A five-touchdown performance from St. Patrick quarterback Zach Fuller helped the Shamrocks to a 47-21 victory against Lane on Saturday at Hanson Stadium.
Fuller got some help from his defense and special teams, which combined to recover five fumbles on the day.
Lane’s first two drives moved well into St. Patrick territory, but fumbles derailed both chances. The Indians took the ball down to the St. Patrick 10-yard line on the opening possession of the game, but St. Patrick’s Michael Olijnyk returned a blocked field goal out to the 37-yard line.
St. Patrick (2-0) quickly made Lane (1-1) pay for its error as Fuller hit wide receiver Patrick Devlin for a 57-yard score on the third play of the drive. It would be the first of four touchdown passes from Fuller to Devlin on the day.
“Devlin’s a huge weapon for us this year,” Fuller said. “He’s a backup quarterback and he’s playing wide receiver, so he can read coverage just like I can. He’s 6-6, he’s fast; what’s not to like about him?”
Lane coach Fred Proesel said Devlin was often left on an island and the Shamrocks punished the Indians through the air when the pass rush didn’t get to the quarterback fast enough.
“We had mental breakdowns offensively, defensively and as a coaching staff,” Proesel said. “When you’re playing St. Pat’s, you can’t do it. We had some really good momentum in the first half and we didn’t capitalize on it. We didn’t capitalize on it by basically giving them two touchdowns. When a team is better than you, you can’t do that. You can hang around with them and then you get them on the ropes instead of giving them some points.”
Lane took its only lead of the game early in the second quarter when quarterback William Yerkes capped off a 71-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown run to make it 7-6. St. Patrick reclaimed the lead at 12-7 when running back Olijnyk punched the ball in from one yard out on fourth and goal.
Another miscue put Lane down two scores when St. Patrick’s Nolan Hart batted down a pitch attempt and ran it back 10 yards for a touchdown.
The teams traded scores before a pivotal muffed punt recovered by St. Patrick’s Dom Caputo gave the Shamrocks the ball at the Lane 43-yard line with four seconds to play in the half. Fuller hooked up with Devlin again, breaking the game open to give St. Patrick a 33-14 halftime lead.
“We have some weapons people have to defend this year,” St. Patrick coach Dan Galante said. “Our linemen are picking up experience and coming together now, but the skill group is pretty special.”
Fuller finished 17-of-26 passing for 316 yards and five touchdowns, while Devlin snagged six passes for 165 yards and four touchdowns.
Yerkes led Lane through the air with 6-of-8 passing for 104 yards and a touchdown to go with 46 yards and one touchdown on nine carries.
“We have to get some stuff fixed, but St. Pat’s is one of the three best teams we’ll play this year, so now we have an indicator of where we have to go and we’ll build off that,” Proesel said.