WATERBURY- The St. Paul football team finally broke its three-game losing streak.
The Falcons controlled the ball from start to finish its 46-8 victory over Wilby Thursday evening.
“Today’s game started right after last week’s game,” St. Paul head coach Jude Kelly said. “It was the preparation that made a difference. We picked up the pieces from a tough loss [last week against Seymour], we talked about getting better every week and the kids responded.”
The Falcons opened up early, scoring two touchdowns on their first two possessions of the game. Quarterback Kevin Ashworth handed the ball off to Connor Bogdanski both times. The first was a 56-yard touchdown. The second went for 38 yards.
Before the first quarter could end, Chris Dionne rushed six yards for another touchdown and capped off the drive by scoring the two-point conversion, increasing the Falcons’ lead to 24.
“We basically won this game before it even happened,” Ashworth said. “Everyone practiced [well] all week and really what happens is, if you don't practice good all week you're not going to play good. When you do practice [well], that’s when the victories come and we’re able to have success like this.”
The Falcons did what they do best, run the ball. Out of St. Paul’s six touchdowns, five came via the ground game. The only one that came through the air was when Ashworth hit Nick Stolfi for a 20-yard touchdown pass towards the end of the first half.
“That's what we do,” Kelly said. “We feel less strongly about having the ability to patiently run the football and we were able to do that. I thought with the option offense that we run, and be able to run the full back, allows us to open up other things as well. We had a chance to run the offense and run it effectively.”
The second quarter was similar to the first, St. Paul dominated. Damien Rabis rushed three yards into the end zone, followed by another two-point conversion.
Then with 1:40 left in the half, Stolfi caught his 20-yard touchdown to put the Falcons up 38-0 heading into the half.
As time expired, St. Paul’s Connor Lozito intercepted an Alexandre Gonzalez pass. Lozito ran the ball 56 yards, before a flag was thrown on the play. The ball would only get as far as the St. Paul 49-yard line.
Still, St. Paul began working with a running clock as the third quarter began and saw the score increase to 46-0 on Sam Rapp’s 1-yard into the end zone with 5:40 left in the third.
It wasn’t until the final stretch of the fourth quarter when Wilby found itself down by the end zone for the first time. Gonzalez connected with Almar Blondet for a 25-yard passing touchdown, to break the shutout. Blondet finished the drive by scoring the two-point conversion, ending the game 36-8.
Gonzalez finished the night off with 16 completions for 38 attempts on 147 yards with one touchdown, while Ashworth was 1-for-2 on 20 yards with the one touchdown.
“I thought the kids came ready to play tonight and to be a better football team when they left,” Kelly said. “In that regard it was good and I thought we executed well.”
Said Ashworth, “There’s always stuff to improve on. We’re going to go into this week thinking about the game and next season, so of course we just have to have a good week of practice and just get better at everything.”