St. Philip was welcomed to a new league and a new season of football on Friday night, when it played its first ever 8-man football contest against visiting Portland St. Patrick at C.W. Post Field.
The welcome, however, wasn’t with open arms.
St. Philip fell to the visiting Shamrocks 54-20 with a running clock for most of the second half.
St. Patrick scored on six of their first seven possessions, including an opening 80-yard kickoff return from junior Jake Schneider.
“Our kids are working hard and they’re doing a good job of picking each other up. We are happy with their effort they gave for sure,” said St. Patrick’s head coach Patrick Russman.
The other first half scores came off a 12-yard run from quarterback Jake Schneider, runs of 68 and 10 yards from Casey Wilcox, a 49-yard touchdown run from Kyle Schrauben, and a 44-yard pass from Schneider to Wilcox.
St Philip was only able to score once in the first half, when Jon Niland took a kickoff 79 yards for a touchdown midway through the first quarter.
The biggest downfall and most glaring statistic was the turnovers for the Tigers, however. They gave up the ball seven times in the first half, most coming at the ends of long sustaining drives.
St. Philip contains a roster with two-thirds of its make-up being freshmen and sophomores. The young team will continue to face a tough learning curve.
“This season we are going to have to play a lot of underclassmen. We only have one senior returning, two juniors returning so we are a young team, but you have to give your credit to Portland St. Patrick – they’re a good football team,” said St. Philip coach David Downey. “They’re senior dominated and it showed. Their experience and their skill level was a lot higher than what we have.”
The Tigers seemed to get into a slight groove in the second half, when the switched to a wildcat offense. They were able to gain 100 yards on the ground on only nine carries.
Unfortunately, their first offensive touchdowns of the contest came late in the game, when Brayden Darr took the ball 20 yards down the right side of the field for the score.
Niland was able to add another late touchdown when he connected with Hunter Haley for a 22-yard passing touchdown.
St. Phillip was lead in rushing by Niland, who lead all rushers with 110 yards.