THUNDER BAY – No matter what else he accomplishes in life, Matt Sacino will always have a place in his school’s history books.
The Saint Patrick running back on Thursday scored the Saints’ first touchdown on their new artificial turf field, the lone major his team would score as the St. Ignatius Falcons played spoiler in the Catholic Classic rivalry, taking the junior high school football contest 19-6.
Sacino burst to the right side early in the second quarter and raced 72 yards down the sidelines, pulling the Saints to within seven, the Falcons having scored the game’s first two touchdowns.
While he’d rather have the win under his belt, Sacino said it was pretty cool to cross the goal line and collect the milestone score.
“It’s pretty cool,” he said. “Obviously I couldn’t have done it without everyone else on my team.”
The $2.2-million field opened earlier this season, but Thursday’s game marked the first – and only – time this season the Saints will have a chance to play a Superior Secondary Schools Athletic Association game at the new complex, which also includes a 400-metre track.
“It’s unbelievably awesome to be able to practice and play on,” Sacino said.
The Falcons, who improved to 2-1, might well agree.
St. Ignatius running back Jeffrey Seed struck first, bursting 21 yards down the right side of the field, crossing the goal line for the game’s first touchdown and a 6-0 lead -- the extra point failing.
The Falcons defence played a major role in their next score, recovering a fumble on their own 49 yard line. Two plays later Nick Doucette scampered 61 yards on a sweep left and St. Ignatius jumped in front 13-0.
Doucette said the two early scores helped calm the five-time defending champions, who have had to work for both victories this season.
“We were really nervous coming out because we heard they were really good,” Doucette said. “We had to step it up a lot.”
St. Ignatius would add its final touchdown late in the second quarter, Raphael Roberts snagging a 45-yard scoring pass from quarterback Kalvin Binaris with four minutes to go in the half.
The two teams were held scoreless in the final two quarters, the Saints running into fumble trouble late in the contest as their window to catch up closed out.
Running back Jordan Malench dropped one, while Sacino lost a pair in the fourth, Falcons defender Brad Macklin snatching up a pair of balls to seal the victory.
“We’ve got a bunch of guys hurt and subbing in and out,” Sacino said. “We had a quarterback who had never played before in his life. It’s hard, but we’ll get through it and we’ll see this team in two weeks.”
St. Patrick finished the regular season at 2-2, good for third in the SSSAA junior standings.
Superior Collegiate 25, Westgate 7: Owen Steele single-handedly led the Gryphons to their first win since returning to the junior football ranks, scoring three rushing touchdowns from 10, 58 and 17 yards out and catching a 40-yard scoring pass from quarterback Ari Uusitalo. Jacob Jones had the lone touchdown for the Tigers, a 64-yard fourth-quarter run.