This is how you draw up the game plan for the season opener.
The defense goes out and immediately sets the tone with a pick-6 for the early lead.
Not to be outdone, the offense ignites the crowd with a long touchdown pass on its first possession.
Ah, first impressions.
That’s how St. Anthony’s opened its football season against New Jersey powerhouse Delbarton on Friday night in South Huntington.
Linebacker Jamel Joyner plucked a deflected pass out of the air and returned the interception 47 yards for a touchdown.
Then Friars quarterback Greg Campisi fired a short pop pass to Kyle Angus, who jetted down the middle of the field with the prize for a 76-yard score.
St. Anthony’s rode the momentum of those two touchdowns to a 34-17 win in a non-league opener before a crowd of more than 1,100.
Campisi completed 11 of 18 passes for 336 yards and three touchdowns in a brilliant 2018 debut.
“We’re going to ride his big arm but we’re also going to be balanced on our offense,” St. Anthony’s coach Rich Reichert said. “We have a really special group of skill guys that can run.”
That speed was on display all night. Joyner was untouched on his theft and dash down the sideline. On Angus’ grab over the middle, no one was close as he reached the end zone.
Delbarton used a six-play, 64-yard drive to cut St. Anthony’s lead to 14-7. Quarterback Cole Freeman found Michael Jarmolowich on a stop-and-go route for a 34-yard diving catch in the end zone. Jake Kopeld added the kick with 9:33 left in the half.
Campisi answered 44 seconds later when he fired down the middle of the field to speedster Daniel Parker, whose 66-yard touchdown gave St. Anthony’s a 20-7 lead.
Kopeld’s 37-yard field goal before the half drew Delbarton within 20-10.
The Friars opened the second half in similar fashion to the way they started the game.
After Parker returned kickoff to the Green Wave 41, Campisi engineered a six-play scoring drive highlighted by a one-handed, 21-yard reception by Greg Randall to the 2. Two plays later, Angus scored from a yard out for a 27-10 lead.
Campisi hit Makhai Murphy with an 82-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter to seal the win. It was his third touchdown pass of more than 66 yards.
“We’re going to make big plays,” Reichert said. “We have the athletes.”