Without their best player and a slew of other injuries, St. Anthony’s Del Rey League game at Mary Star of the Sea on Friday was an opportunity for other Saints to step up.
While the game didn’t go exactly as planned, the Saints (5-3, 2-0) won their fifth straight with a 37-14 victory over the Stars (3-4, 0-2).
“We are preparing for the long run,” Saints coach Raul Lara said. “We have some injuries right now and our numbers are low. This may be the lowest number of players I’ve had (during his coaching career).”
Saints senior running back Sone Aupiu was held out of the contest as he was nursing various “bumps and bruises.”
Seniors Anakin Aupiu (14 carries for 83 yards) and Kweku Claybrook (11 carries for 97 yards, 1 TD, 3 receptions for 40 yards, 1 TD) filled in admirably in the backfield.
“Q has the quickness while AK (Anakin) has the thunder,” Lara said. “Sone has both of those traits.”
The Saints coaching staff was also worried about the team’s adjustment to a 3 p.m. start and Lara thought the team did “okay.”
After senior Tyler Henry intercepted a pass, Saints 275-pound senior lineman Eric Suluai ran over a defender on his way to a four-yard rushing touchdown as St. Anthony took a 7-0 lead with 3 minutes, 44 seconds remaining in the first.
Lara said the play call was to get his lineman “excited” and Suluai had a big grin on his face after the touchdown.
Mary Star tied the game at seven on a 38-yard passing touchdown from sophomore Santiago Martinez to senior wide receiver Leo Schröeder later in the quarter.
Early in the second, Saints senior quarterback Conor Hochberg connected with Claybrook on fourth down for a 14-yard touchdown. Hochberg scored on a five-yard read option with under a minute left in the half to give St. Anthony a 22-7 lead but senior Steven Ceniceros returned the ensuing kickoff 85 yards for a Stars touchdown.
Henry had a 64-yard touchdown reception on 3rd and 25 early in the third and Claybrook had a one-yard touchdown run as the Saints controlled the game in the second half.
The Saints are at Salesian next Thursday.