Head coach Tod Creneti has seen his fair share of wins and losses during six-plus seasons at the helm of a growing Saint Stephen’s football program.
But a home victory under the lights at Turner Field on Thursday proved to be one of the sweetest for the coach, as the Falcons rolled over Sunshine State Athletic Conference rival Out-of-Door Academy (2-1, 1-1 SSAC) consistently through all four quarters of play. With high synergy on offense, Saint Stephen’s (3-0, 2-0) topped the Thunder 61-7.
With two undefeated teams racing for the top spot in the Coral Bay Division standings, it was an all-or-nothing scenario for both programs.
“We’re undefeated in the conference, and if they would’ve won tonight, there was no way we could finish higher than second,” Creneti said. “That’s what made this game so important — they had the head-to-head with us and the worst they could finish was third.”
The matchup was also a career highlight for Creneti. In 2011 — his first season as Falcons coach – he lost handily to ODA 55-0 as he worked to build a fledgling team.
“This is unusual for us to get up this big, and this fast in a game,” Creneti said. “While we scored 61 points, we still turned the ball over twice in the first half … we still have to play a little more clean.”
Senior Demetrius Davis bolstered Saint Stephen’s energy at the outset, returning the opening kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown, and quarterback Fred Billy was able to connect with running back Sydney Brown to puncture the Thunder’s defense.
Gus Mahler provided the only points for ODA, scoring on a 65-yard run against a physical Saint Stephen’s defense.
The Falcons were so dominant in the first half that a running clock was used for the final two quarters.
“We had great blocking from the offensive line, and wide receivers were on point,” said Fred Billy, who was dubbed MVP of the game, earning the Mill/Sandler Trophy. “It’s scary when all four of us bust in the first half.”
Billy ended play with two touchdowns, with seniors Sydney Brown and Chase Brown both tabbing two as well. Demetrius Davis notched a pair of touchdowns in the second half, and freshman DJ Clark also had a touchdown.
Saint Stephen’s moves on to play Fort Myers Gateway Charter in its homecoming game Oct. 6, with ODA facing Shorecrest Prep on Oct. 6.
Creneti accepted the Headmaster’s Cup after the game, given to the winner of the rivalry each year.