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Saints start off on wrong foot, blanked on road

St. Bernard Saints - 2009 Season
Posted Sunday, September 20, 2009 by By JOE PEREZ
 From the opening kickoff, the St. Bernard/Norwich Tech football team knew it was in for a tough battle with Prince Tech. It just never expected the battle to be so one-sided.


Prince Tech’s Harry Menaces returned the game’s first kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown en route to a 34-0 drubbing of the Saints on Thursday night.

New Saints coach Sean Ladyga said the flat performance falls on his shoulders.

“They had 54 reasons to come out here and take it to us, and they did,” he said. “From the opening kickoff they took it to us — up front, everywhere. I take responsibility for not getting our guys ready.”

The Falcons used superior athleticism and strength to manhandle the Saints all night.

Prince Tech’s defensive front repeatedly broke through the St. Bernard/Norwich Tech offensive line, creating pressure, often busting plays in the process. The Saints had only eight yards of offense from scrimmage.

At every turn, sophomore quarterback Mike McKeon had defenders in his face.

“I don’t think we gave them enough respect based on last year (a 54-8 St. Bernard victory),” he said. “We were watching the film, and I don’t think we came out hard enough.”

Menaces did come out hard enough. Never stopping his legs, he looked advanced for the game he was in, shredding the defense for long run after long run. He had 98 yards rushing at the half and finished with 181.

The Saints had very few chances as 11 of 13 possessions were 3-and-outs. With the exception of the opening eight-play drive, the opportunities that were there were created by the defense.

St. Bernard caused a fumble on the Prince Tech’s first possession of the second half, giving the Saints the ball at the Falcons’ 19. Two plays later, they gave the ball back on a fumble.

The Falcons used just three plays before they coughed up the ball.

With the ball on the home 29-yard-line, the Saints went with two Gage Andrews runs that netted a yard before McKeon was sacked and threw an incomplete pass to turn the ball over.

“We weren’t on the same page as an offensive unit,” Ladyga said. “We haven’t played against an opponent since Sept. 5 (a scrimmage), so it was a rough start. It took a little while to get back in it, we had our opportunities.”

What had the makings of the much-needed jump start the Saints were looking for — a 41-yard kickoff return coming out of the half — failed as they picked up one first down and little else after.

All they can do is look ahead to the remainder of the season and hope things can only get better.

“We’ll come back from this, we have a good team,” McKeon said. “We have to believe in ourselves.”

 

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