WATERBURY - The St. Paul football team has regained a sense of focus after concentrating on fundamentals.
The Falcons (6-3) dominated the field Thursday night in their 46-8 victory over Wilby.
St. Paul had been stuck in a rut, starting off with its 50-0 shutout loss to Ansonia three weeks ago, followed by two more losses against Woodland and Seymour. The Falcons defense had given up 114 total points in the previous three weeks, an average of 38.
“We just wanted to focus on the fundamentals of playing our game this week,” running back Connor Bogdanski said. “Sometimes we play different teams, we get all antsy and we try to change our game to win the matchups, when really we should just focus on our game.”
The Falcons utilized their ability to run ball, as Bogdanski, Chris Dionne, Damien Rabis and Sam Rapp all averaged about 11 yards per carry. But it was Bogdanski that led the way with 11 carries for 190 yards, including a 56-yard rushing touchdown along with another 38-yarder.
The Falcons even completed a rare passing play, as quarterback Kevin Ashworth connected with Nick Stolfi for a 20-yard touchdown pass with just under two minutes left in the first half.
St. Paul jumped out of the gate early, scoring touchdowns on its first two possessions of the game. Before the first quarter ended, Chris Dionne rushed six yards to cap another touchdown drive.
Falcons head coach Jude Kelly took this past week to work on the fundamentals of football.
“Well, we came off a rough couple weeks, the past games have been hard for us,” Ashworth said. “We weren’t able to execute some things, so we kind of took this week to tune in on what we need to work on and we got it done.”
By the end of the first half, St. Paul led 38-0. The Falcons began working with a running clock as the third quarter began. The score increased to 46-0 on Rapp’s 1-yard run into the end zone with just less than six minutes left in the third.
St. Paul controlled the ball from start to finish. It wasn’t until the final three minutes of the game that the Wildcats found themselves at their end zone.
Wilby quarterback Alexandre Gonzalez connected with Almar Blondet for a 25-yard passing touchdown, breaking the shutout. Blondet also ran the ball to complete the two-point conversion, ending the game 46-8.
Gonzalez finished the night off with 16 completions on 38 attempts for 147 yards.
The Wildcats’ defense has given up a total of 413 points this season, an average of 45.9.
A good week of practice makes all the difference for the Falcons.
“They hustled out the practice and they got better during the week,” Kelly said. “That always makes a difference.”
With only one game left in their regular season, the Falcons still find things they need to work on.
“There’s always stuff to improve on,” Ashworth said. “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.”
St. Paul will match up against Oxford (3-5) on Wednesday, Nov. 22.