The St. Augustine football team threw exactly one pass in Saturday’s game.
It was tipped at the line of scrimmage and intercepted.
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“That was one pass too many,” Hermits coach Pete Lancetta joked afterward.
Like everyone else on his sideline, Lancetta was all smiles after his St. Augustine football bulldozed host St. Joseph in a 28-12 win that — at least after the game — felt like it may have saved the season for a Hermits team that entered the contest 0-2.
“We’re putting things behind us. We were able to come out here and play our best game,” said Isaiah Raikes, a 6-foot-1, 300-pound running back and defensive tackle.
Raikes — a hulking, intimidating and yet surprisingly nimble presence on a football field — was a fitting symbol of his team’s success Saturday afternoon.
St. Augustine was clearly the bigger team. And through every quarter, the Hermits showed they were stronger. The team threw only one pass because it was gaining chunks of yards on the ground at will.
That was literally the case for Raikes, who converted every time he was handed the ball in a short-yardage situation. The Wildcats simply couldn’t stop him.
He was also a monster on defense, helping to hold highly touted St. Joe running back Jada Byers to 42 yards on six carries. Byers ran for negative total yards outside of a 44-yard touchdown run in the third quarter that made the score 21-12 and momentarily breathed life into the game.
Byers also had a 34-yard reception and an 8-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter. But those were his team’s only big plays of the game.
The Hermits never lost momentum and never stopped marching up and down the field.
“They stuck to their game plan. They beat us in every aspect of the game,” said Wildcats coach Paul Sacco, whose team fell to 2-1. “I did think they’d try to throw a little bit more. But they kept the ball on the ground, ate up the clock. This game came down to basic fundamentals.”
Running back Franklin Simms carried most of the load for St. Augustine in the second half, helping to quash any attempt by St. Joe to build momentum.
He finished with 17 carries for 109 yards and a 4-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter to give the Hermits a 28-12 lead.
Raikes, a Texas A&M recruit, finished with six carries for 40 yards and Nasir Hill carried 6 times for 42 yards and two first-half touchdowns. Sophomore quarterback Austin Leyman added five carries for 40 yards.
“We had passes, of course, in the game plan,” Lancetta said. “But when we’re moving the ball like we did, I’m not going to do it.”
St. Augustine was able to bury the memory of a 20-7 loss to Lenape last week that dropped the proud program to 0-2.
“Let’s face it. We’re not used to that here,” said Lancetta, in his first year as head coach. “But they never stopped working, and they never stopped believing. That was evident today.”
St. Augustine 7 14 0 7 — 28
St. Joseph 6 0 6 0 — 12
SA: Nasir Hill 19 run (Luke Snyder kick)
SJ: Jada Byers 8 pass from Jayden Shertel (pass failed)
SA: Hill 4 run (Snyder kick)
SA: Austin Leyman 5 run (Snyder kick)
SJ: Jada Byers 44 run (run failed)