In the end, it was what was very much expected. A comfortable victory — after a slow start — followed with a celebratory ice bath for Immaculata first-year coach John Hack.
A season-opening 30-0 conquest of Plainfield Saturday afternoon at Hub Stine Field marked the beginning of Hack’s reign after replacing long-time coach Pierce Frauenheim, who retired after last season.
Though the score reflected a rout, Plainfield did as much as it could with a spirited defense, down 7-0 at half. That deficit became 14-0 in the third quarter before Immaculata tucked away the Mid-State 38 Watchung Division clash with 16 points in the fourth.
Senior Connor Vanderbeek scored three touchdowns and Aiden Szymanski kicked a 34-yard field goal and scored on a short run. Szymanski also had one of two Spartans interceptions.
“We had some energy and I liked it, I’m glad we came out like that, but Plainfield did a great job in the first half,” said Hack when asked if the sloppy start could be attributed to the Spartans’ eagerness to come through in his first game.
Immaculata played without senior quarterback Izzy Sanders, awaiting an NJSIAA hearing likely this week after Franklin protested his transfer to the state association. Immaculata was also without senior defensive end/tight end Joe Vitiello, who has been slowed by a hamstring strain.
Senior Sal Fama was especially busy, playing quarterback in addition to calling the Spartans defense as the ‘Mike’ linebacker.
“Sal did just fine did today. We ran the ball a lot, and he’s in a tough spot as far as being a Mike linebacker and quarterback,” said Hack. “He has the most mentally tough positions on both sides of the ball. We ask our Mike linebackers to do a lot in this defense, and he quarterbacked our defense and they did great.”
The defense recorded 15 plays for a loss, while sacking senior quarterback Jon Roldan five times, making two interceptions (Szymanski and and senior linebacker Scott Royster) and recovered a fumble.
Sanders and Vitiello are both expected back this week when Immaculata plays host to Ridge Friday night, while Plainfield heads to Linden for a Saturday afternoon battle where it will try to snap a 10- game losing streak.
I – Connor Vanderbeek 45 run (Szymanski kick).
I – Connor Vanderbeek 36 pass from Fama (Szymanski kick).
I – Szymanski 34 FG.
I – Connor Vanderbeek 1 run (pass failed).
I – Szymanski 4 run (Szymanski kick).
RUSHING — I: Connor Vanderbeek 14-110, Chandler Vanderbeek 6-32, Szymanski 5-20; Sokalski 1-(-2); Falgiano 1-0; Banks 2-3; Fama 9-19; P: Kennedy 7-2, S. Jones 9-8, Roldan 8-6, Price 1-(-21), Cisson 1-(-10).
PASSING — I: Fama 6-11-1-62, Falgiano 1-1-0-6; P: Roldan 5-14-2-106.
RECEIVING — I: Connor Vanderbeek 2-40, Chandler Vanderbeek 1-9, Sokalski 2-16, Szymanski 1-(-3), Lynam 1-6; P: M. Harris 4-104, Kearney 1-2.