Jester, De Smet overcome sloppy start to blank Chaminade 28-0
By: Jonathan Duncan
Coughing up five fumbles in a football game usually spells disaster for most teams, but for De Smet, having talented playmakers like running back Marcus Jester and linebacker Wilbert Vails allows the Spartans to still have a chance to win games.
Such was the case Friday night at Chaminade as Jester overcame a second quarter fumble and Vails had a big night on defense powering the Spartans to a 28-0 Metro Catholic Conference victory.
“I think we found our identity a little bit running the ball tonight,” Jester said. “I think we could have done a little better blocking but I did the best I could and ran as hard as I could.”
De Smet (3-1, 2-0 in Metro Catholic Conference play) struck for a touchdown just over two minutes into the game as Jester raced 35 yards for a score making it 7-0.
Early in the second quarter the Spartans had a chance to extend the lead, but a fumble by Jester on a first down run was recovered by Chaminade’s Grant Byrne at the Red Devils’ 25 yard line.
“He saw the end zone is what happened,” De Smet coach Pat Mahoney said. “The play was blocked and he saw it was there and he was going to the end zone and just forgot to carry the football. When a kid is trying to make a play and the ball comes out that happens.”
Jester made up for the lost fumble in the closing minute of the first half, scoring on a 1-yard run with 57.4 seconds to go for a 14-0 advantage.
“It’s hard because I know I’m better than that but the coaches talked to me and I knew I had to go back out there and just do the best that I could,” Jester said.
Jester’s work was long and bruising on the Chaminade defense as he rushed for 181 yards on 26 carries and three touchdowns.
De Smet decided to use the airways to pick up its third touchdown of the night as quarterback Connor Harrison connected with wide receiver Chris Klages on an 82-yard touchdown catch and run stretching the margin to 21-0 with 8:30 left in the third quarter.
Chaminade (1-3, 0-1 in conference) was able to move the ball well in stretches behind the play of junior quarterback Thomas Martin in Martin’s debut but could not reach the end zone against De Smet’s stingy defense.
“I thought defensively we played well,” Chaminade coach Doug Taylor said. “We made the plays we needed make, we caused some fumble and we had a couple of interceptions and we punted well. We just need to get better on offense and I thought Thomas did a nice job tonight in his first game.”
Vails did a superb job in leading the Spartans defense as the junior linebacker racked up 10 tackles and three quarterback sacks on the night.
“Players such as Wilbert Vails and Dedrick Cromartie are just so good at understanding the game and they fly around and make plays,” Mahoney said.
Jester finished his big night off with his third score on a 3-yard touchdown run with 7:08 left pushing the lead to 28-0.
NOTES: The game was also the final De Smet-Chaminade game for long-time coach Doug Taylor. Taylor, who has coached football for 40 years, is stepping down as head coach with the Red Devils at the end of the season. He intends to remain at the school and still assist with Chaminade basketball program.