By Larry Moko
There was no stopping Ethan Monaghan when he heard the shrill sound coming from the scoreboard.
A free safety for the St. Thomas More Knights, Monaghan had just intercepted a pass thrown by Bishop Ryan Celtics quarterback Nathaniel Krbavac and the warning noise as time expired meant it would be the final play before half time intermission.
“I caught it and heard the horn go off, so I knew I had to turn on the jets,” Monaghan said of his 75-yard return for a Pick Six.
That score – and one other touchdown by Monaghan — helped More defeat the visiting Celtics 32-6 Friday in the opening game of the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic senior high school football season.
Just 13 seconds earlier, Monaghan capped the Knights final offensive drive of the first half by going up from his wide receiver position to haul in a nine-yard TD pass from quarterback Evan Hillock.
“Ethan is an absolute leader,” More coach Claudio Silvestri said. “He’s a playmaker. He sets the tone. We go off his vibe. He made plays again today that turned the momentum around.”
Bishop Ryan, which trailed 19-0 at the half, cut the margin to 13 points on an impressive up-tempo drive early in the third quarter. Krbavac connected with Andrew Rees on a 19-yard pass to account for the score.
More replied, however, with two more major scores in the fourth quarter – a 48-yard pass play from Hillock to Janeil Gordon and a 63-yard run by Jawaun Smith.
Anthony Venerri booted a 23-yard field goal and three converts for More. The Celtics also conceded a safety touch to round out the scoring.
“I’m extremely happy with the way the boys performed today,” Celtics coach Darren Maludzinski said. “We fought hard.
“We have a lot of really good athletes. We just have to come together as a team. That’s the key.”
Silvestri’s Knights are seeking their fourth consecutive league title.
“We knew we would have our hands full with a very talented BR team,” Silvestri said. “It was a good stepping stone for our first game.
“We’re proud of the way our defence played. We’re happy to hold them to six points.”
Monaghan said he knew the Celtics would attempt a deep pass to end the first half so he dropped back to be in better position. “I was yelling at one of our corners telling him that it (the pass) was mine, don’t go for it.
“We have a lot of returning fifth years this year. It’s one of the biggest returning classes ever in St. Thomas More history.”
Elsewhere, the St. Jean de Brebeuf Braves topped the St. Mary Crusaders 28-12, and the Cardinal Newman Cardinals defeated the Bishop Tonnos Titans, 34-10.
Source: Marnie Jadon