St. Francis piles up points again

 
By Bill Stone
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 10/12/2019 12:06 AM

St. Francis senior receiver Jake Tangorra was elated, grateful and thankful about scoring 4 touchdowns Friday, but he wasn't surprised.

That's how powerful the Spartans' offense has continued to be this football season.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Tangorra caught all three of junior quarterback Tommy Rittenhouse's touchdown passes and senior Ben Radel had two rushing TDs as the Spartans rolled to a 59-13 Metro Suburban Blue victory at fellow frontrunner Riverside-Brookfield.

The Spartans (6-1, 4-0) have scored at least 40 points in every game.

"It's so fun. I love (our offense) so much," said Tangorra, who doubled his TD total to 8 this season.

"It feels good, obviously. I have to give it to my team. Anyone could have gotten those four touchdowns. All of our receivers are talented. We're all open. It's just who (Rittenhouse) finds first, basically."

St. Francis not only clinched playoff trips in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2013-14. The Spartans also remained tied for first in the division heading into their showdown with IC Catholic Prep (7-0, 4-0) next Friday in Wheaton. ICCP visits R-B (5-2, 2-2) in Week 9.

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"We're excited. It'll be a great game (against ICCP). It's a huge game for the program," St. Francis coach Bob McMillen said.

"We're playing against a good team, a back-to-back-to-back state champion. We want to see where we are and how we compete against the best."

Tangorra had 20-, 59- and 10-yard TD receptions from Rittenhouse, whose 23 TD passes already exceeds his 2018 total of 21.

Radel improved to a team-high 12 TDs overall with his rushing TDs of 14 yards and 57 on the second play from scrimmage in the second quarter to build a 35-6 advantage.

Tangorra's fourth touchdown was an electrifying 91-yard punt return with 9:27 left as he stiff-armed the final defender around the 30.

"This is the first year I've ever done punt returning and that's definitely the longest punt return I've had in my life," Tangorra said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"We want to just play our game (against ICCP. If we) just go out there and do what we've been doing, we should give them a fight."

Perhaps just as impressive was the Spartans' defense, considering the Bulldogs entered Friday scoring at least 25 points in every previous outing and 26 twice.

The R-B offense scored only once in the second quarter after the Spartans opened a 15-0 lead. The Bulldogs had the final score on an 85-yard kickoff return after the Spartans initiated a running clock by virtue of a 40-point lead.

"We have an incredible defensive (coaching) staff, all experienced coaches. And then players who are coachable. We take what we get and go from there," St. Francis senior linebacker Enzo Redina said.

The offense set the tone on its opening possession. The Spartans were pinned by a downed punt at their 1-yard line but responded with an 11-play, 99-yard TD drive with Tangorra scoring on a 20-yard catch.

After two three-and-outs from the defense, the Spartans went 45 yards on three rushes to score again, one on Tyler Bishop's 21-yard reverse and the last two by Radel.

After R-B's first score, the Spartans answered three offensive plays later with Rittenhouse's 59-yard TD strike to Tangorra. Tangorra's 10-yard TD catch came 58.1 seconds before halftime.

St. Francis also got fourth-quarter TDs from Michael D'Orazio's 3-yard run with 11:12 left and backup quarterback Michael Baffa's 65-yard run. Junior Jackson Gerard kicked a 39-yard field goal in the third quarter.

The Bulldogs' TD drive covered 80 yards on eight plays behind two well-designed option passes. Running back Luke Gentile passed to Nic Novak for the 10-yard TD after Gentile two plays earlier took his wide-open reception from receiver Owen Murphy 38 yards to the 5.

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