On a night where starting quarterback Conner Gore sat out all but the first possession, the Roncalli football team methodically ground out a victory.
Senior Patrick McManama ran for 86 yards on 14 carries with two short touchdown runs in the Class 5A No. 4 Rebels’ 24-14 victory against visiting Guerin Catholic on Friday night in a regular-season finale.
The Rebels (8-1) captured the Circle City Conference with a 3-0 record. Guerin Catholic (6-3) was 0-3 in the conference.
“It was weird because Conner is our leader,” McManama said. “But (quarterback) Alex Volk stepped up and did well. It was a team effort.”
Volk rushed for 78 yards on seven carries.
Roncalli limited the Golden Eagles to minus-7 yards rushing on 31 carries, thanks to several sacks. Guerin had 132 passing yards.
Roncalli took a 17-0 lead at halftime. McManama’s second touchdown run of 2 yards made it 24-0 with 36 seconds left in the third quarter.
“We’re banged up on both sides of the ball,” Roncalli coach Scott Marsh said. “The great part of this game is a) we won and b) we got to play a lot of kids.”
Gore played the first series since it was senior night and then left the game as planned. Gore had a minor throwing shoulder injury and the coaching staff wanted him to get more rest before the Rebels play Cathedral in the Class 5A sectional 13 opener Oct. 27. Marsh said he thew on Wednesday and didn’t practice until Thursday.
“We thought it was best to limit him so hopefully we could have him at full speed in a couple of weeks,” Marsh said. “Not having Conner limits some of the things we can do. The reality of it is Alex knows the offense. He’s a smart kid.”
Volk completed 6 of 10 passes for 35 yards.
Marsh said there is no question that Gore will be back and would have played more than one possession had this been a playoff game.
The Rebels scored with 2:47 left in the first quarter on Merrick Strykowski’s 37-yard field goal, then went ahead 10-0 on Patrick McManama’s 1-yard TD run with 8:48 left in the second quarter.
With a little more than five minutes left in second quarter, Elijah Mahan scampered 34 yards for a TD to boost the lead to 17-0. Mahan finished with 50 yards on 10 carries.
Guerin broke up the shutout with a pair of second-half scores against Roncalli’s reserves.
“Defensively we did a good job,” Marsh said. “We tackled well. We had nice game defensively. We were very businesslike.”