In its first Fairchester Athletic Association contest of the season, St. Luke's hammered Hopkins School of New Haven 32-13, but needed a heaping contribution from special teams and its defense to carry the day.
Hopkins, keying off running back Myles Gaines and Noel Thomas, who filled in for senior QB Charlie Nelson, sidelined with an injury, kept the high-powered Storm offense out of the endzone for the entire first quarter. On offense, Hopkins deployed Jim Martino and Sam Glazer, a pair of bruising running backs, who took turns pounding left, right and up the middle until late in the quarter, Hopkins scored for a 7-0 advantage.
Midway through the 2nd period, after trading rushes with Gaines to get down to the Hopkins 30, Thomas hit Blake Stroman at the 15 and Stroman stormed into the endzone carrying three defenders with him. The first half ended with the teams deadlocked at 7.
The second half was only 18 seconds old when St. Luke's' Sam Drews ripped the ball from Hopkins on its first offensive play. The ball popped into Gaines' hands who rumbled 28 yards across the goal line. The very next time Hopkins got the ball, they fumbled again and Ron Holland recovered on the Hopkins 36. Thomas went to work rushing and passing again hitting Stroman who scored his second TD of the contest.
St. Luke's shifted back and forth from a 4-4 to a 5-2 defense trying to contain the Hopkin's ground game, but eventually Hopkins clawed its way to the 20 where, after Holland knocked down a third and 10 pass attempt, Hopkins attempted a field goal. The kick was low, hitting the back of their own lineman and the live ball was alertly snatched out of the air by St. Luke's' Noah Daniel who booked 80 yards for a score. The successful PAT gave the Storm a commanding 26-7 lead.
Midway through the 4th quarter, Hopkins mounted one last successful 55-yard scoring drive to close the gap to 27-13. With three minutes left in the game, Thomas on a QB keeper exploded to the left sideline then tip-toed his way 65 yeads for the Storm's final score. Daniel ended Hopkins only hope to stay in the game by recovering a fumble on the ensuing series of downs.
"This was a very physical team," said Noel Thomas, Sr., the St. Luke's head coach."But our special teams stepped up and gave us the spark we needed to get going and the raw emotion of the entire Storm family - both on and off the field - helped us bring this one home."
St. Luke's is on the road again next Saturday with a 6 pm FAA game against Hamden Hall (Hamden, Connecticut).