To fully appreciate the rapid ascension of the St. Joseph football program consider that as recently as 2007, when Howell won its lone state sectional title, the Metuchen school didn’t even have a football program.
The Falcons soared another step in their third year of varsity football Saturday and improved to 6-0 with a 42-12 victory over Howell, a dominant triumph over a Group 5 school with a recent playoff pedigree.
“It’s been an incredible ride so far,” said first-year St. Joseph coach Casey Ransone. “My kids understand that as long as we keep winning every single day, every single practice, winning takes care of itself..”
Matthew Olivo led the way by carrying 9 times for 99 yards and two touchdowns and altered Howell’s game plan with a 60-yard punt return that gave St. Joseph a 14-0 cushion less than seven minutes into the contest. Sophomore quarterback Breein Tyree contributed 190 yards of total offense by completing four of seven passes for 100 yards and a touchdown and rushing nine times for 90 yards and another score.
St. Joseph dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and limited the Rebels to minus-10 yards on the ground, much of that attributed to the eight sacks inflicted by the Falcon defense.
“We’ve been able to do that all year,” Ransone said. “Our MO here is we’re going to be physical every week. When you’re a physical football team and you take care of things up front you’re going to win a lot of games.”
Howell (2-3) ran the ball on its first play of the game and did not attempt another running play until the first play of the fourth quarter, unless you count quarterback Connor McGlynn running for his life on virtually every snap.
“Obviously we had trouble running the ball early, then we fell behind right away,” said Howell coach Derek Reichenberger, who prefers an aerial-based Spread attack. “A lot of it is dictated by the score of the game. When you fall behind that quickly, it’s tough. The spread was grounded today.”
McGlynn actually fared pretty well when he managed to stay on his feet, completing 18 of 34 passes for 190 yards and a touchdown, and his clever elusiveness prevented at least a half a dozen more sacks.
In deference to Senior Day Ransone started Austin James at quarterback and he made the most of the opportunity by guiding the Falcons on an eight-play, 55-yard march to open the contest, culminating with a nine-yard touchdown pass to Marques Townes.
Howell went three-and-out and abandoned any pretense of a running game for the next two and a half quarters after Olivo rambled 60 yards with the ensuing punt to create a 14-0 deficit from which the Rebels could never recover.
Howell rallied to 21-6 early in the second quarter on a 99-yard kickoff return by Joey Schultz, whose back foot was in the end zone but was allowed to run because the ball never crossed the goal line. The Rebels other touchdown came on a 6-yard pass from McGlynn to Dontrell Jones that made the score 35-12 with five minutes to play in the third quarter.