St. Aloysius football team ended a long losing streak by winning their season opener for the first time since 2006 in a 12-0 win over Park Place Academy on Friday night.
“It feels great to end that losing streak and nothing feels better than starting off 1-0,” Flashes Head Coach Bubba Nettles said. We started a little slow when Padre went down and the team bounced back pretty solid and we adjusted to a new backfield and when they got to rolling they pounded down the field behind the offensive line and got us those scores.”
The Flashes came out hard on defense as Padre Gray Jr laid a big hit on a running back followed by Jax Oglesby who punished one of the Crusaders’ ball carriers. Gray returned a punt that put the Flashes in good field position before he went down for the rest of the game due to an injury.
Offensively, St. Aloysius came out hot with a 25 yard run by Ahmad Stewart. John David Liggett helped take the ball down the field but two holding penalties would prevent the Flashes from scoring.
The hard fought match remained scoreless at the end of the first quarter.
The Crusaders eventually took possession of the ball but their hope for success was short-lived after Caleb Tucker and Land Ogelsby gave the running back a nasty hit. Thomas and Will Dowe punished Park Place’s running game by shutting down those inside counters.
Carson Smith stepped up in the secondary and got three pass deflections.
Smith also got took some snaps on offense and connected with fellow players for multiple first downs.
By halftime, the game remained scoreless with both teams struggling to get in the end zone.
Nettles challenged his team to fight through their pain and adversity at halftime and come out better in the second half.
The Flashed did just that as they put their faith in sophomore running back Thompson Fortenberry who ran with authority. He got the Flashes their first score of the night from a 27 yard run in the third quarter as St. Al took a 6-0 lead.
Damien Reeves came out on defense and proved that he was no one to mess with as he picked a few tackles in the backfield. Jax and Land Oglesby along with David Wallace put pressure on the Crusaders passing game that killed a lot of their spirit. Ahmad Stewart also stepped in to grab four tackles which two of them were for loss.
As things continued to click for the Flashes, they began to play team ball for the rest of the night. Smith connected with Liggett late in the ball game for a 10 yard pass shortly before Reeves got the final touchdown run from 23 yards out.
“That last run really put us in a great position and it fired everyone up and after that we knew we were gonna shut them out,” Reeves said
Fortenberry also continued to bust through the defense and finished with 121 rushing yards and a touchdown with lead blockers Jax, Mason Watts, and Wallace.
“Tonight felt good and I didn’t really expect to play much at running back but it was fun to step up there and lead with everybody else,” Fortenberry said.
Tucker also continued to show out on defense as he forced a fumble shortly before the final seconds. Matthew Pitre and Jaden Wheeldon also gang tackled one player in the backfield to set up a long third down.
Thomas Dowe led the defense with 11 tackles. Liggett picked up some big punt returns that ended with a total of 87 yards. Jake Brister also punted the ball inside the five yard line on three occasions that put the Flashes’ defense in a good position to shutout Park Place.
The Flashes were able to send their linebackers coach Vincent Farrell out on a positive note as he coached his final game with the Flashes tonight due to taking a good job with the federal government in Alabama.
St. Al will travel to face Centreville on Friday.
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