BRISTOL - The wishbone formation which St. Paul uses is a run-dominant offense, and the Falcons did just that in the opener, run.
St. Paul scored a touchdown on all four possessions in the first half on its way to a 38-0 blowout of Sacred Heart in the season opener on Saturday.
Early on in the contest, it was clear that the Sacred Heart/Kaynor defense couldn’t stop the Falcons’ run game. St. Paul took advantage and did so quickly.
Damien Rabis and Kevin Ashworth combined for five scores on the ground and Rabis displayed his breakaway speed with three of his touchdown runs going for 35 yards or longer.
Rabis finished with four touchdowns as the focal point of St. Paul’s offense.
“My line made good gaps for me to run through and my quarterback made awesome reads for me to have the that performance,” Rabis said. “It was a complete team effort and we’re really happy we won our first game.”
Ashworth had a 21-yard touchdown run and ripped off chunks of yardage each time he kept the ball. In his second season as starting quarterback, he looked very comfortable leading the offense.
“Second year being quarterback, it’s a lot easier to make the reads to pitch the ball and run out there,” Ashworth said.
Rabis and Ashworth combined for 241 yards of total offense and 34 points.
“It was a nice start for the kids,” St. Paul head coach Jude Kelly said. “We had a great preseason and have a lot of younger players that haven’t played before, so for them to get a little confidence is good going forward.”
With the success of Rabis and Ashworth being positives, running back Chris Dionne provided the team with a scare, tweaking the knee to which he had recently recovered to an injury.
“When he felt that he tweaked it I thought that he got scared,” Kelly said. “Our trainer says he’s fine, so that’s good, as he’s a key player for us.”
With all the big play success, much of that can be attributed to the strong line play both offensively and defensively, as the Falcons controlled the trenches throughout the game.
“We worked real hard in practice,” lineman Dominic Aiello said. “We had an idea of what they were going to do. I think today just showed the amount of work we’ve all put in, because everybody executed and it showed on the scoreboard.”
With the big lead in hand, St. Paul controlled the clock with big back Connor Bogdanski getting most of the late game carries for the Falcons. St. Paul did not have a single pass attempt.
“We want to run the football and if people overplay and stop the run, then we have to have an answer to that. We feel that we’ve worked on that, but as long as we can run the ball, that’s what we’re going to do,” Kelly said.
Sacred Heart had two really strong opportunities to score. On the first drive of the second half, junior quarterback Saijon McIntosh had Cassidy Shahen open deep down the field, but McIntosh just overthrew him.
Later on in the contest, McIntosh and the Hearts offense were in the red zone and putting together a good drive when McIntosh fumbled the ball and the Falcons recovered it, ending any chance for Sacred Heart to put up points as the clock was winding down in the fourth quarter.
With so many positives in the game, St. Paul should feel good about the first game, but next week against Holy Cross will be a challenging contest.
“I think we’re just going to use the momentum to have a great week of practice and carry it all in to Holy Cross,” Aiello said.
Dan Orencole can be reached at 860-973-1811, or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @OrencoleDan