By Dave Stewart
TRUMBULL, Conn. – The sight of Donnohue Lovelace, St. Joseph High School’s 6-foot-1, 243-pound lineman, rumbling down the field after an interception and trampling several would-be tacklers along the way was either exhilarating or frightening, depending on your point of view.
It should be at least a little scary for the rest of the FCIAC contenders, as the Cadets have made the trampling of their opponents a weekly occurrence through the first four weeks of the season.
Lovelace’s 55-yard interception return for a touchdown put the finishing touches on St. Joe’s latest rout, a 40-7 Homecoming Day victory over the Trinity Catholic Crusaders Saturday afternoon in Trumbull. The win put the Cadets’ record at 4-0 and moved them into a tie for second place with the New Canaan Rams in the FCIAC’s power point standings.
It also was a bit of a statement game for the Cadets, as Trinity is a stronger opponent than St. Joe’s first three opponents.
“We wanted to make a statement that we’re here and we’re contenders,” Lovelace, a senior co-captain, said. “We just want to step up. Last year we were 4-0, too, and this year we want to do even better. We just want to keep winning games. Every game — 100 percent effort. We’re playing with our hearts. Every night we go out with each other and we’re a team. Everywhere we go, we’re together. It’s all about hard work in practice every day, that’s all.”
“We took that as a little bit of motivation,” senior co-captain and lineman Jack Shannon said. “We thought that maybe teams didn’t expect us to come out and play like we’ve done so far. We knew that if we played to our potential, we could come out and compete with the best of them. As long as we keep playing like we’ve been playing, we’ll keep rolling and we’ll be successful.”
St. Joe’s turned what was a close game after one quarter into a 27-7 blowout by halftime.
Sophomore quarterback Joe DellaVecchia tossed three touchdown passes and 160 yards on 9-of-18 passing, while sophomore Tyler Matakevich, a 6-0, 192-pound tight end/linebacker, had two TD receptions. Senior co-captain Sam Ditchkus scored twice, once through the air and once through the ground, while the defense, with help from Lovelace, Matakevich and seniors Jesse Miller and Joe Genetti, did a phenomenal job bottling up Trinity fullback Nick Cortese. Cortese, who came in as the FCIAC’s leading rusher, had just three rushing yards in the first half and finished with 65 in the game.
“Trinity is a good team and (Cortese) is a tough runner,” Shannon said. “We’ve been working on locking him down all week and our defense did a great job of holding him. We make big plays like Donnohue’s interception and we’re a tough team.”
In terms of statements, St. Joe’s and its new spread offense made one right away, as Dellavecchia hooked up with Matakevich for a 56-yard touchdown on the Cadets’ second play from scrimmage. Junior Casey Olayos, who booted five PATs in the game, made his first kick for a 7-0 lead.
The Cadets then capped their second drive when DellaVecchia connected on a 32-yard strike to Ditchkus for a 14-0 lead.
Trinity scored its only TD just before the first quarter ended when QB Steve Scalero threw a 12-yard TD pass to Jamie Antonetti to make it 14-7.
Homecoming was to be the Cadets’ day, however, as Ditchkus scored on a two yard run with 5:01 remaining in the half and Matt Marini scored on a one-yard run with 20.1 on the clock to make it a 27-7 game.
A three-yard TD catch by Matakevich made it 34-7 in the third quarter, before Lovelace’s big defensive play put the exclamation point on the win.
“I just read it, played my position, picked it off and made some moves. I ended up scoring and I can’t explain it,” Lovelace said.
The road ahead may be a bit tougher for the Cadets, who have outscored their opponents, including Bassick, Ludlowe and Warde, 179-44, thus far. A road game against Stamford is up next, and St. Joe’s will host 4-0 New Canaan on Saturday, Oct. 18. There are also games with Danbury (2-2), Wilton (4-0) and Darien (4-0) to come, with the annual showdown against Trumbull (3-1) on Thanksgiving Day. But as Shannon pointed out, it’s all about next week for the time being.
“I hate to look too far ahead,” Shannon said. “We have to take one week at a time, never looking past any teams and trying to underestimate any team. This is a great win, but we’re going to come out Monday and prepare for Stamford and keep this streak going.”
SCC: Notre Dame-West Haven Goes Live Online with Video
Notre Dame of West Haven has created the Notre Dame Online Network, an operation that is presenting 42 events during 2008-09 school year live on the Internet. All televised events can be viewed at the official website for this venture: http://www.gogreenknights.com.
Notre Dame has partnered with SportingnewsCT.com to make this a reality. SportingnewsCT has broadcast over the Internet Connecticut high school and amateur athletic events for the last five years. Most of these broadcasts have been audio feeds, but SportingnewsCT founder Don Boyle has recently added video capabilities. All of Notre Dame’s events will be video webcasts.
The Notre Dame Online Network debuted with the webcast of the school’s Southern Connecticut Conference football game against Fairfield Prep on September 19 and will conclude with coverage of the school’s 60th Commencement Exercises on May 31, 2009. In addition to each event being shown live, a replay will be available on the website within 24 hours following the event.
The 30 athletic events on the schedule will consist of five games from each of the following six sports: football, soccer, basketball, hockey, baseball and lacrosse. Highlighting the webcast schedule will be the Green Bowl football game (NDWH vs. Hamden) on Thanksgiving morning; hockey and basketball games against Fairfield Prep and Hamden and the baseball battle of West Haven, Notre Dame vs. West Haven High. A complete schedule of events can be found at http://www.gogreenknights.com.
“This is an unbelievably exciting venture,” said Notre Dame President Br. James Branigan, C.S.C.
“We pride ourselves on educating the entire student from an educational, co-curricular and spiritual aspect, and this schedule of events symbolizes that. Furthermore, we emphasize our commitment to technology in our curriculum and this is an extension of that with students playing key roles. This is a win-win situation for everyone – our fans, our alumni, our students, our sponsors and our school.”
Notre Dame students will play a role in this endeavor by helping with the technical and camera side of the webcasts. A student club has been formed and Don Boyle will teach a class during the final two terms of the school year so students’ involvement can be expanded.
Dave Stewart, the Sports Editor of the New Canaan (Conn.) Advertiser, is a MaxPreps.com writer and photographer. He may be reached at 203-966-9541 or at firstname.lastname@example.org