Football Flyers fall to DeSmet 44-12

Football Flyers played solid all season, coach tells Call.

By MARK McNAMARA

Not the game, but definitely the achievement of a state quarterfinal appearance is worthy of a lifelong memory for members of the Lindbergh High football team.

The Flyers ended their season with a 9-3 record after DeSmet Jesuit High School handed them a 44-12 defeat, but they made it to the Class 6 state quarterfinals for the first time since 2003. The season ended short of their goals, but not short of memories.

“It’s playing in this game, even though we lost,” an emotional Lindbergh senior Adam Schremp said. “I figured that we could come out here and get a win, but just to make it this far — the first Lindbergh team in eight years or the fourth Lindbergh team to win a playoff game, so that was cool.”

DeSmet (8-4) let 6-foot, 150-pound senior defensive back Ryan Cronin spearhead a 23-point first quarter shutout to deflate Lindbergh players, coaches and fans.

Cronin intercepted Lindbergh junior quarterback Peter Simpson’s second pass attempt and returned it 41 yards for a touchdown to make it 7-0 at the 10-minute-and-three-second mark of the first quarter.

DeSmet junior quarterback Durron Neal made the score 14-0 on a 48-yard touchdown run on the Spartans’ first possession.

Cronin grabbed a tipped pass from Simpson and returned it 75 yards for his second score with 1:29 left.

To close the first quarter, DeSmet recorded a safety on a snap that went over Simpson’s head and through the back of the end zone.

“It’s frustrating because you know that’s what you couldn’t let happen,” Lindbergh head coach Tom Beauchamp said. “Any time you have a good team like that, you have to stay with them until the fourth quarter and then hopefully you can get lucky and get over the top.”

DeSmet buried the Flyers with a five-minute-and-nine-second scoring drive to start the second quarter. Senior running back Ricky Spratley scored on a four-yard run to make the score 30-0.

Lindbergh found the end zone before halftime on a three-yard touchdown run by senior Sam Smith after senior Chris Collins forced a fumble and recovered it at DeSmet’s 36-yard line. Collins also blocked a punt.

“This is my last year and our motto for this whole season was to play as a family, so we all stuck together and tried to pick each other up,” Schremp said. “It was my last game. I knew that. Even though the score was not in our favor, I knew I had to go out there and give it everything I got.”

DeSmet scored twice in the first two minutes of the second half on a 74-yard touchdown run by Neal and Cronin’s third interception return for a touchdown, this time for 28 yards.

Neal rushed for 206 yards and led the Spartans to 317 yards of total net offense.

The junior is being recruited by the nation’s top collegiate football programs.

“I’ll mention him right there with (NFL wide receiver Jeremy) Maclin. He’s very, very good,” Beauchamp said.

Flyers senior Tim Hamm-Bey closed his high school career with a determined 58-yard rushing performance on nine carries and a 27-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.

“When you’re playing a football game like this, it doesn’t matter what the scoreboard says, you have to keep playing. They didn’t pull their starters until four minutes left in the game, so we were playing against their big boys,” Beauchamp said.

Lindbergh lost three times this fall, twice to DeSmet, which is making its third state semifinal appearance in four years.

“I can’t complain about the way the kids played all year long. Anytime you win against a good team at home, we beat Eureka (High School) twice, that’s huge. All year long we played pretty solid,” Beauchamp said.