By:Marvin Chambers:|4.0 Sports Media
Montvale – St. Joseph seems to figure it out with the game is on the line.
St. Joseph (Mont.), No. 4 in the NJ.com Top 20, scored 22 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to erase a 15-point deficit and pull out a 28-21 win over No. 3 DePaul in a rematch of last year’s Non-Public, Group 3 state final game.
“We’ve been doing it all year, making big fourth-quarter comebacks,” St. Joseph (Mont.) senior quarterback Nick Patti said. ” No one gave up, we just kept playing hard.”
Nick Patti was a little erractic in the first half, completing 6 of 18 passes for 48 yards and an interception in the three quarters of the game, St. Joseph woke up in the final 12 minutes, in which Patti completed 8 of 12 for 152 yards and one touchdown. The Pittsburg commit quarterback also scrambled for a 13-yard TD that tied the game with 4:38 remaining on the clock.
Trailing 21-6, Evan Stewart scooped up a DePaul fumble near the sidelines on the St. Joseph 8-yard-line in the opening minute of the fourth quarter and the comeback was brewing.
St.Joseph put together a nine-play, 92-yard drive – including a crucial fourth-and-one conversion – Patti rolled out and hit tight end Matt Alaimo for a 9-yard touchdown.
“I wish we can play all of our games in the second half. I don’t know many games I can take like this. Second half we locked in and cut the mental mistakes out.” Coach Augie Huffman said.
The Green Knights’ defense stiffened and made Depaul punt three consecutive series,the St. Joes offense started to rolled, hitting Fara’ad McCombs on a 51-yard go route that set up Patti 13-yard TD jaunt on a fourth-and-eight down play.
“I was looking downfield ,I kind of panicked a little bit knowing it was fourth-and-eight. I looked down and I saw a little room to run and, originally, I just wanted to get the first down and get down. I saw the corner bail out back with the receiver and not come up with me and I just saw the seam and I took it to the corner of the end zone.” Nick Patti said.
St. Joe’s got the ball back on their own 40 after tough defense stance. Nine plays later, running back Hopkinson broke the goal line on a 4-yard run to give St. Joseph a 28-21 lead with 56 seconds remaining in the ball game.
Junior quarterback Taquan Roberson spotted DePaul an early , 7-3 lead, with 2:08 left in the first when he found tight-end Liam Cabri on a seem route for a 37-yard TD. Three minutes later, Roberson hooked up with wide receiver Ronnie Hickman for a razzle dazzle 45-yard TD pass.
St. Joseph had to settle for a pair of field goals by Angelo Guglielmello in the first half but early in third quarter Roberson connected with Teddy Harper for an 11-yard TD that made it 21-6 and things was looking bleek for the Green Knights.
Roberson finished 21-for-33 with 269 yards, three TDs and one interception. He also ran for 56 yards on 14 attempts. Hickman caught seven passes for 132 yards and one TD.
After few close games St. Joes (7-3) will set his sights on Red Bank Catholic (8-1)in the first round of the NJSIAA state playoff on Saturday. Red Bank Catholic end the Green Knights state title run in 2014 and St. Joseph is looking for immediate payback.