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December 10, 2013

St. Joe's pounds Pope John for latest title

The Game At A Glance: St. Joe's (Montvale) got off to an early lead and never took their foot off the gas, winning the Non-Public Group 3 title, beating pope John, 62-14. The Green Knights dominated and intercepted seven passes.

First Half Highlights: St. Joe's got things going on the first play from scrimmage when Mark Fossati intercepted a Sonny Abramson pass and returned it to the 26. Three plays later, Spencer Aukamp found Quai Jefferson just over the goal line for a score from eight yards out. Joe's was inside the Pope John ten yard line again, but Noah Brown intercepted in the back of the end zone to kill the drive. Pope John picked up a couple of first downs, but Austin Bodrato intercepted on the Joe's 30. This time, the Green Knights scored when Aukamp found Austin Barber over the middle for a 15 yard score. Pope John fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Joe's recovered on the 26. Joe's delivered a crushing blow on the next play when Aukamp connected with Jefferson a second time just past the left pylon and it was 21-0, St. Joe's, with a minute and a half left in the quarter.

Pope John was driving and kept it going when a fake punt resulted in a controversial pass interference call, giving the Lions the ball on the 26. Three plays later, Brown scored through the middle from a yard out to put Pope John on the scoreboard, 21-7. St. Joe's didn't flinch as it went down the field in ten plays and Sherman Alston scored on a seven yard run. The Green Knights struck again when Aukamp found Jefferson on a 33 yard pass to make it 35-7 with a little less than three minutes to go. On the next play from scrimmage, Alston intercepted and set Joe's up on the 45. They ended the drive with Jefferson scoring his fourth touchdown on a 3 yard jet sweep and it was 42-7 with 36 seconds left in the half.

Second Half Highlights: The second half was played on a running clock. Joe's intercepted another pass, with Conrad Fitzpatrick returning it 81 yards for a score. Geoffrey Hildebrandt scored on a one yard run and they closed the scoring with Kahlil Guerrier scored from four yards out. The Pope John touchdown came when Abramson found Brown for a 75 yard score.

Play Of The Game: There were so many, but I would go with Fossati intercepting on the game's first play. It set a tone for the remainder of the game that the Green Knights weren't going to be denied.

Game Balls: Jefferson ended his career with four touchdowns. A big story was St. Joe's dominating the battle in the trenches on both sides. This was especially true on the defensive side of the ball, as they pressured Abramson into throwing seven interceptions, including three by Bodrato. It was a team effort all the way around.


St. Joe's head coach Tony Karcich - "Win or lose, you question everything you do and we've done so many good things all year long. I almost changed our defense this week, but I looked at the positive things we've done and I'm glad we did. We worked hard on disrupting patterns, knocking receivers off their patterns. Our front four pinned their ears back, so we got some pressure and got in the quarterback's face. I thought our guys did a great job breaking on the ball, getting seven interceptions. The interception on the game's first play really set the table. The offense also did their part and the line did a good job. Spencer Aukamps's awesome; he keeps them off balance. You can't load up on the run because he'll just pick you apart. We have a nice, well balanced team on offense and defensively, we're very opportunistic."

St. Joe's wide receiver Quai Jefferson - "We work hard every day and it shows on the field. The loss to Bosco game was a tough loss and we had to take care of business and get our game back. We executed and took care of business on the field today."

St. Joe's linebacker/fullback Mark Fossati - "It's bittersweet right now. I love the guys on my team and I wish I could go out every day with them. We left a great mark and I couldn't be happier with my teammates and coaches. It was a rough week for us, but the way we practiced was the way we played. We came hard all week and it showed today. Pope John has some big time kids, but we kept it to a minimum today."

St. Joe's running back Sherman Alston - "We came in as freshmen and focused on winning a state championship and for the past three years, that's what we've done. We had a great week of practice and we came out and executed. Coach told us to play every play like it's our last play and that's what we did."

St. Joe's quarterback Spencer Aukamp - "We haven't lost back to back games since 2006 and it just wasn't going to happen today. The team was fired up this week in practice, going 100%. We wanted it real bad."

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