BRISTOL - In the St. Paul football team’s season opener Saturday night, offensive success looked easy.
Starting off the year with a 38-0 victory over Sacred Heart/Kaynor has to be a good feeling but the Falcons have high expectations for this season and one game to them is in fact just one game regardless of the outcome.
“We’re confident,” quarterback Kevin Ashworth said. “We know that the NVL is one of the best football leagues in the state. You can’t any teams for granted.”
For head coach Jude Kelly, he was impressed with his group’s efforts, but there’s always progress to be made going forward.
“With the wishbone, there is always things to correct with the execution and there’s other parts of the offense that we need to work on in case we need to use it going forward,” Kelly said.
The Falcons are a run-first offense and it showed by not having one pass attempt throughout the entire game. St. Paul has speed in Ashworth and tailback Damien Rabis. Between the two, it was a night to remember, especially for Rabis.
Rabis had a four-touchdown game and the edge was open for him to take advantage of all night long. He did just that with a pair of touchdown runs over 40 yards, the longest being a 59-yard run to start off the high scoring affair.
Starting quarterback Ashworth had a performance that should have the St. Paul team feeling really good about.
“[Ashworth] was a good player last year at quarterback and he’s a very athletic kid and he really understands the game,” Kelly said. “There’s so many different things to understand in the offense and it makes it a difficult offense.”
The offense was very good and did not need to use the punter until the third quarter.
While the points were there, the defense made sure not to give up any.
The defensive line was all over the backfield and the linebackers and defensive backs were there to swarm the ball carrier every single play.
“The defense played very aggressive,” Kelly said. “They played really well. We’re moving forward, it’s tough to tell after one game.”
Although on occasion, the defense had some breakdowns.
“While we’re on defense against a spread offense we gotta buckle down more but altogether it was very good,” Rabis said. “I was very impressed.”
Everything went right for St. Paul besides a blown coverage on the first play of the second half with the ball being overthrown by Sacred Heart quarterback Saijon McIntosh.
The team embodied the expectations that it had coming in and keeping the core group together was a big reason for the anticipation of this season and potential.
“We expected a lot from our team coming in because we didn’t lose many guys from last year,” Ashworth said.
With such a dominating performance, it is key that St. Paul looks forward after enjoying this one as the schedule only gets tougher.
“This was a good game for us but we know it’s a long season,” Ashworth said.
Dan Orencole can be reached at 860-973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @OrencoleDan