St. Paul preps for big Crimson Streaks team

Mark Hazelwood • Updated Aug 30, 2018 at 10:14 PM

NORWALK — Small in numbers, big in size.

That is perhaps the best way to sum up Fremont St. Joseph Central Catholic, the opponent for St. Paul in Saturday’s 7 p.m. home opener at Whitney Field.

The Crimson Streaks (1-0) entered the season with just 24 players, but they boast as big of an interior line as one will see for a Division VII team. SJCC brought back just one skilled position player entering 2018, but welcome back three starters on the offensive line who will need to carry the load.

Junior Jack Militello (6-foot, 215) and seniors Matt McFarland (5-11, 280) and Noah Price (6-4, 270) are back along the line. Senior Eli Reed (6-3, 250) and junior Xavier Ried (5-9, 185) round out the front five for an average height and weight of 6-feet-1, 240 pounds.

Conversely, the Flyers (1-0) have just two linemen on their roster who exceed 200 pounds in seniors Davis Hedrick (6-3, 255) and Luke Stoll (5-9, 225).

“They’re big up front, and we have a little bit of a mismatch here,” St. Paul coach John Livengood said. “We need to try and control the line of scrimmage. We have to contain their really good athletes who can hurt you in a heartbeat if they get out in the open field.”

In last week’s 24-14 win over Cardinal Stritch in the season opener, quarterback Chase Harrison (6-5, 185) was 10-of-17 passing for 165 yards while also rushing for 156 yards and two touchdowns. Receiver Grant Stepanic (5-6, 145) added the other TD on the ground.

“Even though they are in the spread, they are a bit more run-oriented this year,” Livengood said of the Crimson Streaks. “Harrison has taken over well for his older brother (Spencer) and had a big game last week.

“He’s a big kid who runs tough and breaks tackles,” he added. “They have speed with running back (Benton) Snyder, Brandon Reardon and Stipanic. They have some guys who can run.”

Snyder is the lone returner at the skilled positions, as he ran for 401 yards in 2017.

Defensively, it won’t be hard to find the main cog for SJCC. 

Price is not only big in size, but had 88 tackles, including 12 for a loss last season. A potential Division I college recruit for defense, SJCC head coach Brian Spicer said Price is the best lineman he’s coached in 25 years.

“From what I understand he is a Div. I prospect, and he plays that way,” Livengood said of Price. “He’s very physical and finishes his blocks offensively — but defensively he is all over the field. They line him up in multiple positions. He’s a big, physical kid who is all over the place.”

Since the Crimson Streaks and Flyers began playing in this recent stretch in 2015, St. Paul has won by scores of 48-0, 42-3 and 42-7.

Last week, St. Paul methodically distanced itself from St. Mary Central Catholic — jumping out to a 24-0 lead in the second quarter of a 37-6 win.

In the win, junior running back Cam Caizzo picked up where he left off from a big 2017, rushing 24 times for 140 yards and all five of the Flyers’ TDs. Noah Good added 127 yards on 21 attempts.

Defensively, Sam Meyer and Gavin Moffit got off to big starts as well. Meyer finished with 14 tackles, and Moffit had 11 tackles and two sacks.

St. Paul allowed 189 yards of offense to the Panthers — but 74 of those yards came on SMCC’s lone TD run in the second quarter. Otherwise, SMCC gained just 115 yards on 44 plays (2.6-yard average). 

Though the Flyers also committed four turnovers (three fumbles, one interception), Livengood was pleased with the energy level his team played with.

“That was a very positive thing I took away from the game, especially from our seniors,” he said. “Noah, Sam, Davis, Gavin (Starcher) and his leadership and how he played ... Luke Stoll, (Jake) Griffin and Eric Crabbs were all very good, too.

“That was the thing that jumped off the film to me positively,” Livengood added. “All of our kids played hard, but our seniors in particular stood out to me with their effort level. From an area that we need to fix, it’s pretty obvious with the turnovers. We’ll continue to try and get better and improve on those types of things every day.”

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