Mentor Lake Catholic Wins State Title

By ANDY RESNIK, Associated Press Writer

MASSILLON, Ohio (AP) - Mike Petruziello passed for a Division III championship game record 298 yards and two touchdowns, and Dan Cvelbar scored on a 2-yard TD run in overtime, as Mentor Lake Catholic beat Columbus DeSales 27-21 Friday for its third state title.

Petruziello, a first-team all-state performer, threw a 10-yard TD pass to Matt Matteucci with 2:47 left in regulation, tying the score 21-21. He also scored on a 2-yard run late in the third, making it 14-14.

DeSales got the first possession of overtime, but couldn't score. Mark Watson intercepted Dino Razzano's third-down pass in the end zone.

Petruziello threw a 13-yard pass to Matteucci on the Cougars' first OT play. Cvelbar then had three short rushes, finishing off DeSales on his third carry -- a short burst up the middle that barely got him across the goal line.

Petruziello rallied Lake Catholic (13-2) from a 14-0 deficit, throwing a 50-yard TD pass to Matteucci with 9:10 to play in the second quarter and scoring on a 2-yard run with 52 seconds left in the third.

He appeared to step out of bounds short of the end zone on the TD run, but the official ruled he stretched the ball over the pylon to get the tying score.

DeSales (9-6) took a 21-14 on its next possession as Razzano scored on a 3-yard run, capping a methodical 12-play, 83-yard drive.

Razzano had two runs of 16 yards on the drive and converted a third-and-12 with a 16-yard pass to tight end Ryan Senser, who made a one-handed catch in traffic.

Petruziello was even better for Lake Catholic on its tying drive. On third-and-11 at the DeSales 41, Petruziello avoided a sack by flinging a 1-yard pass to Mike Gibbons as two defenders dragged him down.

He then converted on fourth down with a 13-yard pass to Matteucci, who caught a 10-yard scoring pass -- his second of the game -- six plays later to make it 21-21.

DeSales ran the ball six straight times on its next possession, electing to settle for overtime instead of chancing a drive for the winning score.

The Stallions, who qualified for the playoffs despite losing their last four regular-season games, failed to become the first school with more than three losses -- and the first No. 8 playoff seed -- to win a title.

They did take a 14-0 lead behind Razzano and some early Lake Catholic turnovers.

Three plays after Michael Fredo intercepted a Petruziello pass, Razzano found De'Wayne Penn on a screen pass over the middle. Penn weaved through defenders for a 55-yard TD to give the Stallions a 7-0 lead.

A trick play helped put DeSales ahead 14-0. Faced with a fourth-and-1 at the Lake Catholic 35, the Stallions' Scott Wintering faked a punt and hit Tyler Gergley on a 4-yard pass for a first down. Gergley later scored on a 4-yard run, capping a 12-play, 71-yard drive.

Lake Catholic pulled within 14-7 on Petruziello's 50-yard touchdown pass to Matt Matteucci with 9:10 to play in the second.

The Cougars later drove from their 8-yard line to the DeSales' 15, but Mike Gibbons fumbled the ball away with about a minute left in the half.

(Copyright 2001 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)