By Robert Cole
St. Francis Prep was unable to overcome a slow start, falling to St. John the Baptist 30-15 in their opening game of the season at the Martin Van Buren Football Field on Sunday afternoon.
The Terriers’ defense surrendered two first quarter touchdowns, while the offense was held scoreless until the fourth quarter.
St. John opened the scoring with a two-yard scramble by quarterback Jeremy Dejesus, who also connected with Nicholas Delcore through the air for a score to give the Cougars an early 14-0 lead.
St. Francis’ defense played better in the second quarter, keeping the Cougars out of the end zone and allowing just a 22-yard field goal, though it extended St. John the Baptist’s lead to 17-0 at the half.
But the Cougars came out strong in the third quarter, as the duo of Dejesus and Delcore connected for a 95-yard touchdown pass. The Terrier defense had forced the quarterback out of the pocket, but Dejesus found Delcore open 50 yards down the field. Delcore made the catch and raced toward the end zone to give the Cougars a 24-0 advantage.
Despite the deficit, St. Francis Prep refused to quit and started to claw its way back into the game during the fourth quarter. Luca Capo dashed 44 yards down the field, which set up Nazareth McFarlan’s 28-yard touchdown scamper.
The Cougars answered back when Delcore scored this third touchdown of the game, but the Terriers found the end zone again when receiver Robert Padavona leaped to wrestle an Omarion Jones pass away from defensive back Sebastian Lebron. A converted extra point made the score 30-15, which would prove to be the final score.
“In the tough Cathloic High School Football League, there is very little room for error, and our team’s inexperience showed itself and was exposed by a tough St. John the Baptist team today,” St. Francis Prep coach Rich Carroll said. “We look forward to improving and competing as the season moves along.”
St. Francis Prep will look to get into the win column for the first time this season when they take on another tough opponent next week in Kellenberg Memorial, who defeated Holy Trinity 34-14 in their season opener. The game is set to kick off at 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 16, in Uniondale.