But the St. Paul football team’s offensive efficiency on Saturday was eye-popping.
The Flyers offense ran 19 plays in the first half of a Firelands Conference game against visiting South Central.
And the Division VII No. 2-ranked Flyers (8-0, 5-0 FC) totaled 382 yards and six touchdowns in just 4 minutes and 39 seconds — and returned the opening kickoff for a TD in 13 seconds in a 56-0 win over the Trojans (3-5, 2-3).
Seven touchdowns in under five minutes. But perhaps more important, the Flyers were looking to respond from not playing their sharpest in a 31-20 win at Mapleton — a game that saw them trail for the first time this season last week.
“It wasn’t our best performance (last week), but the kids rebounded well and played great tonight, and we’re real proud of them,” St. Paul coach John Livengood said.
Noah Good fielded the opening kickoff at the 15-yard line, and followed several blockers before getting free up the left sideline for an 85-yard TD return just 13 seconds into the game.
The first of seven Joey Catalano PATs had the Flyers off and running at 7-0.
The Trojans then fumbled on their fifth offensive play, and it was recovered at the South Central 19 by Luke Nickoli.
It took just two plays, as Thane Crabbs covered the 19 yards for a touchdown with 9:21 left in the first quarter for a 14-0 lead.
After a three-and-out by South Central, the Flyers got the ball back and scored in three plays — capped by a 42-yard TD run by Cam Caizzo at the 6:27 mark of the opening quarter.
South Central then put together a nice drive, but fumbled it away at the St. Paul 15.
It only took three plays to cover 85 yards, as Lukasko connected with Catalano for a 73-yard pass and catch for a TD and a 28-0 lead with still 1:03 left in the first quarter.
“You give up the opening kickoff and then fumble right away back to them — and obviously you cannot do that against them,” South Central coach Corey Fickiesen said. “They are ranked second in the state and if they continue the way they are going, they’re probably going to make a strong run at it.
“That’s just a very good, well-coached team that you can’t make mistakes against,” he added. “Because you’re putting yourself in a hole against a team that is hard to battle back against. But our guys continued to fight and never gave up on us, so I’m proud of them for that.”
In the second quarter, the Trojans were punting out of their own end zone and the Flyers got the ball at the SC 29. Lukasko connected with Paul Pearce for 22 yards, and on the next play Good scored on a 7-yard run for a 35-0 lead with 10:59 left in the half.
South Central again put together a nice drive, running 16-play drive that reached the St. Paul red zone. However, after a touchdown was wiped off the scoreboard on a chop block penalty, St. Paul’s Kurt Maxwell intercepted an Evan Legg pass at the 4.
It took just six plays to cover 96 yards, with Good breaking free for a 46-yard TD run and a 42-0 lead with 4:15 left in the second. Caizzo capped another scoring drive on a 55-yard TD with 45 seconds left in the half for a 49-0 lead.
The longest St. Paul had the ball in the first half was for 1:51, while the other six possessions ranged from 12-to-53 seconds each.
“The kids came out and played very well from the start,” Livengood said. “Nick threw the ball well and the backs ran real hard and the line blocked well. The defense did another nice job and we got solid special teams with a great start from Noah on the kickoff. He got through pretty clean on that with some nice blocking. Just a good performance all the way around.”
The St. Paul backups put together a 16-play, 73-yard scoring drive in the third quarter that took exactly 10 minutes off the running clock. Brandon Saldusky scored from two yards out, while Jake Griffin added the extra point.
South Central, which hasn’t beat St. Paul since 1990 (28 straight) and hasn’t won in Norwalk since Oct. 2, 1982 — was led by Legg with 199 yards on 18-of-32 pass attempts.
Ben Lamoreaux caught eight passes for 72 yards, while Josiah Wright had four catches for 66 yards and Curtis Fredericks had three catches for 31 yards.
The pass-heavy Trojans came one week after All-Ohio Mapleton QB Logan Pharmer was solid against the Flyers.
Lukasko was 5-of-6 passing for 152 yards and a TD, with Catalano catching two passes for 96 yards and Pearce adding two for 45 yards. Caizzo ran three times for 100 yards and 2 TDs, with Good adding 66 yards and 2 TDs on four attempts. Crabs added 55 yards and a TD on six attempts.
Facts and figures
The win was the 37th straight in FC games for St. Paul, while its regular season streak extends to 25.
It also marked the 27th straight win over the Trojans, dating back to South Central’s 13-6 win in 1990.
South Central hasn’t won a game in Norwalk against the Flyers since Oct. 2, 1982, a 16-0 win in Week 5 of that season. That spans 17 straight setbacks at St. Paul.
“It’s difficult, but we continue to talk to our kids about culture change, and it’s not going to happen in eight games or in one season,” Fickiesen said. “We do have a lot of guys out right now but we can’t continue to use that.
“Other guys have to step up and keep playing and continue to battle that culture change,” he added. “The goal is to eventually be where St. Paul is at right now. That’s where we want to be.”