The Bishop Ireton Cardinals came up short in their quest to be crowned 2007 Virginia Independent State (VIS) Football Champions, losing to top seed Liberty Christian in Lynchburg, 35-14 Saturday.
Bishop Ireton athletic director Bill Simmons said after the game, The guys didnt ultimately accomplish everything that they set out to accomplish this year, but they accomplished a whole lot.
With the title game loss, second-seeded Ireton concluded its season with an overall record of 9-3.
The Cardinals built a 14-7 lead with 57 seconds remaining in the first quarter that had virtually all of the Cardinals 350 or so fans standing during the bitter cold game conditions at Liberty University.
On the Cardinals second offensive possession of the contest, they moved the ball 68 yards on just four plays and scored when senior right handed quarterback Ed Pastorino connected with senior receiver Tyler Dupre in the end zone for a diving touchdown. Pastorinos first and goal pass from the seven-yard line was initially deflected by a Liberty defender and Dupre alertly hauled it in as he dove for the ball a split second before it would have hit the ground.
Dupre, the lone football/basketball/baseball student-athlete at Ireton, made the score 12-7. Moments later, senior running back/linebacker Brian ODonnell punched in the two-point conversion and the Cardinals led 14-7.
On Iretons third offensive possession of the contest, Pastorino was sacked by 325-pound Liberty defensive lineman Bobby Massie which put Ireton in a second and 17 from their own 33-yard line. Two consecutive penalties by Ireton as well as an incomplete pass put Ireton in a third and 27 at their 23-yard line. A Pastorino interception followed and Liberty had the ball first and ten at the Cardinal 19-yard line.
Four plays later, Liberty tied the contest at 14 apiece, courtesy of a one-yard quarterback keeper and a successful PAT (8:58 remaining second quarter).
With 41 seconds remaining before intermission, Brian ODonnell – in fullback position – busted straight ahead and had his sights set on the goal line. As ODonnell lunged for the end zone near the two-yard line, the ball squirted out (upon contact) and was recovered by Liberty (:32 remaining).
In the second half, Liberty embarked on a seven-play, 92-yard scoring drive which catapulted the Bulldogs to a 28-14 lead (3:31 remaining third quarter). Over the games final 15:31, Ireton had the ball five more times on offense, but couldnt muster any points.