St. Pius beats Decatur, wins region championship

St. Pius X Catholic High School won the 5A Region 5 high school football championship with a 28-9 win over Decatur High School Nov. 20 at St. Pius.  

“Our kids don’t get too high or too low. They’re just business like. We have no five-star players—and I don’t mean that in a derogatory way—but we have five-star young men, and that’s not a cliché,” said St. Pius Head Coach Paul Standard

Decatur (6-1) and St. Pius (8-1) started the game with instant offense, with St. Pius scoring the opening touchdown on a 12-yard run from running back Luke Jacobellis and then extending their lead to 14-0 with an interception returned for a touchdown by defensive back and wide receiver Mason Benefield

“Mason, Kasey Ver MeulenDennis O’Shea. We have 26 seniors on this team, and they’re all very special,” said Standard. “I get on [O’Shea’s] backside a little bit, but I love that kid. He’s a leader.” 

Decatur answered St. Pius’ 14-0 lead by handing off to their do-it-all running back Marquis Hood, who capped off a long drive with a six-yard touchdown run.  

The scoring slowed down after the first three touchdowns. Decatur kicker Kriston Esnard, connected on a 28-yard field goal to give Decatur nine points—trimming St. Pius’ lead to 14-9—with 2:15 left in the second quarter, but St. Pius’ defense shut Decatur out for the rest of the game. 

“Our defense really played great in the second half,” said Standard.

St. Pius scored two touchdowns after halftime. The first was a goal line handoff to Jacobellis—for his second score of the game—and running back Jack Graham scored the last touchdown of the night on a goal line dive to give St. Pius a 28-9 lead with 1:33 left. 

Luke Jacobellis ran over a defender at the goal line to give St. Pius a 21-9 lead. Photo by Vincent Myers.

Decatur put together a good drive late in the game, but the Bulldogs turned the ball over on downs following a stand from St. Pius’ defense that included a pass breakup in the endzone from defensive back and receiver JacTchienchou

Standard said he likes to control the time of possession, especially with how many players he has playing offense and defense, but St. Pius’ defense turning Decatur over and the offensive line opening the run game let St. Pius control the clock and the score board. 

“I think the long drive that gave us a 21-point lead took the wind out of [Decatur’s] sails a little bit. If it was still a one score game, it would have been different,” said Standard. “Our defense played great in the second half, and our offensive line really took the game over after that.” 

St. Pius is scheduled to play Loganville at St. Pius Nov. 27 at 7:30 p.m.  

Photo credit: Vincent Myers

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