STM captures big win in senior football

STM captures big win in senior football
Posted on 10/16/2023
STM football player

By Larry Moko

The St. Thomas More Knights never looked back after striking for a long touchdown on their first play from scrimmage.

The visitors from More opened the scoring with a 95-yard pass-and-run TD en route to a 38-0 victory over the St. Jean de Brébeuf Braves Friday.

That outcome improves the Knights Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic senior high school football record to 3-1, while the Braves slipped to 2-2.

Taking the first snap from centre, quarterback Avery Belgrave dropped back and heaved a deep ball to an open Anthony Benjamin who, after making the grab broke a couple of tackles on his way to the end zone.

“We talked about that play at practice,” Benjamin said. “We ran it a couple of times and practised our timing on it.”

It’s not often in football that a team attempts a long bomb the first time it touches the ball. “Traditionally, we are a run team,” More coach Claudio Silvestri explained. “Brebeuf is big and strong on defence, so if you can get a pass like that under your belt, hopefully, it will draw them back a little.”

Later in the contest Belgrave tossed a deep pass to the other Knights wide receiver – Christian Chukwuali – for 47 yards.

“(Chukwuali) is a defensive end and a wide out,” Silvestri said. “That’s a nice combination. He’s an athletic kid.”

On defence, Chukwuali was a force in rushing Brébeuf quarterback Michael Caprio, who was sacked six times.

“Six sacks is phenomenal,” the Knights coach said.

Another standout for More was running back Lamar Johnson. He rushed for three touchdowns, covering 22, one and 12 yards.

“Lamar is a lunch-bucket guy who runs hard and plays hard,” Silvestri said.

Other ball carriers for More’s attack included Emmanuel Okali, Giacomo Pugliese, Jeremy Lemieux and Belgrave.

More increased its lead to 28 points just before the half when Carter Susi recovered a fumbled punt and returned it 20 yards for a major.

Kicker Adrian Klindzic- Dovial rounded out the scoring with a 25-yard field goal and five converts.

The Knights defence also blocked a punt and intercepted a pass.

Belgrave, an outfielder in baseball, had never played quarterback until this year. Previously, in junior high school football, his position was linebacker.

“He’s improving every practice and has worked incredibly hard,” Silvestri said. “He’s a bright young man. He impresses every day.”

Benjamin also played safety and returned several punts for big gains to put More in position to score.

“He’s fast and he jumps really high,” Belgrave said of Benjamin’s pass-catching skills. “He’s strong defensively, too. He’s a big part of this team.”

The regular-season victory also earned More the Maroon and Black Bowl trophy. Each year since 2010 the two Mountain schools have competed against each other for the honour. Brébeuf’s lone win came in 2013.

In other action Friday, the Bishop Tonnos Titans remained the league’s only unbeaten team with a 45-0 decision over the Cathedral Gaels and the St. John Henry Newman Cardinals topped the Bishop Ryan Celtics, 37-0.

The Cardinals and Knights currently share second place with 3-1 records.

STM football playerSTM football playerSJB football playerSTM and SJB football players
Photos by Bob Butrym/RFB Sport Photography

For more photos, please visit our Athletic Facebook Page.