It wasn’t the game many might have expected, but then again after No. 4-ranked St. Pius X whipped No. 5 North Oconee 50-14 Friday night, SPX senior cornerback Michael Sikorski said the key to his two interceptions and the Golden Lions’ five takeaways was players doing as they’re expected.
Ryan Braswell rushed for three SPX touchdowns, and North Oconee paid dearly for its five turnovers in a highly-anticipated Class AAA match-up that quickly became a blowout.
The Lions (2-0) scored on their first four possessions, and took a 36-0 halftime lead when Sikorski returned an interception 72 yards on the final play of the second quarter. Harris Woodward added an interception and Nick Ruffin a fumble recovery as SPX rolled in the first two quarters.
St. Pius defensive coordinator Jerry Stewart doesn’t over preach takeaways, but Sikorski said, “he really focuses on lining up the right way. He says if you get lined up right, and do the right thing, good things will happen.”
Very little good happened for the Titans in their first game of the season.
North Oconee trailed the Lions just 318-303 in total yardage, but had trouble hanging onto the ball.
Not long after Braswell gave SPX a 7-0 lead, Woodward’s interception set up a 23-yard scoring sweep by Ruffin for a 15-0 lead. Sikorski’s first interception set up a 4-yard score by quarterback Jack Spear in the second quarter and the rout was on.
St. Pius added two more scores in the second quarter on a 21-yard run by Braswell and on Sikorski’s long haul.
Soon after the Lions started the second half with a 14-play, 91-yard touchdown drive that ended with Braswell’s 4-yard scoring run, SPX began running subs into the game.
Braswell finished with 83 yards on 12 carries. Spear finished with 60 rushing yards and a TD, and completed 4-of-6 passes for 56 yards.
The Titans got on the board in the fourth quarter when Nick Colvin completed a 59-yard touchdown pass to Zack Sims. Colvin completed 4-of-8 passes for 78 yards and the score.
Once again, though, the Lions stole the ball when SPX junior linebacker Daniel Crochet intercepted. St. Pius sophomore fourth-string fullback Sam Forte scored a few plays later for a 50-7 lead.
Stewart wasn’t concerned much with the Titans’ yardage, a l otof which came in the fourth quarter. He was pleased with so many of his players doing what they’re taught.
“We play bend but-don’t-break,” the long-time veteran said. “We have four things: know the call, get your alignment, recognize the formation, and keep your eyes on your key whatever it is on that play. We have smart guys. When they do those four things, and they’re pretty good at that, good things usually happen.”
North Oconee 0 0 0 14 – 14
St. Pius X 15 21 7 7 – 50
SPX – Ryan Braswell 2 run (Thomas O’Leary kick)
SPX – Nick Ruffin 23 run (Braswell run)
SPX – Jack Spear 4 run (O’Leary kick)
SPX – Braswell 21 run (O’Leary kick)
SPX – Michael Sikorski 72 interception return (O’Leary kick)
SPX – Braswell 4 run (O-Leary kick)
NO – Zack Sims 59 pass from Nick Colvin (Nathan Ellis kick)
SPX – Sam Franke 1 run (Michael Matthews kick)
NO – Kevon Hudson 2 run (Ellis kick)