ST. FRANCIS AT FULL SPEED — Brandon Misterman ran for a touchdown and added another one through the air, as St. Francis rolled to a win in its home opener Friday. Photo courtesy of Ron Larson.
Despite the weather mirroring a late November evening, the elements of Mother Nature didn’t stop St. Francis from running away with its home opener on Sept. 13 on the shore of Lake Erie.
Quarterback Jacob Dolegala and running back Brendon Misterman led the Red Raiders’ offense, which lit up the scoreboard, en route to a 53 – 14 victory against Edison Tech of Rochester, on a cold and rainy night.
St. Francis bounced back just a week after losing a heartbreaker in the final minute on the road to Holy Trinity 21 – 18 in the season opener.
“[The team] worked real hard this week,” St. Francis head coach Jerry Smith said. “It’s nice that the kids got a victory in them. It’s always good. I didn’t talk about winning or losing. We talked about [how] the battle we fight is within ourselves. It’s the battle against us. We have to try and be better, each time we step onto the field.”
The Raiders scored six touchdowns during the first half and led 39 – 0 at the break, behind the play of their senior quarterback. Dolegala ran for two touchdowns and threw for another two, as he finished the game with 135 yards through the air. Elliot Buccieri led the team in receiving, with five catches for 90 yards. Dolegala’s end result could have been even more successful, if it was not for seven drops in the game by his receivers.
“If we could catch the ball we’d be pretty good,” Smith said. “[Dolegala] has the confidence about him and that’s what’s great. All the kids believe in him. It’s a blessing for us, because he knows the game. He puts us in the right position and puts the ball there.”
Misterman, the other half of the one-two punch for St. Francis, rushed for 78 yards on 11 carries and also caught a 35-yard touchdown. It was the third time this season the two have hooked up on touchdowns through the air.
“Jake’s always on his game,” Misterman said, about his quarterback. “The fact we can be a double running and passing threat is something special. I’m excited for moving on for the rest of the season.”
The team rushed for 225 yards on the ground and had three different players score rushing touchdowns. After recovering an Edison fumble on the opening kickoff, the Red Raiders scored soon after, on a 3-yard run by Dolegala, and then again on a 15-yard run by Misterman. The game became out of reach midway through the second quarter.
“We wanted to take it to the next level,” Dolegala said. “That was our motto of the week. We thought last week was over and done with, so we just had to move on. You have to have a short memory.”
The Red Raiders were dominant in every facet of the game. The special teams unit chipped in with a 78-yard punt return touchdown, while the defense held Edison Tech to 131 total yards of offense and forced three turnovers.
St. Francis will need more of the same during the next three weeks, with games against Cathedral Prep, Canisius and St. Joe’s on the team’s slate.