Patriots open with win over Notre Dame
The Saint Paul Patriots senior boys football team opened its season Thursday with a 42-17 victory over Notre Dame.
A hallmark of Saint Paul Patriots senior football teams is a quarterback with strong passing abilities.
This year’s edition of the Patriots features Johnathan Haw at quarterback. He scored on a five-yard run and connected on enough passes Thursday to lead Saint Paul to a 42-17 victory over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on the opening day of the Niagara Catholic Athletic Association senior football season.
The 17-year-old has been a quarterback for the past six seasons, two years on the Saint Paul junior team and now in his second season at senior. He started last season backing up Jordan Terrio and then replaced Terrio when he was injured. The six foot, 185-pounder then saw his first senior season end with a knee injury.
“I learned the offence very well and to be myself,” he said.
He has taken the lessons learned last season and applied them to this year.
“I command the field better and I am getting the ball to the receivers,” the Grade 12 student said. “I want to be the starter and take command of the field and our offence.”
Saint Paul head coach Rick Oreskovich likes what he has seen from Haw.
“Jon has always been a competitor and he has been playing football since he was a young kid,” he said. “He’s a solid kid, he knows the offence, he’s talented and he’s a very good athlete.”
Haw was impressive Thursday.
“He had good hop to his step, he was accurate today, he was confident and he has a good set of receivers,” Oreskovich said. Haw is confident the Patriots can have a strong season.
“We need to focus on eliminating stupid mistakes and penalties and execute,” he said.
Oreskovich shares that enthusiasm, but he’s not overconfident.
“We have to win every play and not look past the play we are playing,” he said. “Play by play by play, nothing else.”
Also scoring points for the Patriots Thursday were: Cam Lang, TD runs of five and 40 yards; Jemar Graham, 75-yard fumble return for a score; Nick Federico, 15-yard touchdown run; Nathan Dunleavy, field goals from 30 and 25 yards out; and, Jon Archibald, rouge.
Notre Dame quarterback Brandon Graziani tossed a pair of 40-yard scoring passes to Jonah Gruarin and Justin Succar and Gruarin opened the scoring with a field goal.
“I thought we did what we were going to do,” Notre Dame head coach Tim Bisci said. “We’re young again and linemen wise we are so inexperienced.
“It’s going to be a learning curve for those guys and if they can pick it up, I think we can be a competitive team.”
Bisci was happy with the play of Graziani and his receivers Thursday.
“Our kids are young and a couple of times we stopped running on some routes that were open,” he said. “As the season wears on, hopefully the kids will stay interested and focused and we can get better.”