Thursday, July 2, 2015

Football: St. Joe rallies past Millville

By Phil Anastasia

Football: St. Joe rallies past Millville

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By Phil Anastasia

C.J. LaFragola prides himself on his versatility.

He does a little of this and a little of that for the St. Joseph football team.

On Saturday, the Wildcats needed a lot of yards, two touchdowns and a huge fourth-down conversion.

La Fragola supplied those things to lead St. Joseph to a 21-14 victory over Millville.

"He's 100 percent St. Joe football," St. Joseph coach Paul Sacco said after his team rallied from a fourth-quarter deficit on a warm, sunny afternoon on the Wildcats' home field.

LaFragola, a junior fullback and linebacker, carried the football 17 times for 129 yards and two touchdowns for St. Joseph (2-1), the No. 6 team in The Inquirer Top 25 rankings.

His 23-yard touchdown run gave the Wildcats a 19-14 lead with seven minutes, 39 seconds remaining in the Cape Atlantic American Division game.

Moments earlier, La Fragola gained three yards on a fourth-and-2 at the Millville 43-yard line.

"My line did a great job of blocking," LaFragola said. "They opened the holes for me."

Junior Rob Ennis ran for one touchdown and passed for another for No. 8 Millville (2-1).

"We have to try to build off this," Millville coach Jason Durham said. "At times we played well but at times we kicked ourselves in the rear end. We needed to play a cleaner game."

Ennis, a speedy junior who gained 111 yards on 14 carries, gave Millville the lead with a 42-yard burst into the end zone on a draw play with 30 seconds remaining in the third quarter.

St. Joseph responded with an 11-play, 67-yard scoring drive. The Wildcats overcame two penalties behind the hard running of LaFragola, senior halfback Cody Sampson (eight carries, 78 yards, plus two interceptions on defense) and sophomore quarterback Salaam Horne.

It was a defining drive for a young St. Joseph team without a senior on the offensive line. Coming off a 31-28 loss to Holy Spirit on Sept. 20, the Wildcats needed to respond or face the prospect of a 1-2 record and their first two-game losing streak since 2008.

"We had to have this game," LaFragola said. "We couldn't  go down 1-2."

LaFragola carried four times for 39 yards on the drive. He took a pitch left for three yards on the crucial fourth-and-two, and burst up the middle on a trap for the final 23 yards.

"I just saw green," said LaFragola, who scored on a 32-yard run on the same play in the first quarter.

Millville 7 0 7 0 -- 14

St. Joseph 7 6 0 8 -- 21

M: Chris Harris 33 pass from Rob Ennis (Itrell Young kick)

SJ: C.J. LaFragola 32 run (Jon Riker kick)

SJ: Cody Sampson 44 run (kick fail)

M: Ennis 42 run (Young kick)

SJ: LaFragola 23 run (Salaam Horne run)

-- Contact Phil Anastasia at panastasia@phillynews.com

-- Follow @PhilAnastasia on Twitter

 

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About this blog
Born and raised in South Jersey, Phil Anastasia prefers standing on the sidelines at high school football games on Friday nights to sitting in the press box at Eagles games on Sunday afternoons. He’s a graduate of Rowan University with a degree in English. Reach Phil at panastasia@phillynews.com.

Phil Anastasia Inquirer Columnist
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