After a rocky 1-4 start to the season, Redemptorist finally found the recipe for a complete football game and cooked up a 43-20 District 7-2A win over Northeast High at Majella Field on Friday night.
The ingredients were a potent rushing attack with two 100-plus yard rushers, enough quick strikes to keep the defense honest, and a defense that intercepted five passes and twice stopped the Vikings on fourth down plays.
“We’re getting better each week,” Redemptorist coach Aaron Vice said. “The scoreboard may not show it over the last few weeks, but we’re getting better. We finally came out and executed, the guys played well, and we played up to our capabilities.”
Redemptorist (2-5, 1-0 in District 7-2A) got 110 yards rushing from Jestin Kelly and 111 yards from Deno Mullens. Quarterback Josh Courtney threw for another 210 yards to five different receivers and had three touchdown passes.
Seven different players scored for Redemptorist, including Nick Bravata who scored the last three points on a 28-yard field goal.
“Having to play guys both ways we’re real big on the rotation system, especially at running back,” Vice said. “Just like the NFL teams, we’re trying to get guys in their fresh, and it turned out pretty well for us tonight.
The teams took different paths to their first scores. Redemptorist struck first on a 1-yard run by Mullens that was set up by a 36-yard strike from Courtney to Donald Gage to the NHS 6.
The Wolves added another touchdown on a 42-yard pass from Courtney to Jailen Jordan before Northeast (2-4, 0-1)got on the scoreboard with a five-yard quarterback sneak by quarterback Ronnie Davis.
Jordan was the leading receiver in the game with 84 yards on five catches. Kelly scored next for the Wolves on a five-yard run to give them a 21-8 lead at halftime.
The third quarter spelled disaster for the Vikings as Davis was intercepted on their first two possessions. Brandon Arnett got the first pick that led to Bryce Robertson’s four-yard touchdown run.
On the next series Ray Fields made the interception and Gage scored the touchdown on Courtney’s second TD pass.
“Mistakes,” said Northeast coach David Masterson. “First of all we didn’t tackle-that was obvious-and we threw the ball in some places we shouldn’t have.
“(In the third quarter) We felt like if we could have gone down and scored on that first drive it would have made it 21-16 it would have been a ball game, but when you get behind you have to change your game plan.
“I think Ronnie (Davis) might have got a little down after that, but he’s a great kid and I know he’ll bounce back. I told him, if you play quarterback you’re going get picked. It’s all in how you react to it.”
Reggie Richardson was the offensive leader for Northeast with 42 rushing yards on six carries and 92 yards on three pass receptions. His two pass receptions in the fourth quarter both went for touchdowns of 11 yards and 74 yards, the second thrown by backup quarterback Taijah Jackson.
Kelly also had a big night on defense for the Wolves, making several key tackles including one in the first quarter when he stopped Davis short on a fourth-and-two run at the Redemptorist 47.
For good measure he finished his night by making an unassisted tackle on the final kickoff of the game. Russell Gage scored the Wolves final TD with a 44-yard reception.
Defensive back Robbie Breland had two interceptions from scrimmage and also intercepted Davis on an attempted two-point conversion.
Redemptorist was also successful in converting two fake punts on fourth downs with Kelly picking up one first down and Mullens the other.