The opening sequence set the tone for a surprising 31-3 blowout at North Penn on Friday night in a nonleague football game.
"We came out of the box fast. It was a great start and a great win for us," St. Joseph's Prep coach Gabe Infante said.
Infante particularly praised the performance of a host of younger players - most notably freshman Joe DuMond, who returned an interception for a 17-yard touchdown in the first quarter.
"We have a lot of young players in key roles," Infante said. "And as you can see, they're not intimidated."
The Hawks (3-0), ranked No. 5 in Southeastern Pennsylvania by The Inquirer, completely controlled No. 3 North Penn (1-2). They jumped out to a 21-0, first-quarter lead and were never in danger at any point.
"It's a great win," Infante said. "But it's just the next step in the process for us. North Penn is a great football team. [Coach Dick Beck] does a great job. . . . But our kids did a really nice job."
One week after snapping Archbishop Wood's 15-game win streak, North Penn could not move the ball, rarely had favorable field position, continually gave up long returns on special teams, and was dominated in the air and on the ground by the Prep offense.
St. Joseph's Prep junior quarterback Chris Martin was 7-for-7 passing for 76 yards and a touchdown in the first quarter.
Most of the highlight-reel plays took place in that opening period.
In addition to Moffett's kickoff return, Martin hit Cameron Chambers for a 25-yard touchdown in the first quarter. A 33-yard touchdown by the Hawks was called back earlier in the drive because of a holding penalty.
Most of the final three quarters consisted of St. Joseph's Prep eating up chunks of yards and controlling the clock on offense and denying North Penn any semblance of an offense.
North Penn opened the second half with a long kickoff return by Mike Isabella to the Hawks' 33-yard line. It was one of the few signs of life by North Penn in the game.
But the Knights couldn't turn it into six points, instead settling for a 27-yard field goal by Brandon Mandes.
The biggest positive for the Hawks' defense, which forced three turnovers (two interceptions and a fumble) came between the tackles. The Prep defensive line controlled the line of scrimmage, and its linebackers often ran wild in the North Penn backfield.
Linebacker Todd Jones particularly stood out, helping to set an early tone with a sack and a tackle for a loss in the first half.
St. Joseph's Prep 21 7 0 3 – 31
North Penn 0 0 3 0 – 3
SJP: Vincent Moffett 92 kickoff return (Kyle Battin kick)
SJP: Cameron Chambers 25 pass from Chris Martin (Battin kick)
SJP: Joe DuMond 17 interception return (Battin kick)
SJP: Martin 1 run (Battin kick)
NP: FG Brandon Mandes 27
SJP: FG Battin 22
Contact Chris Melchiorre at email@example.com.