– When Salesianum has success running between the tackles, it sets the table for big plays all over the field.
Griffin Salvo scored on two reverses, and Garrett Cannon faked into the line and threw a beautiful touchdown pass to Jeremy Ryan as the Sals pulled away for a 34-8 road victory over Concord on Saturday.
“That’s what we want to do,” Sallies coach Bill DiNardo said. “With our offense, we want to run the ball and we want to do some play action. When we do things right, the play action can be very effective.”
The second-ranked Sals (5-1) rushed 41 times for 261 yards, with linemen Randy Sinnott, Zeb Wright, Sean Keating, Devin Schofield and Daniel Aguilera and tight ends Kyle Cathers and Josh Patrick paving the way up front.
Standout running back Colby Reeder had 13 carries for 90 yards when he left the game with what appeared to be an ankle injury with 2:05 remaining in the first half. Reeder did not return, but the Sals were ahead 20-0 at the time.
“He’s sore, but he should be OK,” DiNardo said of his 6-foot-4, 225-pound senior. “… I’m not really sure of the extent of everything, but I do expect him to come back.”
The Sals didn’t get untracked until their third drive, which Reeder started with a 56-yard burst to the Raiders 33. Cannon broke three tackles to convert a fourth-and-11 with a 12-yard run, and Reeder took it in from the 2 for a 7-0 lead.
Sallies forced a punt, and with seventh-ranked Concord (4-2) loading up to stop the run Cannon faked a handoff and found Ryan deep over the middle for a 44-yard touchdown.
“We came out with the play action, and it worked beautifully,” Cannon said. “Jeremy made a great catch, and my linemen gave me great time. It just worked to perfection.”
Concord reached the Sals 34 on its next drive before turning it over on downs. Cannon scrambled before finding Cathers for a 29-yard gain, and Sallies caught the Raiders off guard with a reverse. Salvo took it 46 yards for a 20-0 lead with 4:38 left in the first half.
“The line gave me plenty of space to run, and I just made the one man miss,” Salvo said. “That’s all I needed to do.”
Mitchell Sgro intercepted two passes for the Sals in the second half, returning the second one 77 yards down the Sallies sideline for a touchdown. The Sals’ final points came on another reverse from Salvo, this one covering 17 yards.
Salesianum outgained Concord 375-174, including a 269-24 advantage in the first half. The Raiders’ Brandon Dennis broke a 53-yard run in the fourth quarter and scored his team’s only touchdown on a 4-yard run with 7:07 to play.
“We weren’t as consistent as I would have liked, but I was thrilled with our big plays,” DiNardo said. “I thought our defense just did a fantastic job. I think we’re really turning the corner and playing downhill football.”
Contact Brad Myers at [email protected] Follow on Twitter: @BradMyersTNJ