BEAR – St. Elizabeth overcame nerves and inexperience, particularly in a shaky first quarter, getting three rushing touchdowns from Thomas Mosley Jr. on the way to a 41-6 win over Christiana in the 302 Sports/Buffalo Wild Wings Kickoff Classic. The game was played at St. Elizabeth’s home for the 2019 season, Bob Peoples Stadium at Caravel Academy.
Neither set of Vikings – the nickname of both Christiana and St. E’s – could do much on offense in the first quarter, but it was not an uneventful opening 12 minutes. St. Elizabeth, with a number of players in their first high school action, fumbled three times in the first quarter, losing two of them. Christiana was knocking at the door a few times with great field position, but they also were hurt by penalties and a lost fumble, and they turned the ball over twice on downs.
The St. Elizabeth Vikings finally got things going in the right direction after taking over at their own 31 with 2:41 left in the first. They got some help when Christiana was flagged for pass interference on an incomplete pass on third down, earning a first down at their own 49. Mosley ran up the middle for 26 yards. The team drove to the 2-yard line, but a fumble on third down set up a fourth and goal from the 4 early in the second quarter. Mosley barreled in off right tackle to break the scoreless tie with 10:40 on the clock.
A short punt from Christiana on the next possession set St. E’s up at the opponent’s 33, and Mosley went to work again. He ran 24 yards to set his team up at the Christiana 4, and on the next snap he went up the middle for another 4-yard score. The point after kick was blocked, and St. Elizabeth led, 13-0.
Christiana struck back in quick fashion. From their own 39, freshman Nyzair Love sent a screen pass to Zaid Barnes, who ducked and dashed and spun his way through the defense and downfield for a 61-yard touchdown. The point after was no good.
“As soon as they broke that touchdown on us, that set the trigger off. We just wanted to get back at them. We just had to knuckle up and get in there and start making plays,” said Luke Schiavoni, who was among St. Elizabeth’s leading tacklers.
The Vikings settled down after the half and added two touchdowns in both the third and the fourth quarter. Mosley struck for the hat trick on his team’s first opportunity of the second half, blazing a trail around the right end for a 38-yard score. The senior transfer said the big first game “felt real good. I want to thank my linemen. My linemen were amazing. It was a beautiful job tonight.”
Before the quarter ended, C.J. Small would connect with Alex Rollo for his first touchdown pass as a high school player. The third ended with St. E on top, 27-6.
Schiavoni was happy to see Small connect on a few passes.
“I don’t blame him for being nervous,” Schiavoni said. “He’s basically in his freshman year. For him to come out and play quarterback, a position where you have to think much more than most other positions, and you’re under pressure a lot, too, I think he had a pretty good game. He got all the jitters out after the first quarter.”
A pair of freshmen added their first high school scoring plays in the fourth quarter. Quasim Benson finished a drive with a one-yard plunge, completing a drive that included passes of 13 and 15 yards from Small. And with 2:41 to go, Ethen Gunter took it in from three yards out.
Mosley said the slow start wasn’t a total surprise. “Nerves, new kids playing. We have a lot of young guys on our offense. So we just took a little bit to go flow, and everything just flowed with it.”
Mosley finished with 154 yards on the ground as St. Elizabeth improved to 1-0. The Vikings are back at Caravel on Sept. 14 at 7:30 p.m. to host Saint Mark’s.
Christiana, playing under first-year coach Mike Kinlaw, fell to 0-1. They are off until next Friday, when they travel to A.I. duPont for a 6 p.m. kickoff.