Falcons Carry Five Game Winning Streak into Saturday’s Game at Pope John
SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – On Saturday afternoon, St. Joseph’s looks to keep winning. The Falcons carry a five-game winning streak into its 2:00 PM match-up against highly touted Pope John. St. Joe’s is coming off solid back-to-back wins over currently 9th-ranked Watchung Hills (26-21) two weeks ago and previously ranked Summit (42-14) last weekend.
Competing in the very competitive BCC American Gold, the Falcons managed to finish in a three-way tie with Somerville and Westfield at 2-2 in divisional play. The only two losses suffered by Joes were a 28-20 defeat at the hands of Somerville in Week 2 and a 22-15 loss to division winner Union in Week 3. Both setbacks came at home in the usually friendly confines of Brenner Family Field.
Since those two defeats, the Falcons have won five in a row including a 21-19 victory at Elizabeth on September 22nd and a 17-14 win over Westfield on September 30th. St. Joseph’s also defeated Edison (35-14) in Week 6 at The Drawl in Edison.
The Falcons, which opened the season with a 35-0 victory at New Brunswick, have outscored their foes by a margin of 209-132, or by an average of 26-17 per game. The Falcons have given up the fewest points per game of any team in the BCC American Gold at 16.5 points per game. The Falcons are led by senior RB and DB, Jeremy DeCaro, who is also a standout basketball player for the Falcons.
Through the first 8 games, DeCaro has rushed 46 times for 299 yards and 5 TDs. He has also caught 36 passes for another 635 yards and 8 TDs. DeCaro has even thrown the ball with one completion in two attempts for 21 yards. The Milltown native also has helped out on defense on special teams.
DeCaro has 31.5 total tackles including 22 solos, 3 for loss, and a sack. He also has forced a fumble and recovered one as well as intercepted a pass and returned that for a touchdown. DeCaro has also returned three kickoffs for an average of 41.3 yards including a 70-yard return for a score in the win over Summit last week.
DeCaro is no stranger to playing quarterback either for the Falcons. Last year with current QB Daniel DeGennaro out of the game in the fourth quarter against Pope John, DeCaro piloted the plane and flew it successfully by completing the game-winning drive with a TD pass for Tyler Colonna for the 21-20 upset win.
DeCaro finished with 5 of 6 completions for 76 yards and the winning score. Over the past two seasons, DeCaro has averaged 4.8 points per game for the Falcons on the hardwood including a 5.5 per game scoring average to help last year’s hoops team reach the 2022 Non-Public A South Final.
Back to DeGennaro, the senior signal-caller has completed 62 of 99 passes for 942 yards and 8 TDs versus 6 interceptions. In addition, DeGennaro has also rushed 32 times for another 181 yards and two more scores. Seniors Jason Ridges Jr. and Jahcir Styles also contribute a great deal to the Falcon ground game.
Ridges has rushed 65 times for 296 yards and 3 TDs while Styles leads the Falcons in rushing with 78 carries for 424 yards and 3 TDs. Junior tight end Ashton Irving has helped the passing attack with 12 catches for 180 yards. Elias Scott is the Falcons leading tackler with 44 total tackles including 28 solos, 12 for loss, and a team-high 6.5 sacks. Javon Hudson also helps anchor the defense for St. Joe’s.
Hudson is currently 2nd on the team in total tackles with 33.5 including 24 solos, 6.5 for loss, and 2.5 sacks. Hudson also has a forced fumble, two fumble recoveries, and two interceptions. Both pick-offs have been returned for touchdowns. Helping out on special teams are Logan Graham (one kickoff return for 43 yards) and Jacob Pappas (one kickoff return for 18 yards).
Junior Tyler Huseth handles the place-kicking duties for St. Joseph’s. A placekicker since his freshman year, Huseth has improved considerably over his past two seasons. Through his first 8 games, Huseth has converted 6 of 10 field goal attempts and all 12 of his extra points for a total of 30 points on the season. Huseth’s longest field goal was a 44-yarder in the loss to Union.
St. Joseph’s will have a tall order to take care of on Saturday afternoon. The Falcons will travel up to Sparta to face Pope John XXIII, another Non-Public A school that has improved considerably over the past two seasons. The Lions, which enter the game at 7-2 overall and winners of the Super Football Conference’s United White Division with a 3-1 mark, are looking to get revenge for last year’s last-minute loss at Brenner Family Field in Metuchen.
The only two losses suffered by Pope John this year were to Cardinal Hayes of New York (40-34) and arch-rival, Delbarton (30-6). The Lions have defeated the likes of Seton Hall Prep (33-20), Paramus Catholic (47-40), Immaculate (45-6), and defending Non-Public B Champion, DePaul (31-27).
Pope John is led at QB by former Bernards standout, Chris Dietrich, who has completed 115 passes in 183 attempts for 1,353 yards and 13 TD versus 8 interceptions. Dietrich has also rushed 24 times for 51 yards and another score.
Junior RB, Tylik Hill is a potent weapon for the Lions with 117 carries for 859 yards and 11 TDs. Hill has also caught 17 passes for another 163 yards and three more scores. Hill also stars in the return game with 7 kickoff returns for a total of 248 yards including a 96-yard return for a TD in the win over Seton Hall Prep on September 2nd. He is averaging 9.0 yards per touch this season.