By ALEX SPONSELLER The defending state champion Bishop Hendricken football team came out strong in its season opener, cruising past visiting Burrillville 42-7 to get its title defense off on the right foot. The Hawks offense will have a new look this
By ALEX SPONSELLER The defending state champion Bishop Hendricken football team came out strong in its season opener, cruising past visiting Burrillville 42-7 to get its title defense off on the right foot.
The Hawks offense will have a new look this season, as former starting quarterback Tom Comella and starting receiver Angel Sanchez have since graduated.
New signal caller Zach Lavergne got off to a stellar start in his debut, tossing three touchdown passes while rushing for another.
“It’s always good to get that first one under the belt. Zach looked good and I think he’ll continue to improve as the weeks go on. Like any team, your offense will start to click with more time together and more reps. Scheme-wize we’ll look pretty similar, but we know that we’re going to have to play to our strengths. Losing (Tom Comella and Angel Sanchez), guys that were three-year starters for us, it will be different. We’ll spread it out a little bit more, the guys coming up behind them are hungry to earn roles and have some experience so we’ll be ready,” said Hendricken head coach Keith Croft.
Andres Andujar, Peter Bibby and Andrew Picard hauled in touchdown catches for Hendricken, while Shyne Fernandes added a pair of rushing scores in the win.
The leadup up to the contest was messy, as Portsmouth, Hendricken’s original opponent, was forced to drop out of the contest with less than a week until kickoff. The Broncos took the open spot at the last minute which forced the Hawks to adjust on the fly.
“We were as prepared as we could be. It’s tough without film this year and especially with the change, but it is the same for everybody. It’s the world we live in today, things are going to change each week, teams will have to drop out, but you just have to do the best you can,” said Croft.
The Hendricken defense was stout in the win, only allowing one score. However, the Hawks will have their hands full replacing defensive end Jason Onye, who’s availability this season is in doubt due to a lower body injury.
“Anytime you lose a kid that’s going to Notre Dame on a full football scholarship, that’s a huge loss. There’s no way of sugarcoating that. If there is anything good that comes of that, it is that it gives other kids a chance to get some playing time, we have some depth,” said Croft, who is thankful to have consistency in his program as the team gets set for the unusual season. “Stability has been one of the integral parts of our success over the past 10 or 11 years. This year has been different, though. The things that we normally do have changed. Just like education, you need to make changes based on what the customers need and that’s what we’re trying to do.”
The Hawks will next square off against fellow Division I powerhouse North Kingstown on Saturday. The two teams have had some thrilling battles over the past two seasons, and Croft is expecting no different this time around.
“They’re legit. They’re as good as any team we’ve played,” Croft said. “They’ve got all the pieces, they have a high-caliber quarterback, their receivers are phenomenal. They’ve given us everything that we can handle the past few seasons so it will be a huge challenge for us.”