DeSales running back too much for Alter in state semifinal loss

Highlights: Alter vs. DeSales in Division III state semifinal on Nov. 13, 2020

Alter suffers seventh semifinal loss in 12 final four appearances

Defensive coordinator Tom Alig led the Alter Knights onto the turf before a Division III state semifinal Friday at London High School, cutting through a banner that read, “Giddy up, Stallions. Get ready for your final ride.”

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After the game, Alig consoled his players after a 23-13 loss to the Stallions of Columbus DeSales. That was the bad news. The good news was head coach Ed Domsitz, who tested positive for COVID-19 earlier in the week, felt good enough to watch the game from home and to talk to Alig, who filled in for him as head coach, at halftime.

“Ed’s doing well,” Alig said.

The news about Domsitz broke Tuesday, and Alig said that was a rough day for the team because the players thought the game might get cancelled.

“But they settled down,” Alig said. “Wednesday and Thursday were pretty good practices.”

Alter’s dreams of advancing to the state championship game for the sixth time and for the first time since 2018 evaporated fast late in the third quarter.

DeSales running back Quintell Quinn scored on a 10-yard run with 12.8 seconds left to extend the DeSales lead to 16-7. After Alter lost a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, Quinn scored on a 21-yard run on the first play of the fourth quarter, breaking several tackles on his way to the end zone.

Last year in a 35-31 victory against Alter in the regular season, Quinn gained 147 yards and scored two touchdowns, one on a 90-yard kickoff return. This time, he ran for 135 yards and three touchdowns.

“We just couldn’t stop that running back,” Alig said. “They gave us some fits in the beginning with the quarterback runs, and then he just started overpowering us, and there was that one where we didn’t wrap him up and he broke away.”

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DeSales (9-1) advanced to play Chardon in the state championship game at 7 p.m. Nov. 21 at Fortress Obetz on the south side of Columbus. Chardon beat Tiffin Columbian 47-7 on Friday.

DeSales, a three-time state champion (1995, 1997 and 1998), will make its ninth state championship game appearance and first since 2009. Chardon won its only state championship in 1994 and was runner-up in 1998.

This was Alter’s 12th final four appearance and its seventh loss in the semifinals.

“The kids played really well all night,” Alig said. “They fought hard. We just ran up against a team that was clicking all night long.”

Alter senior running back Branden McDonald, who became the school’s all-time leading rusher earlier in the season, rushed for two touchdowns in his final game. Alter will also lose its quarterback, Brian Shane, to graduation and its leading receiver, Patrick Connor.

Alter (8-3) will return two of Ohio’s top 2022 recruits: linebacker C.J. Hicks and defensive tackle Derrick Shepard.

“The future always looks bright around here,” Alig said. “The kids work hard. They’re really good kids. We’ll just try to do it again.”

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