FNL: St. Joseph's vs. Wayne Hills
Oct 3, 2009
In a primetime matchup between a pair of top five teams in the state, St. Joseph and Wayne Hills left little to be desired for the estimated 4,000 fans that packed the stands and encircled the sidelines at Wayne Hills High School on Friday night. While the Patriots saw their 55-game winning streak – the second longest in state history – come to an end, few could deny the game featured a thrilling conclusion as the Green Knights escaped with a 17-15 victory.
Making this pivotal early season contest even more thrilling for those with a rooting interest in Rutgers, was the participation of several upperclassmen that the Scarlet Knights have been showing a recruiting interest in, including Wayne Hills offensive lineman Chris Fonti who is already a committed member of the class of 2010.
The early action mirrored the chilly temperatures that greeted both teams, as the two squads traded stalled drives back and forth, entering the second quarter in a scoreless tie. Wayne Hills broke through first early in the second quarter when quarterback Mike Quinn connected with senior wide receiver Matt De Block for a touchdown, but a missed extra point moments later would come back to hurt the Patriots in the long run.
Fonti looked very good throughout the contest, but especially in the first half, dominating his one-on-one matchups in the trenches. The future Scarlet Knight’s run blocking helped allow junior tailback Brian Dowling to break several impressive scampers throughout the evening. The class of 2011 prospect is definitely a player to keep an eye on throughout the rest of this season heading into the summer. The 5-10 back runs a 4.5 second 40-yard dash and shows a pretty good knack for not only exploiting seams in the line but turning the corner as well. The Patriots like to put the junior in motion and pass to him in the flat a great deal as well. Entering the contest, Dowling had already accumulated 461 yards and eight touchdowns in his first three games on 44 carries and five receptions.
Not long after De Block put Wayne Hills on top, St. Joseph took control of the game. The Green Knights scored all 17 of their points in the final 3:21 of the first half. The first score came as an impressive response to the initial touchdown scored by the Patriots. The Knights marched down the field, finding senior wide receiver Kai Dominguez on four receptions, the last of which was an acrobatic 28-yard touchdown reception – his second of the season. The game’s MVP, Dominguez was happy with the win but took a businesslike approach to the postgame celebration.
“This is a big win for us,” he said. “We’re happy we broke the streak, but we’re happier to be 3-0, that’s what we set out to do.”
The senior wideout got an opportunity to make another dynamic player just a few moments later when Wayne Hills coughed up the ball on a fumble and the Green Knights recovered. Behind the strong running tandem of seniors Kamal Hogan and Blair Wynn, the ball was marched inside the Patriot’s five-yard line. On a brilliant designed play, Dominguez scored on a reverse that put St. Joseph on top 14-6 after the extra point.
“They were great passes from the quarterback, great calls from the coach and we just made the plays happen,” the senior said of his two first half scores.
Dominquez, who praised Rutgers for the success of their program, said he still isn’t sure how close he wants to stay to home when making his final college decision. He is currently holding offers from Louisville and Syracuse, with Pittsburg and North Carolina both tending offers as well. Rutgers and Connecticut have actively recruited the upperclassman but have not extended scholarships at this time.
Later in the half, Hogan intercepted a pass and returned it deep enough into Wayne Hills’ territory to allow for a successful 32-yard field goal for St. Joseph as time expired in the first half.
Both Hogan and Wynn showed impressive flashes throughout the game, helping to pace the Green Knight offense. Hogan, a stout 5-11 200-pound back made his mark with tough running up the middle, picking up the bulk of his yardage after contact. The senior already has offers on the table from Louisville, Syracuse, Central Florida, Duke, Akron and East Carolina. Rutgers has been in the mix but has yet to offer up a scholarship.
Blair Wynn certainly looked like the more dynamic player on the field, breaking off several impressive open field runs. His lateral quickness was impressive to watch on both sides of the ball (he spent time as a linebacker) and it’s clear to see why he is already getting interest from several Division I programs. At this point Rutgers, Temple, Bryant and Bucknell have all been actively contacting the up and coming running back, but it seems like the Scarlet Knights might be the early favorite despite no scholarship offers out in the open yet.
“I try to catch as many Rutgers games as I can,” Wynn said. “I haven’t talked to any of their coaches lately, but I always look out to meet them. I can definitely see myself playing there one day though, I love Rutgers.”
The second half was slow getting off the ground, much like the first half, until Wayne Hills marched down the field and scored on a one-yard run by Dowling with 3:38 remaining. On the ensuing two-point conversion attempt a fairly open Dowling was over thrown on a short out route to the left side of the end zone. With no timeouts left for the Patriots, St. Joseph was able to run the football and work the clock down to zero.