The Albertus Magnus Falcons dominated the Peekskill Red Devils in their season opener at home Friday.
From the moment they first touched the ball, the Falcons demonstrated their aggressive and tenacious mindset as they fought through some difficulty with errors to score the first touchdown of the game.
"I anticipate that in a first game, there are going to be a lot of errors," said Falcons Head Coach Paul Villanueva. As he expected, there were some kinks to work out, however, overall, the Falcons executed exceptionally well both offensively and defensively.
"Our conditioning played a big part in the second half," said Villanueva in summing up their decisive victory. "I'd like to think that we're a pretty fit team and we were also pretty consistent in the second half."
And consistent they were, time and again shutting down the Red Devils' offense all the while steamrolling their defense to outscore the Devils four to one.
Receiving to start, the Falcons took the lead early in the first off a five yard touchdown run by #21 Jeremy Sosa. The quarter concluded with the Falcons in possession of the ball after they forced a turnover.
Red Devils' defensive back #26 Darryl Bradshaw then picked up a fumble to put his team in scoring position. Fortunately for the Falcons the cornerback, #2 Laureano Andrade, stole the Devils' chance at tying the game when he intercepted a hail Mary in the end zone to put his team in possession at the twenty yard line.
The Falcons made use of this opportunity as they dismantled the defensive line with a series of excellent runs by #24 Michael Louis and Sosa. Andrade then broke away on a great run to score the touchdown, only to be brought back with a holding call on the play.
Louis got the points back though with a five yard touchdown run to put them up 13-0 after they missed the extra point. The Falcons made another great stop after the kickoff and another drive which nearly gave them another touchdown. Unfortunately, their drive was ended with an interception by the Devils in the end zone. With under a minute on the clock, they ran down the time to end the first half.
The Falcons kicked off to start the half and quickly stifled the Devils' drive with their smothering defense. The Falcons were able to recover from a couple of close calls to maintain control of the ball and end the third quarter in Red Devil territory with a first down. They picked up where they left off in the third, with Louis cutting through the defense with a series of excellent runs to eventually score another touchdown for his team. This time the extra point was good, which put the Falcons up 20-0 and the game nearly out of reach for the Devils.
After receiving the kickoff, the Devils were forced to turn it over after their advance was stopped yet again by the excellent defense of the Falcons. After getting another touchdown run down the left hand side taken away from him on a holding call, Andrade went the other way to score the Falcons fourth unanswered touchdown. The extra point was good give the Falcons a 27-0 lead with 6:22 to go in the fourth.
After receiving the kickoff, the Red Devils were finally able to put all the pieces together and score a touchdown with under two minutes left in the game. It was the running back, #4 Ramon Searight, who muscled his way into the end zone with a run up the middle to put his team on the board. Unfortunately for the Devils, it was too little, too late as the Falcons ran down the clock to start their season off with an impressive victory.
The Falcons defense shut down the Red Devils, as they consistently provided good coverage while putting a lot of pressure on the quarterback. The Falcon offense took full advantage of every possession, relying heavily on their running game which is one of the team's major strengths according to Coach Villanueva.
At the heart of the Falcons running game are #24 Michael Louis, who had 230 yards and two touchdowns for the game, and #21 Jeremy Sosa, who had 170 yards and one touchdown. Leading his team to their victory tonight was the quarterback, #5 Brian Ilsley, who threw for a total of 130 yards and completed 7 out of 20 pass attempts.
"This is a huge victory for us," said Villanueva. "In my eight years as coach, I never had a home season-opener, so for us to get this win at home is very encouraging." The Falcons can celebrate their victory and this great start to a promising season this weekend, but they will have a lot of work to do this coming week in preparation for their next game Thursday.
In preparing for their next game, Villanueva is looking to focus on the fundamentals and improving his players at playing their game rather than significantly altering their play for any given opponent.
"We're focusing on a lot of film study," said Villanueva. "We're going to focus on how to minimize penalties and really just focus on how to improve our players football skills."
The Falcons look to continue their excellent start when they play next in Yonkers at 4:30 pm on Thursday, Sept. 16. Across town at Clarkstown North High School in New City and at Clarkstown South in West Nyack, both teams hit the road today for their opening games in Westchester.
South is at Mount Vernon at 1:30 p.m., with North at Gorton at 1:30 p.m. In Rockland, Nyack plays Spring Valley at 2 p.m., with crosstown rivals Pearl River and Tappan Zee competing at 7 p.m. at Tappan Zee.