Junior quarterback Pat Hart ran for three touchdowns to lead the Fenwick football team to a 34-12 victory over Hales Franciscan in the Friars’ season opener at Morton West High School on Saturday afternoon.
In the first half, Hart scored from four yards out on Fenwick’s first two touchdowns of the game, the first coming after Joe Kelly intercepted a Hales pass attempt in the opening quarter. Hart opened the second quarter by banging his way up the middle behind 6-foot-4, 235-pound center Matt Doherty.
“Matt and the rest of guys just cleared a path for me on both touchdowns,” said Hart after the victory. “Our line did an excellent job today.”
The Friars racked up 177 yards in the first half, mostly on the ground. Along with Hart, running backs Robert Spillane, Jack Stibich (10 carries, 81 yards), Sean Mahon and Nick Johnson carried the load. Johnson scampered in from 19 yards out with 5:38 left in the first half. Vince Falk’s extra point gave the Friars a 20-0 lead.
Hales, who had a hard time containing Fenwick’s running back crew, showed some might when quarterback Chris Walker (9-for-12, 98 yards) connected with Willie Allen for a 54-yard touchdown pass before the end of the half. But the Spartans didn’t score again until the closing seconds of the game. By that time, the Fenwick fans in the stadium were already celebrating.
“Our quarterback played excellent,” said Fenwick head coach Joe DiCanio. “As I’ve said, we go where he goes. But we still have a lot of work to do as a team.
“We have some very good skilled players, but we can’t play with five guys. We need the entire team on board. We’ll get better.”
Hart scored his third touchdown of the game on a one-yard plunge with under three minutes left in the third quarter. Mahon put the game out of reach with an 8-yard run with 10:08 left in the game. The touchdown put Fenwick up 34-6.
Fenwick’s defense came up with some big plays, most notably Kelly’s two interceptions. The senior picked off Walker on just the third play of the game to help setup Hart’s first touchdown. He hauled in another in the third quarter.
John Lattner’s interception in the closing seconds of the opening quarter led to Hart’s second touchdown run.
“While this was a very good win for us, we still made a lot of mistakes that we need to correct and we need to correct soon with Marmion coming up,” said DiCanio. “We’re going to get started prepping for them as soon as possible.”
Fenwick travels to Aurora on Sept. 2 (7:30 p.m.) to take on Marmion, a team that made it to the Class 6A State Championship last season.