It wasn’t business as usual for St. Mary’s Springs students this week, including the football team as it prepared for its season opener, a 48-7 win against Ozaukee Friday at Fruth Field.
On Wednesday night, Fr. Victor “Vic” Capriolo, who served as pastor designate for Springs, was killed when he was struck by a motorist while riding his bicycle.
“Thursday we all found out. I think everyone was a little more motivated because of Father Vic,” senior Matt Austin said. “We got the helmet sticker and writing on the arm … yeah there was a little more motivation for Father Vic. Hopefully we did him justice today.”
The circular sticker across the stripes on the back of the helmet read V4JC a reference to Capriolo’s license plate “VIC 4 JC”.
Despite the tragedy, Springs looked almost as good as it was last year when it won the Division 6 state championship.
Ozaukee hung with the hosts early, trailing only 7-0 after one period, using a passing attack that Springs couldn’t stop in the first quarter.
“We’ll get that corrected,” Austin said of the pass defense early. “Give Ozaukee credit. They’re a great team. I think we took them a little lightly at first, but like we always do we came back.”
And it was the pass defense that started a second-quarter onslaught.
The Ledgers scored 28 points in the second quarter with the help of four interceptions and a short field for each touchdown.
Eric Feldner had the first pick, which set up a three-play drive capped by a Mitch Herron 1-yard run. Then Sean Ahern’s interception gave Springs 6 yards to go which it needed only two plays to cover with Darin Ward scoring this touchdown. Austin had the next turnover and the Ledgers again needed three plays to go 23 yards with Ike Floyd scoring. Only one second-quarter score didn’t come off a turnover, but a bad punt made that job easier.
Springs took over at the Ozaukee 21 and, after a penalty, Ward went off tackle left for a 26-yard score.
“(They were) flying to the football, having fun; some interceptions and getting them into long yardage, and that that was a little better for us,” Springs coach Bob Hyland said of his defense.
The teams combined for 20 points in the first 1:30 of the third quarter. But Floyd punched in his third touchdown of the game, after Ward returned a kickoff to the Ozaukee 4, to make it a running clock, and it stayed that way the rest of the game.
“We really wanted to finish out the game, and let some of the other guys get some playing time,” Austin said of that flurry of action. “We didn’t want to let up at all.”