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O’Brien: Notre Dame’s Ty Gavin takes his chance, runs over St. Patrick

Ty Gavin grew up on the Northwest Side watching Notre Dame-St. Patrick football games. He saw his brothers play in front of sold out crowds and dreamed about the day he’d get his chance.

That moment came on Friday in Niles and the 5-10, 155 pound sophomore dazzled. He scored three touchdowns to lead the Dons to a 25-7 over No. 25 St. Patrick.

“I’ve been waiting my whole life to play in this game and it was awesome, really something special,” Gavin said.

Gavin had 33 carries for 196 yards and scored on touchdown runs of 29, nine and three yards. He’s been scoring touchdowns in bunches for the Dons past few games. But Notre Dame coach Mike Hennessey was quick to tone down the hype around his talented sophomore.

“Give credit where it belongs, to the five guys up in front,” Hennessey said. “We did a great job controlling the line of scrimmage from the second quarter on. We felt that’s what we needed to do to win. When you have a formula and it starts to work, that’s something you can hang your hat on.”

St. Patrick entered the game with an undefeated record and a brand new spot in the Super 25.

“That made it so much better, made the atmosphere and hype even better,” Gavin said. “It’s an awesome feeling to beat them and destroy their undefeated streak.”

The Dons (4-1, 3-0 East Suburban Catholic) led 15-0 at the half. They burned most of the third quarter with a long drive but didn’t score, which gave St. Patrick (4-1, 2-1) a chance.

Shamrocks quarterback Anthony Mazzenga found Andrew Edgar for an 88-yard touchdown pass with 2:25 to play in the third quarter and St. Patrick was back in the game. But Notre Dame just went back to the well, running the ball and sucking up valuable time. Dons kicker Mike O’Malley made a 27-yard field goal with 5:03 to play to increase the lead to 18-7.

Notre Dame’s defense bent but didn’t break throughout the game. Matt Doherty’s interception of a trick play (Mazzenga pitched the ball to receiver Jonathan Hamilton, who threw the pick) in the fourth quarter squelched any hopes of a St. Patrick comeback.

“[The defense] has been unbelievable all season, just a rock for us,” Gavin said. “And they did it again tonight, held a team averaging 40 points a game to just seven. It was incredible.”

Mazzenga was 18-for-29 for 252 yards and threw one interception for St. Patrick. His favorite target, receiver Andrew Edgar, had several highlight grabs and finished with six receptions for 131 yards. The Shamrocks’s ground game wasn’t as effective, managing just 34 rushing yards.

“The kids felt really confident about what they were doing, they just executed,” Hennessey said. “Having St. Patrick come in undefeated may have spiced it out a little. But this is a special game. Every year it is like this, it doesn’t matter what the records are.”