AMBOY – For years the St. Bede Bruins football team has carried the nickname 'The Green Machine' – largely due to the Academy's traditionally stingy defense.
After Saturday's 41-6 dismantling of Amboy-LaMoille, a resumption of Friday's lightning-delayed contest, the Academy football team might just have a new nickname brewing – 'The Brady Bunch.'
Junior quarterback Jack Brady threw for five touchdowns and 230 yards on 11-of-17 passing in his varsity debut – with all of his completions coming in the first half – to fuel the Academy blowout and set the tone for a young Bruins' squad this season.
“I can't really put it in words (how it feels). We've came a long way since this summer and we put everything together tonight. The line did a good job blocking and the defense shut them down,” Brady said. “We just came together for a great night.”
The rookie varsity quarterback said the Bruins were able to keep their focus after the over-24-hour delay.
“It didn't help to get (postponed) last night after getting the momentum going with that first drive. We came back focused today, knowing that it was a whole new ball game,” Brady said.
Brady struck for his first score early in the action Friday night as he hooked up with freshman Braidy Shipp for a 51-yard touchdown just 91 seconds seconds into the contest. Junior kicker Matt Sczezpaniak followed up with an extra point kick – the first of five for him on the evening – to give St. Bede the early 7-0 lead before repeated lightning strikes forced officials to reschedule the remainder of the game to Saturday.
It didn't take long for the Bruins to pick up where they left off when play resumed Saturday as a Justin Shaw interception three plays in set up another scoring strike from Brady. The 29-yard completion was good to Szczepaniak, who followed up with the kick to give St. Bede a 14-0 advantage with 8:16 left in the first.
From there it was all Bruins, led by the arm of Brady on his historic debut.
The junior signal-caller finished off a 10-play, 42-yard drive with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Shaw on the left side to put the Academy up 20-0, still in the first.
Then, early in the second quarter, he hooked up with Shaw again on a 54-yard strike that saw the fleet-footed back scramble for nearly 30 yards after the catch.
Brady had a little more magic left in his arm as he connected with senior Michael Bellino on a seven-yard score to put the Bruins up 34-6 with 41.9 seconds left in the half. The catch was one of three for Bellino in the seven-play, 78-yard scoring drive, which included a circus catch the senior fullback tipped to himself in tight coverage in the middle of the field.
“Jack has worked hard,” said coach Bellino. “He did a real nice job of staying in control of himself and making the right pass.”
“I think it was very important for us to get a big lead and kind of play on cruise control,” said Bellino, who added that the Clippers defensive scheme led to the Bruins' pass-heavy attack.
“They forced us into it (the passing game). When Michael (Bellino) went back there (to fullback) they just brought the house. We said 'Okay, we'll take it.' We took the one-on-one matchups and we were fortunate to be able to do that today.”
Shaw put the finishing touches on the Bruins scoring with an electric 70-yard interception return – his second pick of the game and third touchdown – with 7:35 left in the third quarter.
The versatile junior finished with 76 yards receiving on three catches, and added 58 yards on eight rushes offensively.
“Justin doesn't know how good he can be, and he's only a junior. He's got a lot of talent,” coach Bellino said. “If he gets a little more conditioning and plays a little bit harder, he can be a great one.”
Amboy-LaMoille's lone score came in the second quarter on a three yard run from Jason Bontz that made the score 27-6 after a failed two-point conversion pass. The Clippers suffered from four costly turnovers in the contest, and could never build any substantial momentum.
“They came out and they exploited our weakness. Our pass defense is not very good and they exploited it and took advantage of it and they threw the ball very well,” said Clippers coach Gary Jones.
Chris Yucus can be reached at 220-6995 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsChris.