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Defense Handcuffs Seneca as Knights Improve to 4-0

Defense Handcuffs Seneca as Knights Improve to 4-0

For the first time in four weeks, the SJCS Varsity football team did not score on its first possession. The Knights didn't even score in the first quarter.

However, the defense was stifling once again, the offense put the Knights in front for good in the second quarter and St. Joe's went on to a 24-7 win over visiting Seneca Friday night.

The Knights, ranked third in Class 1A, improved to 4-0 with their second victory in two years over Seneca (2-2), a 3A program with a very good tradition.

The Knights started slowly, turning the ball over on downs and punting on their first two possessions.

Meanwhile, the defense forced a pair of three-and-outs, and then, despite Seneca having opportunities thanks to a muffed punt and an interception, the Knights still held the fort.

The defense provided the first big play for the Knights, with Tradd Coulter picking off a pass inside the Knights' 20-yard line and bringing it out to the 40.

Four plays into the second quarter, William Gillespie took a pitch and sped down the left sideline. Helped by a great block by Gabe Nelson on the edge, Gillespie went 34 yards for the game's first points. The kick was blocked, but the Knights had a 6-0 lead.

The defense forced another three-and-out and a punt. The Knights went 68 yards in four plays. On third-and-two, Brayden Johnson gained 27 yards. Then Lucas Salgado sprinted down the right sideline for 33 yards and a touchdown. A pass on the two-point try was no good, and it was 12-0.

Seneca made good on a pair of fourth-down conversions on its next drive, and then Gavin Thomas threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Zay Poole. Ethan Sullivan's kick pulled the Bobcats to within 12-7 with 1:11 left in the half.

Seneca had just 59 yards in the first half, 42 of them coming on its touchdown drive. It marked just the second time in four games that the first unit had allowed the opposition to score.

The defense came up big again early in the second half when Salgado intercepted a pass and returned it to the Seneca 44-yard line.

Gillespie's 21-yard run on third down moved the ball to the 19. On third-and-four from the 13, Johnson burst through a gaping hole on the right side for a touchdown. The Knights' two-point run came up short, but it was 18-7.

The Bobcats put together a nice drive, advancing to the SJCS 5-yard line with a first-and-goal. Seneca lost 3 yards on its first two plays, and then Johnny Jaraczewski's sack dropped the Bobcats back 11 more. The Knights completed an impressive series by forcing an incomplete pass on fourth down.

Midway through the fourth quarter, Brogan Poole recovered a Seneca fumble at the Bobcats' 23-yard-yard line. Three plays later, the Knights were still at the 23, but on fourth down, Cade Alt hit Michael Poinsette for a 23-yard touchdown.

The Knights were unable to convert on a two-point conversion pass, but a 24-7 lead with three minutes remaining was more than enough.

Johnson, who has 11 touchdowns in four games, finished with 98 yards rushing on 24 carries, and Gillespie had seven for 87.

Jaraczewski had 13 tackles and Joe Patterson had 10 as St. Joe's held Seneca to 144 total yards. Jaraczewski also had two of the Knights' four sacks; Patterson and Jack Flynn each had one.

This coming Friday, the Knights, who have outscored their opponents 157-20, will begin Region 1-1A play on the road against Ware Shoals (1-2). Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 PM.


SEN      0 -   7 - 0 - 0 --   7
SJ         0 - 12 - 6 - 6 --  24

Second Quarter

SJ-William Gillespie 34 run (kick failed)
SJ-Lucas Salgado 33 run (pass failed)
S-Zay Poole 17 pass from Gavin Thomas (Ethan Sullivan kick)

Third Quarter

SJ-Brayden Johnson 13 run (run failed)

Fourth Quarter

SJ-Michael Poinsette 24 pass from Cade Alt (run failed)

Individual Statistics

RUSHING: SJ-Brayden Johnson 24-98, William Gillespie 7-87, Lucas Salgado 3-69, Henry Dryden 4-17, Johnny Jaraczewski 3-13, Nathaniel Coffi 1-1.

PASSING: SJ-Alt 2-6-0 36.

RECEIVING: SJ-Michael Poinsette 1-23, Salgado 1-13.

TACKLES (Tackles-Assists-TFL): SJ-Jaraczewski 13-0-1, Joe Patterson 10-0-1, Hayden Fayssoux 4-0-0, Gabe Nelson 4-0-1, Jack Flynn 4-0-1, Dryden 4-0-0, Salgado 3-0-0, Coffi 3-0-0, Collins Langon 3-0-0, Hayden Courchaine 3-0-0, Chase Kennedy 2-0-0, Walker Wolfram 2-0-0, Brogan Poole 2-1-1, Tradd Coulter 2-0-0, Brendan Alvin 2-0-1, Gillespie 1-0-0, Hayes Roberts 1-0-0, Cole Alt 1-0-0.