WESTWOOD, Mass. -- In the Catholic Conference and season opener for Xaverian and Malden Catholic, the host Hawks did what they were expected to do, and that’s win in convincing fashion, 28-0.
What came as the surprise was that it wasn’t the dynamic backfield duo of seniors Joe Colton and Chris Tamasi that did most of the damage for the Hawks. Instead, junior quarterback Chris Calvanese was the star, rushing for 127 yards and two touchdowns on six carries, while going 9-of-9 through the air for 101 yards and a touchdown.
Here are a few quick observations from Saturday’s action in Westwood:
Calvanese was accurate when he threw, but the aspect of his game that really jumps out at you is his running ability. When he turns the corner, forget about it. Xaverian coach Charlie Stevenson loves to run the option, and teams will be forced to respect Calvanese on it just as much as they will have to respect the pitch to Colton. At this early stage, it looks like Calvanese has picked up right where last year’s starter, Alex Phelan, left off.
As well as the Xaverian offense played at times (the Hawks kept it very vanilla on that side of the ball), the defense may have been even more impressive. The Hawks fly to the ball and have one of the fastest defenses in the state. Tamasi at linebacker was all over the field, as was middle linebacker Zach Bartlett. Defensive end Kevin Ihlefeld was in the backfield on nearly every snap. Malden Catholic finished with just 106 total yards and you get the feeling this isn’t going to be Xaverian’s last shutout.
Malden Catholic struggled, but the Lancers were more competitive this year against the Hawks than they were a year ago at this time. Defensive end Will Guinee and linebacker Rudy Favard were both extremely active in the Lancers’ 3-3 stack alignment. Offensively, Malden Catholic has gone to a spread look on offense and didn’t have much success against the speedy Hawk defense. But when the Lancers did make plays there, they were mostly through senior Matt Heriveaux, who led the team with a combined 72 yards rushing and receiving.