Irish, Patriots, Phoenix open season with victories (updated)
Zack Melnyk, shown in this William Vanderland file shot, scored on a 52-yard run Friday as the Notre Dame Fighting Irish defeated the Blessed Trinity Thunder 45-14 in NCAA senior football action.
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish opened the Niagara Catholic Athletic Association season Friday with a 45-14 victory over the visiting Blessed Trinity Thunder.
Scoring for the Irish were: Bryce Livingston with a three-yard TD run and 62-yard TD grab from Hunter Cropper; Jared Tessier with a 62-yard punt return major and a 90-yard TD run; fullback Zack Melnyk with a 52-yard TD run; Jacob Succar with a 23-yard scoring run; and, Cole Smith, who booted a 42-yard field goal and six converts.
Irish head coach Tim Bisci was happy with the win, but feels his offence needs some work.
“We made big athletic plays but we didn’t really play well offensively as a team,” he said. “We have to be able to clean that up and be able to sustain a drive instead of going for the big play all the time.”
Bisci knows that is an important element for any team with championship aspirations.
“When you get into bad weather, you are going to want to be able to pound the ball and throw short passes to keep the drives alive instead of going two and out because you are hoping for one big play.”
On defence, the Irish forced a turnover on downs and their special teams recovered balls on a few pooched punts.
“It was a total team effort on defence and our special teams were good today,” Bisci said, while singling out the play of will (weak side) linebacker Dylan Backos.
“They tried to run outside on his side and he was snuffing things out like crazy.”
For Blessed Trinity: Corbin Paterson scored on a 25-yard run; Owen Jones had a six-yard rushing major; and, Hunter Oakley booted a pair of converts.
“We were outplayed,” Blessed Trinity head coach Sean Jones said. “They were bigger, stronger, faster, and better prepared.”
It has been a struggle for the Thunder this season and a couple of days into the school term, it looked like BT might not have a team.
“We are quite young — three Grade 11s on the offensive line — and very inexperienced,” Jones said. “Notre Dame looked sharp and crisp and played well. They emptied the bench in the second half and ran the clock.”
PATRIOTS 37 MUSTANGS 0
The Saint Paul Patriots opened the defence of their NCAA title with a 37-0 victory Friday over the Saint Michael Mustangs.
Scoring for the Patriots were: Joe Abbruscato on a 12-yard pass from Devon Schiller-Cleveland; Rielly Sexton on a 14-yard pass from Schiller-Cleveland; Enzey Youyoute on a six-yard run; Youyoute on a 54-yard run after a punt block by Lucas Devlin; Schiller Cleveland on a 16-yard run; and, five converts by Nick Abbruscato.
Strong games for Saint Paul on defence were played by Marley McCray, Jarrell Pappin, Jesse Murphy and Sexton. The defence recorded a safety.
“It was a little sloppy early but the kids maintained their focus and dominated the second half,” Saint Paul coach Paolo Sirianni said.
The Patriots scored on their first drive, fumbled the ball on the Mustangs five-yard line on the second drive and then they had a pick six called back on a roughing the passer penalty.
“Our guys felt comfortable and the experience helps us a lot,” Sirianni said. “And we were very aggressive with our hitting and that was key.
He was also impressed with the play of Schiller-Cleveland.
“Devon had complete control of the offence and I felt he was very good today,” Sirianni said. “He called a lot of his own plays, he took a lot of leadership and he is great to have.”
For Saint Mike’s, Rochie Marigomen had an interception.
“I am glad we played them early because they are going to get better as the year goes on,” Sirianni said. “They have some size and experienced coaches and down the road you are going to see a lot of improvement in them.”
PHOENIX 26 RAIDERS 14
The Saint Francis Phoenix started their football season on a winning note Friday by recording a 26-14 victory over the Holy Cross Raiders in NCAA senior action.
“The defence kept us in the game and stifled a very talented and dangerous John Serrano, who had to leave the game after a hit from Jordan Wylie,” Saint Francis head coach Jim Whittard said.
Performing well for the Phoenix were: Sacade Kasamba, two touchdowns; Quinton Duemo, who scored a TD and a two-point convert and was described by Whittard as the foundation of the win; quarterback Ethan Reid, who was solid under pressure; Benji Zuniga, field goal and converts; Jordan Wylie and Carter Secord, big hits; Favour Irandola, some impressive rushes on offence; Jasper Johns and Aedan McFayfen, impressive plays for Grade 9 players; and, a strong game by Ritchie McGarr.
“It was a great battle with class act Holy Cross,” Whittard said. “The stands were jammed for a festive night that was enjoyed by all. It was truly a great night of NCAA football.”
Holy Cross received a touchdown from Kyle Duong and was trailing 7-6 late in the first half when Serrano went down with an injury. His replacement, Josh Baber, scored on a two-yard run in the final three minutes of the game.
“I am proud of everyone,” Holy Cross head coach Gerry DiSanto said. “We will just get better from here.”