Senior QB Anthony Giagunto did a little bit of everything to lead St. Joseph to a 37-29 victory over Absegami Saturday afternoon in a Cape Atlantic League football opener for both teams.
Playing in its first game in the re-aligned American Division, St. Joseph was seriously challenged by an Absegami team that was missing star quarterback Rashad Kinlaw, the Notre Dame recruit who is recovering from a broken leg.
Absegami junior David Hood was a one-man show in the first half, scoring on plays that covered 69 (pass reception), 62 (run) and 60 (run) yards as the Braves took a 20-14 lead.
But Giagunto refused to allow St. Joe's to lose. Giagunto was 12-for-16 passing for 165 yards and two TDs. He ran for one two-point conversion and passed for another. He made a TD-saving tackle and also blocked an extra point.
"It was all willpower and adrenalin," Giagunto said.
SJ rallied in the second half, getting a big 80-yard KOR for touchdown from Robert Thompson and a TD run from Cody Sampson.
It was a war of attrition on a hot, humid day as SJ lost RB Miles Pease with a shoulder injury in the first quarter and Absegami lost Hood for most of the second half with cramps.
Giagunto is 18-0 as a starting quarterback for SJ. He's thrown 16 TD passes without an interception.
"He does it all," SJ coach Paul Sacco said. "He's one of the best football players in SJ."
SJ has rival Holy Spirit in another Cape American clash next week. Absegami has Middle Twp. in a cross-over game.
Absegami coach Dennis Scuderi said he thought Kinlaw could be back in two weeks.
Absegami 7 13 0 9 -- 29
St. Joe 7 7 7 16 -- 37
SJ: Miles Pease 11 pass from Anthony Giagunto (Jon Ryker kick)
A: David Hood 69 pass from Mike Dolan (Nick Della Vecchia kick)
SJ: Cody Sampson 12 run (Ryker kick)
A: Hood 62 run (Della Vecchia kick)
A: Hood 60 run (kick fail)
SJ: Luke Ordille 12 pass from Giagunto (Ryker kick)
A: Della Vecchia 34 FG
SJ: Robert Thompson 80 kickoff return (Giagunto run)
SJ: Sampson 9 run (Ordille pass from Giagunto)
A: Dustin Miller 12 pass from Dolan (kick fail)
-- Phil Anastasia