had two interceptions and had four passes swatted down at the line of scrimmage.

"I feel pretty lousy," Milmoe said. "We were 4-2 and I expected to make a run to end the season. We pretty much came out here and laid an egg."

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