BRISTOL - In the final game of the season for the St. Paul football team, the junior class started the scoring and the senior class finished it en route to a huge 44-22 victory over Oxford on Wednesday night.
Juniors Kevin Ashworth and Connor Bogdanski scored the first two touchdowns.
Seniors Damien Rabis and Chris Dionne each had two of the last four touchdowns in a dominant performance on the ground helped out by a strong defensive effort.
“In all phases of the game everybody stepped up in order to have a positive experience for everybody,” St. Paul head coach Jude Kelly said.
St. Paul deferred in the first half, giving Oxford the ball to start the game at its own 35.
The Wolverines were driving on their first possession with 10 runs from leading rusher Matt Story, who had 41 rushing yards on the drive, but on fourth and goal he was stuffed by the Falcons’ defense.
It didn’t take long for the St. Paul offense to start rolling. A couple of short runs from Connor Bogdanski and Chris Dionne began the drive before quarterback Kevin Ashworth ripped off a 86-yard touchdown run with 5:01 to go in the first quarter.
The two-point conversion failed, but the Falcons weren’t done scoring.
In their second possession, it was Bogdanski with the big runs, the first a 56-yarder and the second a 27-yard touchdown run with 2:35 to go in the first quarter.
The second quarter was a different story, though, as Oxford quarterback Cayden Mitchell found a rhythm.
On both of the Wolverines’ scoring drives, Mitchell played a big part.
In the first scoring drive he was 2-for-3 passing for 30 yards and a 19-yard touchdown pass to his fullback Dylan Mavricz.
With the two-point conversion run by Matt Stordy, Oxford was within six points with 6:06 remaining in the first half.
On the second scoring drive for the Wolverines, following a St. Paul turnover he was 4-for-7 with 53 yards. Julian Ferrante finished it off with a 10-yard touchdown run. The point after try was successful and Oxford led 15-14 with just over a minute remaining.
The big plays for the Falcons continued as that lead for Oxford was lost on the next play by St. Paul, with a 63-yard touchdown run from Damien Rabis.
At the half, the Falcons led 22-15 after holding a 14-0 lead early on.
Coming out in the second half strong was important and St. Paul did just that.
“I think we just had to keep our heads up,” St. Paul senior tailback Damien Rabis said. “We were up 14-0 and didn’t convert on fourth down and had a couple fumbles, but we just kept at it and kept working hard and played at our full potential.”
Fellow senior Chris Dionne showed his ability to get tough yardage throughout the game and he scored a four-yard touchdown run on the first drive of the second half that took seven minutes off the clock.
On the first drive of the second half for Oxford, it was a three and out that resulted in a bad punt from Wolverines punter Lee Braley, setting the Falcons up on the Oxford 38 yard line.
Again, it was Dionne’s name called with five yards needed to score a touchdown and he delivered again, putting St. Paul up 36-15 with 1:06 left in the third quarter.
“It felt really good to end the season on a win,” Dionne said. “And end the game on a successful note for everybody on the field.”
“I think everybody in the backfield scored,” Dionne said. “Everybody on the line had good blocks and we worked as hard as we could and our defense really pulled through and stopped them from getting many points.”
But the Falcons weren’t done yet, as a 32-yard touchdown run by Rabis in the fourth quarter with 3:43 left put an exclamation point on a successful 7-3 season for St. Paul.
“It means a lot,” Falcons senior lineman Dominic Aiello said. “I think our freshman class had about 16 or 17 kids. And right now we only have six seniors. So to go through what we did and still come out on top is just the best feeling.”
Dan Orencole can be reached at 860-973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org On Twitter: @OrencoleDan