The Flyers scored six first-quarter touchdowns and blasted New London, 61-0, in Firelands Conference action on Saturday at Whitney Field.
"I think it was important for us to bounce back," St. Paul coach John Livengood said of a 33-14 loss to the Senecas last Friday. "I think we saw some areas we needed to get better in. I think the kids bounced back and did a great job tonight."
Noah Good intercepted Wildcats' quarterback Peyton Wilson on the first play of the game. Two plays later, Jake Griffin found a wide-open Eric Crabbs for a 19-yard score. Griffin added the extra point and the Flyers (3-1 overall, 1-0 FC) led, 7-0 just 52 seconds in.
"Noah made a great play and the kids executed well," Livengood said. "New London is an improved football team. I am really happy with how we played and executed on both sides of the ball."
New London (0-4, 0-1) went three-and-out on its next possession and a 27-yard punt return by Gavin Starcher gave St. Paul great field position. This time, it was just one play — a 37-yard run up the middle by Good — for the Flyers to score.
The one-play strike ability was shown again by St. Paul after New London punted. Cam Caizzo went 64 yards on first down for another Flyers’ touchdown. The extra point was blocked — ending a streak of 90 straight makes dating back to the beginning of last season.
The Wildcats continued to struggle to offensively, and again punted without picking up a first down. New London put a small amount of pressure on St. Paul on the next drive. Norbert Sword sacked Griffin and an illegal procedure brought up second-and-24. Good then picked up three yards, but Griffin hit Crabbs in stride for a 63-yard TD and a 27-0 lead with 4:36 left in the first quarter.
"I think it was a situation where something bad happened and instinctively, we dropped our heads and it compounded," New London coach Kemmes Keys said. "We dropped our head and made a mistake and then another mistake. That is what you saw tonight."
Good rumbled 41 yards on the first play on St. Paul's next drive — and finished the drive with a 24-yard touchdown run. New London blocked another extra point, but the Flyers were in firm control up 33-0.
On the Wildcats next possession, St. Paul's Steven DeLeon intercepted a pass from Josh Hess. It again took St. Paul just one play to score. Griffin tossed a 35-yard touchdown to Starcher, and Griffin added the extra point for a 40-0 lead after one quarter.
Caizzo added a 3-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. New London picked up its initial first down when Wilson picked up two yards on a fourth-and-1. The Wildcats turned the ball over on downs on that drive, and four plays later, St. Paul’s Justin Butler rumbled in from a yard out for a 54-0 lead.
"You see a system in place at St. Paul," Keys said. "Their kids never take a play off. They come at you down after down and they are in sync. They play together. They are a team."
New London added two more first downs on its next drive and ran its first plays in St. Paul territory, but could not convert. The Flyers picked up a pair of first downs before their only drive that did not end in a touchdown in the first half occurred on a fumble.
The Wildcats fumbled each of their first three snaps in the second half, losing two of those as Will Stieber and Griffin Schwan each recovered a fumble for St. Paul. The Flyers opted to take a knee on many plays close to the New London end zone, preventing any further damage as a sign of respect.
"Hess is as good of an athlete as anyone in the conference, in my opinion," Livengood said. "Sword is a good running back and they both have speed. They were a threat every time they touched the ball."
Stieber did escape for a 34-yard touchdown with 7:35 left in the fourth quarter. Freshman Tyler Perkins added the extra point to cap the scoring.
Griffin completed 3-of-4 passes for 117 yards while manning the offense that fumbled just once on 42 plays.
"Jake executed well," Livengood said. "He managed the offense well and found his receivers well. He was efficient."
The Flyers ran 38 times for 366 yards, including 19 runs for 299 yards in the first half.
"We did not run the ball very well last week, so I am happy with how we blocked up front," Livengood said. "New London ran a lot of different fronts at us and I thought our line picked those up well."
St. Paul held a staggering 483-92 advantage in total offense — including 416-69 in the first half.
The Flyers will travel to Plymouth (2-2, 0-1) on Friday, while the ‘Cats host Western Reserve (0-4, 0-1).
"I am trying to get these guys to believe in themselves," Keys said. "I think for for too long, they have had self-doubt placed in them. I think we need to get to the place where we can take the next step and play fearlessly."
N. London 0 0 0 0 — 0
St. Paul 40 14 7 0 — 61
STP — Eric Crabbs 19 pass from Jake Griffin (Griffin kick)
STP — Noah Good 37 run (Griffin kick)
STP — Cam Caizzo 64 run (kick blocked)
STP — Crabbs 63 pass from Griffin (Griffin kick)
STP — Good 24 run (kick blocked)
STP — Gavin Starcher 35 pass from Griffin (Griffin kick)
STP — Caizzo 3 run (Griffin kick)
STP — Justin Butler 1 run (Griffin kick)
STP — Will Stieber 34 run (Tyler Perkins kick)
PASSING: (NL) Peyton Wilson 3-14-1-21, Josh Hess 0-2-1-0. (STP) Jake Griffin 3-4-0-117.
RUSHING: (NL) Hess 11-27, Chase Clouse 10-29, Norbert Sword 6-4, Wilson 5-1, Ben Kalizewski 4-10. (STP) Myron Stoll 11- (-14), Cam Caizzo 6-126, Noah Good 4-105, Will Steiber 4-51, Justin Butler 4-39, Ethan Blair 2-38, Gabe Bond 2-13, Aidan Naseman 2-3, Camden Crabbs 1-7, Harley Stoll 1-7, Griffin 1- (-9).
RECEIVING: (NL) Parker Ruble 2-17, Blake Dalton 1-4. (STP) Eric Crabbs 2-82, Gavin Starcher 1-35.