After a slow start where the Fenwick football team turned the ball over twice on its first two offensive possessions, the Friars settled in and cruised to a 45-0 season-opening win over a depleted Hales Franciscan squad on Saturday afternoon.
The bombardment came in the second quarter and in the form of Robert Spillane, one of several grandsons of former Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Lattner on the Fenwick team. The running back finished the day carrying the ball 16 times for 89 yards and two touchdowns, and catching another TD. All of Spillane’s touchdowns came in the second quarter. The junior scored on a run from a yard out with 10:40 left in the stanza, snagged a two-yard touchdown pass from Gino Cavalieri two minutes later and scampered 15 yards into the end zone at the 3:32 mark.
The Spartans, a team severely down in numbers due to eligibility issues with key transfers, including Central Michigan-bound quarterback Derrien Boone and 6-foot-9, 285-pound lineman Denzel Ward, had no idea what hit them and trailed 28-0 at halftime.
“We didn’t come out as I would have liked to start the game, but we quickly bounced back,” said Gino Nudo, who made his debut as Fenwick’s new head coach. Cavalieri tossed two interceptions to begin the game, but finished 6-for-11 for 37 yards and one touchdown pass. “Hales has had some setbacks, but we made some progress with our team and did exactly what we wanted to do.”
Fenwick’s defense caused havoc for Spartans quarterback Antone Simmons, usually a wide receiver. The Friars picked off a total of four passes, including one that Richard Schoen returned 30 yards for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
Pat Hart, a Division I hopeful, put the Friars on the board in the first quarter with a one-yard blast. Hart, who suffered an undisclosed injury in the offseason at a football camp held at NIU that left him sidelined and out of the weight room for a month, spent most of the game at linebacker.
“We’re glad to have Hart back and at full-go,” said Nudo, who declined to go into detail about Hart’s injury. “It’s only been a couple of weeks that he’s been able to practice at full speed.”
Nudo and the Friars now prepare to take on Marmion at Riverside-Brookfield’s Shuey Stadium on Saturday night (7:30 p.m.).
“We’re going to see a better team this week, so the plan is to be prepared,” said Nudo.