ARLINGTON HEIGHTS – Ever since he arrived at St. Viator as a freshman, there has been a buzz about Dayvion Ellis.
The junior, who has played on the varsity since that freshman year, showed why Friday night at Forrest View in Arlington Heights.
Ellis scored three touchdowns on runs or pass receptions of over 36 yards as St. Viator stayed in the playoff hunt with a 28-21 win over St. Patrick.
“I have been working hard in the offseason and I feel it is beginning to pay off,” said Ellis, who finished with 10 carries for 153 yards and had a catch for another 36 yards.
“The line blocked great for me and the wide receivers made good blocks to help me on those runs.”
St. Viator coach Dave Archibald said he knew from the beginning that Ellis is a special talent.
“He is such a joy to coach,” Archibald said. “Since he came in as a freshman it has been a blessing to work with him and see him grow on the field and be a leader on this team. He is a great listener and he is a huge talent when he gets the ball in his hands.”
St. Viator (3-1, 1-0) has now won three in a row after the opening season loss to De La Salle. The Lions now face a stretch of four games against ESCC/CCL opponents – Brother Rice, Carmel, Montini and St. Ignatius – which have combined for just one loss thus far.
“We have a mega gauntlet ahead of us,” said Archibald, whose team starts 14 underclassmen. “We are showing what we can do if we play well.”
St. Patrick (1-3, 0-1) scored on its first possession. The Shamrocks drove 56 yards with quarterback Ryan Birt connecting with Gavin Fitzgerald for a 39-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead.
St. Viator got its offense rolling on the next possession. They went 76 yards on eight plays with Ellis taking an option pitch from Cooper Kmet and bursting 37 yards untouched to tie the game at 7-7 with 1:01 left in the first quarter.
The duo hooked up again, this time on a forward pass to put the Lions up 14-7 with 7:51 left in the second quarter. Kmet tossed a sweet deep corner route to Ellis, who beat his Shamrock defender for a 36-yard touchdown and a 14-7 lead.
St. Pat’s tied the game at 14-14. Anthony Holloway capped a 13-play, 80-yard drive to begin the second half on a two-yard run.
The Lions regained the lead thanks to trio of long plays by Ellis. That set up a five-yard touchdown pass from Kmet (10-of-16, 114 yards) to Charlie Dolsen with 7:05 to play to make it 21-14.
St. Pat’s caught the Lions looking into the backfield on a third-and-two play. Birt connected with a wide open Joseph Fido on a 72-yard touchdown with 6:13 left.
After the Lions wee forced to punt, St. Pat’s got the ball near midfield with just over four minutes to play. But the Shamrocks fumbled at the Viator 48 and Luca Cutinello recovered for the Lions.
On the very next play, it was Kmet on the option and pitching to Ellis, who did not disappoint. He hit the sideline and was off untouched on a 52-yard scamper that put the Lions up for good with 2:18 to play.
Ethan Angst then sealed the deal for the Lions with an interception.
“It was great for us to finish with a victory,” Archibald said. “It’s a younger team that has now grown these past few weeks.”