Sep. 25—A big night running the ball by Seth Swirczynski pushed Sacred Heart to a home rivalry win Friday night.
The Tigers took down Fort Worth Lake Country Christian 34-26 in their first victory of the year against a TAPPS opponent.
Sacred Heart (2-3) never trailed as the Tigers avenged a lopsided loss from a year ago.
Lake Country (1-3) has lost three-straight games after losing only twice in 2020.
Sacred Heart coach Dale Schilling said the Tigers played the best they have this year.
"We played very fast and physical from whistle to whistle," Schilling said. "Very, very pleased with our whole game plan, how everything played out."
The Tigers used the second and third quarters to take control of the game. With Sacred Heart already leading 7-6, Swirczynski scored two rushing touchdowns in the first three minutes of the second quarter, one for 16 yards and one for 74. The Eagles scored two touchdowns of their own in the second, but Swirczynski added another to keep the Tigers ahead 27-20 at halftime.
The only score of the third quarter came from Ryan Swirczynski, who completed a 7-yard touchdown pass to Nathan Hesse to put the Tigers up 34-20. The Eagles grabbed a touchdown in the fourth quarter, but it would only serve as consolation.
Schilling said his players believed in the game plan, and that made the difference.
"We made a few adjustments late in the game when they got the ball," Schilling said. "The kids just, they really responded. They played smart, assignment football."
The Tigers rushed for 369 yards, led by Seth Swirczynski's 281 yards and four touchdowns. Ryan Swirczynski rushed for 83 yards to go with 97 passing yards and a score.
For Lake Country, Ethan Gustafson threw for 260 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He also rushed for 72 yards and two touchdowns. Kevin Dodard rushed for 108 yards and a score.
Schilling said the Tigers have been needing a rushing performance like this.
"The line blocked good," Schilling said. "They cut blocked when they had to. Seth just did the rest with his speed. It was very, very pleasing to see how our line came off the ball and blocked. The running back always gets the credit, but the offensive linemen, they need a lot of credit here."
Lake Country was the fourth Division III opponent Sacred Heart has faced this year. In two of the prior games, against Arlington Pantego Christian and Lubbock Christian, the Tigers held halftime leads. Both times, they were unable to hang on.
Schilling said he addressed it multiple times, both in the locker room and during warmups. This time, Sacred Heart kept its halftime lead intact throughout the second half.
"I just simply told them, 'Let's don't have any regret,'" Schilling said. "They responded. The big thing there was that first drive of the third quarter. We went down the field and scored, and I told them it's going to set the tone on what we do on this first drive."