Badin tops CJ for 37th straight regular-season win, clinches share of GCL Co-Ed

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

DAYTON — Zach Yordy and the Badin Rams got exactly the gritty type of test they expected on Friday from the Chaminade Julienne Eagles.

The Badin senior and his teammates responded like champions.

Yordy bounced back from a first-half injury and a fumble returned 48 yards by CJ junior wide receiver Caelon Russell to score the go-ahead touchdown on a 2-yard run on the first play of the fourth quarter, Badin sophomore running back Lem Grayson added his second touchdown of the game with 3:25 to go and Badin left CJ with a 27-13 win that clinched at least a tie for the Greater Catholic League Co-Ed Division championship.

“It’s always great win GCL games,” Zach Yordy said. “This was a great team win.”

Senior Aidan Brown returned a punt for a touchdown to help Badin improve to 9-0 overall and 4-0 in the league.

“The kids battled,” Badin coach Nick Yordy said. “A win’s a win.”

Badin, the No. 2 team in the Division III state poll and the No. 1 team in the Division III, Region 12 computer rankings, will wrap up the regular season Cincinnati McNicholas on Friday. Badin would clinch its fourth straight outright league title and fifth in six years with a win over the Rockets.

“It’s not going to get easier next week,” Nick Yordy said. “They’re going to give us their best shot.”

Chaminade Julienne will play archrival Alter at home in the regular-season finale on Friday.

The Eagles shared the 2019 title with the Rams and own the last regular-season win over Badin, which now has won 37 straight regular-season games.

“You can see why they’re the kind of program they are,” Alter coach Earl White said as he packed up equipment at the Eagles’ bench in a light drizzle.

“We knew it was going to be as battle,” Nick Yordy said. “We did what we had to do. The defense did a great job in the second half. The offense ran the ball well.

Yordy carried the ball on the last three plays of the go-ahead drive, gaining 11 yards and literally diving into the end zone after getting tripped near the 3.

“If you’re at the two-yard line, you’ve got to get in,” he said. “You’ve got to make a play.”

Zach’s dad tempered his enthusiasm.

“That was a big touchdown run,” Nick Yordy admitted. “If you take away the fumble, he had a good game.”

The Eagles took a 3-0 lead on the opening possession on senior kicker Melayna Papalios’s 22-yard field with 7:28 left in the first quarter, a score set up by junior Nydrell Wright’s 48-yard run on third-and-11 from the CJ 43.

The Rams got on the board at almost the exact same point of the second quarter on Brown’s 58-yard punt return for a touchdown and a 6-3 lead.

Badin senior Austin Buckle recovered in the air sophomore Malachi Maddox-Ringer’s fumble of a pass from sophomore quarterback Isaac Sullivan at the Badin 22-yard line on CJ’s next possession.

Maddox-Ringer suffered a left leg injury on the play. He didn’t return.

The Rams capitalized with Grayson’s 5-yard touchdown run with 18 seconds left before halftime. That possession was kept alive by Yordy’s 10-yard run on fourth-and-2 from the Eagles’ 15.

Yordy made that run after coming back from an injury with 4:08 left in the first half.

“We didn’t finish,” White said. “We didn’t finish plays and we didn’t finish the game. We played hard. Give (Badin) credit. When it was time for them to make plays, they made plays. When it was time for us to make plays, we didn’t make plays.”

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