By: Katherine Fominykh
Despite the steady rain washing down on Gonzaga’s home field, nothing could have extinguished the Eagles’ firepower on Saturday afternoon. Gonzaga (3-0) handily sent their visitors from New Jersey, Don Bosco, home, 37-7. Though it was the Eagles’ third-straight win, the perfect streak of scoreless games ended.
For the boys in purple, though, winning their third game was still a massive confidence boost going forward. And it was proof that long hours of training had paid off.
“A lot of times in life, you work towards something and you don’t see the results right away. One good thing about being 3-0 is that we’re seeing good results early,” head coach Randy Trivers said. “A challenge for a football team is you have to remember how you’re getting those good results. And that’s through preparation and hard work.”
Gonzaga pounced early. At the 45-yard line in Eagles territory, sophomore quarterback Caleb Williams launched a pass across the field to senior wide receiver John Marshall for a clear touchdown. The crowd of still-clothed Gonzaga fans’ roars swelled. The kick was good. And Gonzaga had an early 7-0 lead.
It wasn’t, though, just the Eagles’ offense that was propelled them toward victory. Gonzaga’s defense was a mean purple machine, as punishing as they were swift. The unit moved together as a swarm, not unlike an angry cloud of hornets. And before the game was over, two Don Bosco players would be hobbling off the field with injuries.
Before then, though, Gonzaga linebacker Aaron Davis sacked Ironmen quarterback Jahquil Batts. It wouldn’t be the last time. Gonzaga struck the pocket again, as defensive end Henry Iloanya and linebacker Harrison Sousa sacked the quarterback again before the end of the first quarter.
By the end of the first quarter, the Eagles held onto the 7-0 lead. Gonzaga continued their dominance in the second frame. Before long, the Eagles doubled their lead. After a string of long runs from running back Lucas Warfield, linebacker/running back Loic Sangwa crossed the endzone for a touchdown. Gonzaga converted on the PAT, increasing their lead to 14-0.
After yet another Eagles’ sack, defensive end Joseph Wete was the culprit. Williams fired a 35-yard pass to Sweeney for another Gonzaga touchdown, and before long, Gonzaga jump out to a commanding 21-0 lead, which was the score at halftime.
Furthermore, Don Bosco was thwarted at nearly every turn. Just a few minutes later, Gonzaga added another sack, as Davis struck again on the Ironmen’s 39-yard line. In the second half, linebacker Hunter Stewart sacked the quarterback, an act becoming commonplace in the game. Don Bosco was backed up against their own end zone. Moments later, senior Brian Collins blocked the Ironmen’s punt for an elusive safety. Gonzaga increased the lead to 23-0.
The two sides began to trade short, frustrating drives. In one set, Gonzaga was tripped up by offensive penalties. Still, they were efficient when it counted. Aaron Turner tore 45 yards down the field, weaving in and out around Ironmen defenders to score another touchdown.
Williams completed 10 of his 15 pass attempts for 138 yards and two touchdowns. Warfield exploded for 76 rushing yards and one score. And Marshall hauled in six passes for 124 yards and a touchdown.
“We had to repay our defense by giving it all back in offense,” senior running back Lucas Warfield said. But the Eagles’ finished with seven total sacks.
Barring a miracle, the game was out of reach for Don Bosco. And it seemed like good faith was in Gonzaga’s court. Midway through the fourth quarter, though, Don Bosco would start to take advantage of their foe’s good spirits. In three plays — 28 yards, 17 yards, three yards — Bosco scored their first touchdown of the game. And it was Gonzaga’s first let-up all season, making it 30-7.
“Often times it’s human nature to pull back when we have success. We have to guard against that. We have to be very careful as to not forget how we’ve been earning these victories. … We can’t really be too concerned with what happened yesterday, what happened two weeks go. We can enjoy this moment, but it’s very important that next week’s a new week,” said Trivers. Gonzaga leaves home to play Georgetown Prep next Saturday.