Saturday, September 30, 2017

Hello, 4-0! St. Paul football rushes past Derby

Kevin Ashworth and the offensive line made sure the St. Paul running game
hummed to the tune of 561 yards and six touchdowns Friday night.
(Copyright, Sports on CT-69, 2017 file)
St. Paul football reached 4-0 for the first time since 2008 with a 42-34 victory over Derby on Friday night at the Ryan Athletic Complex in Derby.
The Falcons rushed for an unbelievable 561 yards behind a pair of 200-yard efforts from Damien Rabis and Connor Bogdanski. Rabis went for 214 yards on 17 carries and scored twice. Bogdanski toted the ball 13 times for 201 yards and a pair of scores. Kevin Ashworth rushed 16 times for 136 yards and the other two touchdowns. St. Paul did turn the ball over four times, by far its worst total of the season.
On defense, Chris Dionne had nine total tackles while Rabis had four tackles, including a sack. Dom Aiello also had four tackles, including two for a loss.
After falling behind 7-0 in the first quarter, the Falcons got a 58-yard touchdown from Bogdanski and a conversion run from Rabis for an 8-7 lead. The Red Raiders regained the lead at 13-8 after one quarter. The score remained 13-8 by halftime, but only until halftime. The teams combined for 55 second half points.
Rabis went 53 yards for a touchdown and a 14-13 lead in the third quarter. After Derby regained the lead at 21-14, Ashworth carried 42 yards for a score. The two-point conversion failed, however, and St. Paul entered the fourth quarter down 21-20.
Ashworth scored from 11 yards out in the fourth quarter to put the Falcons up 26-21. The conversion failed, but St. Paul had the lead. A 66-yard run by Bogdanski and conversion by Rabis had the Falcons ahead 34-21, but the game never seems to be over at the Ryan Complex.
Derby put up a pair of touchdowns and one extra point to tie the game at 34. Rabis broke the deadlock with a 20-yard touchdown, and Ashworth added the conversion. St. Paul was able to hold off Derby and claim its fourth win in four tries.
Tom Abel had four touchdowns (three passing, one rushing) to lead the Red Raiders.

PERSPECTIVE
The 2008 team went 6-0 before losing a 64-50 shootout to Max DeLorenzo and Berlin at Scalise Field (Sage Park). That team finished the season 9-2, with the other loss coming against Rocky Hill, also on the road.
St. Paul's best record came in 1976, when it went 10-1. The Falcons lost the Class M championship game that season to Daniel Hand. The 2008 team didn't make the postseason. Only four teams qualified in each of the six classes, and St. Paul fifth behind Avon that year.
The 2009 squad did make the four-team field at 8-2, but it lost to New Canaan by a single point in the Class MM semifinals.
Also of note, those 2008 and 2009 teams were tri-ops with St. Paul, Lewis Mills and New Britain's Goodwin Tech.

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