SPICER — New London-Spicer looked dominant for stretches of Thursday's season opener against Holy Family Catholic but the Fire came back to life with a strong second half to defeat the Wildcats 32-23.
NLS came out of the gates strong, scoring 16 points in the first quarter and led by as much as 23-7 in the first half. Holy Family running back Nick Hendler took over, though, scampering for runs of 20, 18 and 16 yards to go on a 19-0 scoring run and edge the Wildcats.
NLS defensive lineman Bubba Harlow sacked Holy Family quarterback Jacob Zay for a safety and a 2-0 lead in the first quarter. Sam Stageberg kept the ball rolling with touchdown runs of 18 yards and eight yards for a big first quarter.
Zay, a freewheeling quarterback, tossed a 40-yard pass to Nate Tinnuci to put the Fire on the board in the second quarter. NLS quarterback Brandon Adelman threw three first-half interceptions but he found paydirt with a 25-yard touchdown pass to Nick Perkins in response to Tinnuci's grab.
Zay added a five-yard touchdown run to cut things to 23-13 in the second quarter.
NLS threatened with 1:30 to go in the second quarter following an interception by Stageberg but the Wildcats ended the drive prematurely with an interception of their own in the end zone.
Hendler was a menace in the second half and New London-Spicer couldn't find an answer to the Fire defense.
Full team stats were not provided.
Holy Family 32,
Holy Family (1-0) 0 13 12 7 — 32
New London-Spicer (0-1) 16 7 0 0 — 23
N — Bubba Harlow safety
N — Sam Stageberg 18 run (Payton Madison kick)
N — Stageberg 8 run (Payton Madison kick)
H — Nate Tinucci 40 pass from Jacob Zay (Patrick Mulheran kick)
N — Nick Perkins 25 pass from Brandon Adelman (Madison kick)
H — Zay 5 run (Mulheran kick failed)
H — Nick Hendler 20 run (Mulheran kick failed)
H — Hendler 18 run (Mulheran kick failed)
H — Hendler 16 run (Mulheran kick)
Additional stats not provided