Lindbergh’s defense key in 28-14 win over St. Louis University High Friday

By MARK McNAMARA

The defense sent the Lindbergh Flyers into the Class 6 football playoffs with a 28-14 winner-take-all win Friday over St. Louis University High School.

“Our defense played pretty well tonight. I was pretty proud of them. Overall, they carried us in this game. They were playing very good football,” Flyers head coach Tom Beauchamp said.

No matter what Lindbergh’s defense did to set up its offense to put points on the scoreboard, the offense couldn’t match the defensive performance or reliability.

The Flyers (8-2) intercepted five SLUH (4-6) passes, three in the first quarter, blocked a punt, recovered a fumble and sacked SLUH quarterback Trevor McDonagh five times in the second half. Still, it wasn’t until three minutes and 54 seconds remained in the game that Lindbergh could breathe easy.

“I’m gonna savor it,” Beauchamp said of the playoff-spot-clinching win.

The Junior Billikens disrupted Lindbergh’s proven aerial attack in the first half with consistent pressure on quarterback Peter Simpson. Simpson was sacked three times for a total of 30 yards, and completed three of 11 passes in the first half. The Flyers also punished themselves with 13 penalties for 92 yards in the game.

SLUH led 14-7 at the half with a 28-yard touchdown catch on fourth down and a seven-yard score on third down. A 32-yard touchdown pass from Simpson to senior Will Spitzfaden in the first quarter was Lindbergh’s only score of the first half.

The second half opened with three turnovers on the first four possessions. The Flyers finally capitalized on favorable field position to tie the game, 14-14. Simpson hit senior Adam Schremp in stride on a fly route for a 45-yard touchdown with 6:31 left in the third quarter.

On the ensuing possession, Lindbergh defensive lineman Chris Collins blocked a SLUH punt and recovered at SLUH’s five-yard line, but the Flyers could muster only a missed field goal kick. Their next drive started at the SLUH’s 46-yard line and Simpson covered the last 30 on determined runs of 19 and 11 yards that gave Lindbergh a 20-14 lead early in the fourth quarter.

“We were doing stuff that they hadn’t seen a lot, so we thought we’ll try something new here and we’ll see if we can catch them off guard, and it worked,” Beauchamp said.

Lindbergh kept the ball on the ground the rest of the game, and ran its lead to 28-14 when senior Sam Smith walked in from one yard out.

“It felt really good. It felt like we put the stake in the heart,” Smith said.

SLUH outgained Lindbergh in yardage, 290 to 269, but the Flyers’ defense allowed just nine second-half yards until the Junior Billikens’ final possession.

“All week we talked about our seniors, how we didn’t want this to be the end of it. We wanted to play one more game. That fueled the team all week through practice,” said Smith, a linebacker.

Now, Eureka High School awaits the Flyers for a 7 p.m. contest Friday at Eureka.

Lindbergh beat Eureka 42-28 Oct. 1.

“We took them once, but I know they’re going to want some revenge, especially since it was their homecoming and first loss. We’ll be ready,” Smith said.

The victor will face the winner of the DeSmet and Fox contest.

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for a photo gallery of Friday’s game.