Carteret spoils Dorsey’s debut
CARTERET—Early mistakes proved costly for St. Joseph Academy’s football team, as host Carteret spoiled the debut of Wildcats first-year coach Ron Dorsey, handing St. Joe a 42-12 loss on August 25.
Dorsey replaced longtime St. Joseph coach Paul Sacco following last season, and is leading a team that is young and rebuilding.
“You can tell we’re inexperienced, but I’m proud of how the kids played,” Dorsey said.
St. Joseph’s roster lists just 28 players, including 19 who are either freshmen or sophomores. The Wildcats youth and inexperience was on display against a strong Carteret team that was able to move the ball effectively early in the game and force several St. Joe miscues.
Freshman quarterback Antony Salamone was intercepted three times in the first half, with two of the picks returned for touchdowns. Add in a blocked punt that was recovered in the end zone by the Ramblers and it’s easy to see why the final score was so one-sided.
“Everything went wrong for us early. The first half was rough,” Dorsey said.
The mistakes were magnified by the Wildcats inability to move the ball in the first two quarters. St. Joe gained just 39 yards in the first half and did not move the ball past midfield.
A big play came just before halftime, when Salamone hit Shane Reed for a 12-yard completion that put the ball at midfield.
Reed, a junior transfer from Buena, caught four passes for 80 yards in the game.
“Shane’s a leader and he did some awesome things for us tonight,” Dorsey said.
Trailing 42-0 at halftime, St. Joe played much better football in the second half against mostly Carteret second-team players.
The Wildcats advanced the ball on the ground and through the air and scored a pair of touchdowns while keeping Carteret off the scoreboard.
Salamone hit Reed on a 13-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter to put the Wildcats on the board, and later he ran around the right side for a 6-yard touchdown of his own.
“Anthony Salamone, just first game as a freshman, kept his head and had a good second half,” Dorsey said.
“After the game, I told him, ‘It’s over, just learn from it.’ He’s a young kid and he’ll get better,” Dorsey said.
Playing from behind the whole game, St. Joe remained enthusiastic for four quarters and never stopped giving a strong effort.
“I’m really proud of the kids, the way they came out in the second half, and didn’t hang their heads. We said in the locker room to win the second half and we did,” Dorsey said.
Jahad Thompson had two long touchdown runs for Carteret in the game, while Jakir Thomas added a scoring run in the first quarter.
The Ramblers scored on their first three possessions to grab a 21-0 lead, then went ahead 28-0 when Jordan Muniz recovered a blocked punt in the end zone.
An 80-yard interception return from Eric Thompson and Hezekiah Ragland’s 40-yard interception return capped the scoring for Carteret.
It was a rough debut for Dorsey, who looked for the positives in the loss.
“We’re going to move forward and fix things,” he said.
“The thing I’m most proud of is I’m looking at our sideline [after the game] and the kids are hugging and stuff, picking each other up. That’s what we’re building. We’ll take out lumps this year, but we’re gonna coach them up and not give up on them,” he said.
St. Joseph faces one of the more challenging schedules in the region this year, so Dorsey knows there may be more days ahead like last week’s season opener.
“We have a lot of work to do. We’ll come back out this week and fix things. We made some mistakes, but I’m proud of these guys. They gave everything they had and that’s all I can ask for as a coach,” Dorsey said.
St. Joseph visits St. Augustine Prep on September 1 at 6 p.m. The Hermits are one of the top-ranked teams in southern New Jersey and Dorsey knows it will be another tough test for his young team.
“It’s a challenge, but we’ll be ready. Every game is going to be hard for us, but we’re just gonna get better,” Dorsey said.