The players on the Kellenberg football team never forgot the feeling from the final time they walked off the field last season.
After surrendering 22 points in the fourth quarter of last year’s seven-point playoff loss to Holy Trinity, the Firebirds couldn’t wait for the chance to face the team that ended their run.
“We needed this,” senior lineman Brendan Whitehead said. “They beat us twice last year and we had to send a message.”
Kellenberg dominated all facets of the game Sunday afternoon against Holy Trinity at Mitchel Athletic Complex, leaving the field with nothing but smiles and satisfaction after a 45-0 victory in a CHSAA football matchup.
“Everyone just wanted to come back and get this ‘W,’” quarterback Matt Sluka said. “People were talking back and forth but I think it just came down to who wanted it more. And we definitely did.”
It didn’t take long for the Firebirds to take control of the game, scoring on their first six possessions of the first half.
The majority of Kellenberg’s offensive prowess came from sophomore running back Jordan DeLucia, who had explosive scoring runs of 75 and 60 yards in the first half and added a 5-yard touchdown run.
“All starts with the line, got to give thanks to them,” DeLucia said. “ . . . It’s the best feeling knowing that all I have to do is outrun everyone and I’m not trying to be cocky about it but I do have speed and I used my advantages.”
The Kellenberg defense dominated, especially in first half, leaving few running lanes for the Holy Trinity offense, which fumbled once and faced fourth-and-16 or greater on three of its six first-half possessions. The defensive line, led by Whitehead and Elijah Eddy and linebackers Dan Wilson and Shawn Hughes gave the Titans (0-2) few scoring opportunities.
“We prepared, we’ve been going hard through training camp, through everything,” Whitehead said. “So we earned it.”
Frankie Roder set the tone from the opening kickoff, returning it to Holy Trinity’s 10-yard line before Jake Deakin ran in a 4-yard touchdown on fourth down.
On the first play of the Firebirds’ third drive after taking a 13-0 lead, Sluka rushed toward the left sideline and was able to escape two tacklers before breaking off a 45-yard touchdown run. Even he admitted he was surprised by the play’s result.
“I had no idea,” Sluka said. “Once I saw the kid come, I thought I was going to just step out of bounds and take the yards I got, but I was able to make a play out of it.”
Sluka connected with Matthew Mongelli for a 17-yard touchdown to take a 25-0 lead and after DeLucia’s two long touchdown runs, Joe Burns punched in the final score in the fourth quarter with a 5-yard run for Kellenberg (2-0).
The offensive line, including Brendan Higgins, Kris LaFroscia, Pat Harinski, Whitehead, Thomas Cipolla, Eddy, John Rainis and Samir Umar created the lanes throughout the game to help Kellenberg keep control of the game.
“Really just came down to linemen making their blocks, receivers catching it,” Sluka said. “Really just everyone executing their own job.”