St. Joe’s takes care of Don Bosco by Greg Mattura of The Record
RAMSEY – St. Joseph’s defense was, without question, the star of the show.
Senior defensive back Connor Grieco returned an interception for a touchdown and the Green Knights shut down Don Bosco Prep, 31-10, Friday night in the Super Football Conference United Red Division.
Grieco returned his pickoff 52 yards for a score to give St. Joseph, ranked No. 3 in the USA TODAY NETWORK New Jersey Top 20, a 17-0 lead in the second quarter over No. 14 Don Bosco.
Green Knights senior quarterback Michael Alaimo threw TD passes of 5 and 29 yards to senior receiver Gavin Sharkey. Sophomore running back Audric Estime scored on a 61-yard run early in the fourth for a 24-10 lead.
Continue reading below the photo gallery
What it means
St. Joseph (5-2) should remain no worse than No. 3 in the USA TODAY NETWORK New Jersey Top 20 and remain in contention with St. Peter’s and Bergen Catholic for the United Red Division title. Don Bosco (3-4) likely will depart the statewide Top 20.
DARREN COOPER: Sharkey and St. Joseph set for big October run
Grieco’s interception return for a TD midway through the second quarter provided the 17-0 lead. On a second-and-10 at the 28-yard line, Grieco made the pickoff near the St. Joseph sideline, cut across the field, and scored on the Don Bosco sideline.
“We really didn’t rehearse that, and coach always says to go to the side where the guys are blocking,” Grieco said. “But I saw an opening on that side and I just took that.”
“Any time you score on defense, your chances rise exponentially,” St. Joseph coach Augie Hoffmann said. “You get a turnover on defense, your chances go up – and when you score on defense, you’ve got a tremendous chance to win the game.”
By the numbers
► Junior quarterback Michael Alaimo completed his first six passes and finished 8-of-14 for 99 yards, two scores and no interceptions.
► St. Joseph vs. Don Bosco featured arguably two of North Jersey’s top kickers and senior Angelo Guglielmello opened the scoring in the first quarter for the Green Knights with a 32-yard field goal.
► Don Bosco pulled within 17-3 with 1:09 left in the second quarter on a 31-yard field goal by Guy Fava and cut the deficit to 17-10 with 13 seconds left in the third on senior quarterback Jake Tarentino’s 18-yard TD pass to senior receiver Christian Dremel.
Give it to the defensive line, which showed three- and four-man fronts and slowed Don Bosco’s running game: seniors Howard Cross, Eric Stoeckel, Smith Vilbert, Justin Malvasia, and junior Amin Vanover.
“Our mentality was just there,” said Vilbert, also a starter on the Green Knights’ basketball team. “We just wanted this badly.”
“Our defensive front is as good as we’ve ever had,” said Hoffmann, a St. Joseph graduate. He added, “We have the ability to do a lot of things with those boys because they’re so versatile.”
St. Joseph defeats Don Bosco, 31-10, on Oct. 12. Greg Mattura, Staff Writer, @gregmattura
They said it
“We had to come out and play well tonight,” said Hoffmann, whose Green Knights were coming off Saturday’s 24-20 home loss to Bergen Catholic that dropped them from the No. 1 ranking. “I think for the most part we put a complete game together. We sputtered a little bit offensively in spots. The defense played awesome. We had one series where we had a breakdown, but overall I thought we played well tonight.”
► Don Bosco plays Friday at DePaul.
► St. Joseph hosts Seton Hall Prep on Saturday.