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Saints Outduel Knights in High School Football Opener

Anthony Bumbaco for local2 sault ste. marie
September 14th, 2012 at 10:56pm | Last Updated September 15th, 2012 at 4:44pm



footballQuarterback J.P. Stefanizziís three TD passes led St. Basilís to a 28-27 victory over the St. Maryís Knights at Rocky Dipietro field on Friday night. Stefanizzi, threw for 206 and completed three TD passes in the 2nd quarter including two touchdown receptions by David Toppan, a 35-yard catch and a 16-yard catch and one to Andrew Paluzzi for a 7-yard score in the victory. Halfback Mitch Mazzuca had the other major for St. Basilís on a 65-yard run down the sideline.



Both teams would come out sluggish to kick off the 2012 season struggling to find their rythmn on offense. St. Basil would score a single on a kick into the endzone while St. Maryís lone score of the quarter came on a 17-yard field goal by kicker Brandon Vernelli giving the Knights a 3-1 lead after the opening quarter.





The Knights would use an early second quarter possession and use another Brandon Vernelli field goal to make it 4-3 St. Maryís. But intensity picked up in the second quarter as the St. Basils offense took to the air. QB J.P. Stefanizzi would first hit Paluzzi with a deep ball good for 25-yards. In that same possession he find Toppan on a seem route for a 35-yard score at the 9:11 mark of the quarter for a St. Basilís touchdown putting the Saints ahead 8-6.



After a St. Maryís three and out the Saints would get the ball back and Stefanizzi would continue the air attack. This time he would find Paluzzi wide open along the sideline and the receiver would come up with a terrific shoe string catch good for a 65-yard gain. Toppan would finish off the possession with his second TD catch of the game this time on a 16-yard pass and catch from Stefanizzi putting St. Basilís ahead 15-9.



Late in the first half with St. Basilís driving once again. St. Maryís Knights defender L. Rising would come up with a much-needed big play intercepting a Stefanizzi pass down the left side. But St. Maryís could not take advantage, as Quaterback Justin Elwgren would return the favour. St. Basilís lineback Dominic Gervasi would pick off a pass in St. Maryís territory.



The interception would set up Stefanizziís third TD pass of the game this finding Paluzzi on a fade right in the right corner of the end zone to increase the Saints lead to 22-9 at the half.



The Knights would cut into the lead in the 3rd quarter as Matt Mitchell 1-yard TD run with 3:53 remaining cutting the score to 22-13 adding two singles to pull within seven. But St. Basilís would reply as Mitchell Mazzuca would break loose for a 65-yard touchdown on an off-tackle run down the right sideline to put the Saints back ahead 28-15 heading into the fourth quarter.



In the final stanza, St. Maryís would continue to put pressure on the Saints defense along the ground using Mitchell and Dylan Hebert as a two-headed attack. The Knights would pull within a one possession on a 15-yard touchdown run by Hebert set up by a solid block by Mitchell with 9:41 left in the game to make it 28-22.



Late in the game the Saints would be forced to concede a pair of safeties being trapped in their own territory by the St. Maryís defense and giving up another single point on a missed field goal cutting the lead to just one at 28-27 with 1:26 remaining in the game.



The Knights would get one last possession at the end of the fourth quarter but could not find the end zone and the Saints would hold on for the 28-27 victory.



Defensively for the Knights, Defensive End Dustin Goulet had a strong game with five tackles and recovering a pair of fumbles. Linebacker/Defensive Back Phil Turcotte was also solid with four tackles and an interception.



For St. Basilís, Dominic Gervasi led the way with 7 tackles, one forced fumble, a sack and an interception. Aaron Bourdages contributed seven tackles and 1.5 sacks for the Saints while C.J. Chiarello added 6 tackles.



Both teams will be back on the field next week with the Saints facing off against Superior Heights at 7:00pm on Friday night, while St. Maryís takes on White Pines on Wednesday night at 7:00pm in a short week. All games are played at the Rocky Dipietro Field behind the John Rhodes.

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