BRISTOL - For the St. Paul football team, the season-opening win was nice but this week, it only gets tougher traveling to Holy Cross.
Like the Falcons, the Crusaders beat Kennedy 19-6 in their opening game, flashing its defensive potential.
“Holy Cross is a good football team,” St. Paul head coach Jude Kelly said. “They always have size, toughness and are well coached. It’s no different this year.”
In Week 1, the Falcons defense didn’t face much pressure from the opposing offense. This week should be different, especially against Holy Cross wide receiver DeAndre Wallace.
“He’s very tall and very athletic,” St. Paul defensive back Damien Rabis said. “He’s going to create a matchup problem for us so we definitely need to lock him down.”
Getting a pass rush against the Crusaders will be key to limit the looks for Wallace.
“Our defensive ends have to close quickly,” Falcons defensive tackle Dominic Aiello said. “From a defensive tackle’s perspective, we want to get as much movement as possible on the offensive guards.”
While the passing attack is strong, Holy Cross also has the ability to run the football.
“Offensively, they try to spread you out and use the good athletes that they have,” St. Paul head coach Jude Kelly said. “They have some good receivers and a back in the backfield that is very good. It’s going to be a game that will need to improve each day in practice for.”
For the Falcons offensively, maintaining a strong ground attack is going to be important in order control the clock. If the run game is struggling, St. Paul is confident in quarterback Kevin Ashworth and his ability to pass the ball.
“If we have trouble moving the ball and they make alignments that don’t allow us to be able to do what we do, the answer is to get the ball in the air,” Kelly said. “We’ve practiced [passing] and it’s something that we know we’ll need to have.”
St. Paul hopes to control the line of scrimmage on offense in order to establish the run game and have the ability to pass block.
“It’ll be a challenge for us to handle the front that they have and deal with their athletic secondary,” Kelly said.
Holy Cross will be a much more challenging opponent than Sacred Heart for St. Paul. As a team, it is much stronger and has some weapons on both sides of the ball.
While the game will be tougher, St. Paul knows that and is preparing for a battle in week two.
“I think we’re going to do well. Everybody is holding up real good and working hard,” Aiello said. “We had a good week against Sacred Heart and I’m expecting another good game this week.”
“We need to come out as fired up as we were against Sacred Heart,” Rabis said. “If we can do that, we have a good chance to come out on top.”
Dan Orencole can be reached at 860-973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @OrencoleDan