Cathedral earned a hard-fought sectional semifinal victory, 44-35, against Lawrence North at Arlington Friday night to advance in the 50th annual IHSAA Football State Tournament. The Class 6A second-ranked Irish travel to Lawrence Central Friday for the sectional championship round.
Cathedral marched 77 yards in 15 plays on its opening drive, scoring on a 4-yard pass completion from Danny O’Neil to Brennan Wooten. Lawrence North tied the score four plays later when LN quarterback Montez Jones scored on a 27-yard run.
After Irish freshman Van Krisiloff kicked a 25-yard field goal, Jones put the Wildcats ahead, 13-10, with a 21-yard touchdown pass to Israel Jackson. Cathedral blocked the point after kick. Caleb Beeler then intercepted O’Neil and returned the ball to the Irish 25-yard line. Three plays later, Ali Richardson’s 18-yard TD run and a Jones’ successful 2-point conversion pass to Jackson increased LN’s lead to 21-10.
Cathedral scored twice in the final two-and-a-half minutes of the first half to go ahead 24-21. O’Neil connected with David Ayers on a 2-yard touchdown pass and, after Caleb Martin intercepted Jones, Carson Johnson ran 25 yards for another score.
The teams each scored twice in the third quarter. O’Neil threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Jaron Tibbs and Johnson added a 29-yard scoring run for the Irish. Jones scored on a 1-yard run and Richardson on a 4-yard rush to pull the Wildcats to within two points 37-35.
On fourth and 12 yards to go with less than a minute remaining in the game, O’Neil completed a 15-yard TD pass to Tibbs to seal the Cathedral victory. Carson Johnson carried the ball 33 times for 226 yards to lead the Irish offense, just shy of his career-best 232 rushing yards against New Albany in the 2021 semi-state.
O’Neil completed 13 of 24 passes for 190 yards. His 24 attempts moved him to the top of the all-time list for most passes thrown in school history. O’Neil now holds every major Cathedral career passing record including most completions (403), attempts (633), yards (5,270), and touchdowns (66). Tibbs caught five passes for 82 yards. He now holds the school records for most career receptions (143) and receiving yards (2,300).
Cathedral improved its record to 8-1, while Lawrence North exited the tournament with a 4-6 mark. The Irish travel to Lawrence Central Friday for the Class 6A Sectional 6 championship game. The Bears improved their record to 5-5 when they eliminated North Central, 42-0, in the sectional semifinal round. Cathedral and LC last played in 2016 when the Irish defeated the Bears in the sectional title game, 21-17, in overtime.