By Marty Farmer
During the preseason, Fenwick football head coach Gene Nudo said the Friars' Richard Schoen could be an all-state player this year. Schoen, who plays wide receiver, safety/linebacker and special teams, is proving his coach right four games into the season. Schoen scored two touchdowns (including one on a 45-yard interception return), had another interception, returned a punt 60 yards, caught three passes for 79 yards and recorded seven tackles to trigger the Friars' 40-14 win over visiting Bishop McNamara Friday.
"How about that Rich Schoen," Nudo said after the game. "The problem with Rich is that he's everywhere, and that's a good problem for us. Honestly, I was worried all week because we were getting a lot of press and ink. We started slowly [tonight], but give credit to the other team. Bishop McNamara was playing well, but our kids bounced back and played better after the first quarter. A long time ago, I learned to never apologize for a win."
After the Fighting Irish took a 7-0 lead on quarterback Jared Marcotte's three-yard touchdown pass to Robbie Odeneal at 8:09 of the second quarter, the playmaking Schoen ignited Fenwick. On the next play from scrimmage, Fenwick quarterback Gino Cavalieri threw a 62-yard touchdown pass to Schoen, who cut back beautifully after his reception to sprint 30 yards into the end zone. Schoen intercepted a pass from Marcotte on Bishop McNamara's ensuing possession and returned it 24 yards to the Fighting Irish 11. Cavalieri went up top to 6-foot-5, 245-pound tight end Ryan Smith (two catches, 53 yards) for an 11-yard touchdown and a 14-7 Fenwick lead.
Early in the third quarter, Schoen struck yet again, returning a punt 60 yards to the Bishop McNamara 28 aided by a sensational, bone-crunching block from Scott Stibich. Five plays later, Cavalieri (11-for-18, 196 yards, four touchdowns) tossed a six-yard strike to Robert Spillane, extending the Friars' advantage to 20-7 at 8:02 of the third quarter.
Spillane, the Friars' other incredibly versatile weapon, rushed 14 times for 69 yards and had four catches for 33 yards, plus four tackles and a sack on defense.
Bishop McNamara offered one final threat when Dane Tobeck scored on an eight-yard scamper to make the score 20-14 with 4:53 left in the third quarter.
Fenwick scored 20 unanswered points the rest of the way en route to their 40-14 victory. Scoring highlights included Charlie Emmons' one-yard run, Cavalieri's 24-yard pass to Jimmy Donahue, and Schoen's aforementioned 45-yard interception return for a touchdown.
"I have to give credit on the [touchdown] interception to Scott Stibich. That was all him; he tipped the ball and I just got it," Schoen said about his second score. "It's all about our team We really need to work on how we start. I guess we're a second half team, but we have to change that. We have to be going a 100 percent the whole game and start off well."
Defensively, Fenwick turned in another rock solid performance with contributions from several players, including Mike Kozyra (seven tackles), Keshaun Smith, Danny Shannon, Justin Rodriguez, Michael Krecek, Chris Hawthorne, Spillane and Schoen.
"We just really buckled down and started using our technique to the best of our abilities," Hawthorne said. "Right now, we're just getting as better as we go along. Hopefully we'll reach our goal of where we want to be at the end of the year."
The Friars (4-0) take on St. Ignatius at St. Xavier University next Friday (7:30 p.m.).
"It's definitely going to be a good game," Schoen said. "We're going for the win, but it's definitely going to be good competition."
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