While not necessarily perfect, the St. Mary’s Knights opened the 2023 senior high school football season on a positive note on Saturday afternoon.
A pair of opening-quarter touchdowns helped the Knights to a 35-0 victory over the Superior Heights Steelhawks Saturday at Superior Heights in the opening game of the high school football season locally.
“Overall, we’re happy,” said St. Mary’s coach Jim Monico, though he admitted his team “made too many mistakes.”
“But, overall, I thought we played pretty well for week one,” Monico added.
Steelhawks coach Matt Disando said following the game that he felt his team got better as the game wore on.
“There’s lots to build on,” Disando said. “I’m super happy with the effort. We’ll take advantage of that and we’ll adjust and make plays and go from there. It’s baptism by fire. We’ve got a lot of new guys that were in the game, and they did a hell of a job. They competed for four quarters and that’s all I can ask.”
Disando agreed that a tough start offensively in the opening quarter made life difficult but added that the team will use it to make some adjustments heading into week two.
“We’ve got a brand-new system and that was our first game,” Disando said. “We have to clean up the little things. We’ll get back on Monday and get to work. We’ll take advantage of watching the film and we’ll make some changes.”
“Some of these guys have never played football before and I put them in a spot where I asked them to do a hell of a lot,” Disando also said.
For the Knights, Monico credited the Knights defence as being “solid all day long.”
“We expect that from them,” Monico added. “The D was a big tone-setter for us and they really did their job, especially early.
St. Mary’s got on the board first after Superior Heights got pushed back deep on their first possession and conceded a safety to make it 2-0 Knights.
The St. Mary’s offence got on the scoreboard later in the opening quarter when quarterback Matti Tucker hit Jack McPherson along the sideline and the latter ran the ball in for a 65-yard touchdown. Tucker then hit Nate Carter for the two-point convert to make it a 10-0 game.
St. Mary’s extended the lead further later in the quarter when Tucker hit Carter for a long pass to bring the ball to the Superior Heights two-yard line. Tucker then ran the ball in from two yards out for a touchdown and hit Carter with a pass for the two-point convert, giving the Knights an 18-0 lead through one quarter.
The Knights took a 25-0 lead when Tucker hit McPherson for a 52-yard touchdown. Carter then hit the convert on the play.
St. Mary’s took a 27-0 lead into the half after Superior Heights conceded a safety late in the second quarter.
With the Knights leading 28-0 after a rouge in the third quarter, Tucker hit Carter for a 21-yard touchdown pass with just over two minutes to go in the fourth quarter. Carter’s subsequent convert made it a 35-0 game.
Tucker finished the day completing 14 of 20 pass attempts for 334 yards for the Knights in the win.
Carter caught nine passes while McPherson caught four for 140 yards.
Anthony Blonda ran the ball seven times for 43 yards on the ground.
Defensively for St. Mary’s, Blayre Boudreau, Noah Boyer, and Colin Meade had three tackles each.
Gavin Nye had 5.5 tackles for Superior Heights.
Cole Cond caught a pair of passes for 36 yards for Superior Heights.
Superior Heights quarterback Daikaden Gauthier completed six passes for 55 yards on 15 attempts.
The Knights are slated to return to action on Thursday night against Korah while Superior Heights is in action on Friday against White Pines.
Monico called the meeting with Korah as “a measuring stick.”
In Saturday’s junior game, a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter took on added importance as St. Mary’s beat Superior Heights 21-14.
The teams traded touchdowns in the opening half with Amare Valente-Boatang scoring on a 26-yard touchdown pass from Hayes late in the opening quarter. Boatang hit the extra point to make it 7-0 St. Mary’s.
In the second quarter, Chase Cerasuolo hit Maxx Clement on a one-yard touchdown pass to pull Superior Heights to within one, setting the stage for the late-game majors by the Knights.
A three-yard touchdown run by Alex Hayes in the fourth quarter made it 14-6 St. Mary’s in the fourth quarter.
Jahiem Perreault-Dedier added another touchdown on a 39-yard run late in the game for St. Mary’s. Boatang’s extra point made it 21-6
Perreault-Dedier’s touchdown took on added importance when Blaine Polson intercepted a pass for the Steelhawks and ran the ball to the St. Mary’s eight.
Superior Heights then made it a one-score game when Cerasuolo hit Cooper McAuley on an eight-yard pass. With the two-point convert from Cerasuolo, Superior Heights pulled to within seven, but couldn’t tie the game.
Offensively for the Knights, Hunter Jackson chipped in with 83 yards rushing on 17 carries in the win.
Gabe Bifano had 6.5 tackles while Dominic Cavaliere added 5.5 defensively for St. Mary’s.
Ben Trevisanut had 91 yards rushing on 23 carries for Superior Heights offensively while McAuley caught a pair of passes for 24 yards,
Defensively for the Steelhawks, Polson had 5.5 tackles in addition to the late-game interception. Clement and Jayden Caldwell added four tackles each.
Both junior teams are also back in action in week two against the same opponents as their senior counterparts.
Junior games are scheduled to begin at 4:45 with the senior games following at 7:30 p.m., all at Superior Heights.