After suffering their first loss in 27 games a week ago, the St. Joseph Catholic School football team came out flat in their home game with North Delta School Friday night.
Then, in a 90-yard flash by senior Omar Emmons, the Irish started looking like their old selves as they went on to win 32-7. .
Emmons’ touchdown run tied the game at 7-7 with 2:41 seconds left until halftime. It was the first of a number of big plays by St. Joe (4-1) that would eventually all but put the game on ice midway through the third quarter.
St. Joseph coach John Baker attributed Emmons’ score and the rest of his team’s improvement to his players listening better to the instruction of his coaching staff.
“We came out in the first quarter and we weren’t blocking right,” St. Joseph coach John Baker said. “I saw that if we just seal the block on the end, and the running back cuts it into the six hole, it was going to be a touchdown. All we have to do is get the outside linebacker blocked.”
Said Emmons, “My team needed a spark, and we got it with that big run. I saw the open field, and all I had to do was keep running hard.”
Emmons finished the game with three touchdown runs and 156 yards rushing on 13 carries.
An 82-yard interception return by Jerrian King put the Irish up 13-7 with 1:29 left in the second quarter. King would score again on an 85-yard touchdown after receiving a screen pass from quarterback C.J. Moore and then racing around and past a number of North Delta defenders.
After starting quarterback Mekhi Norris broke his collarbone against Greenville Christian School last Friday, Moore and Emmons both played quarterback for St. Joseph Friday night. Norris is expected to be back on the field in a little more than a month.
Moore, a sophomore, is the brother of former St. Joseph football stars Bryce Johnson and Dillon Johnson, who are both now playing at the Division 1 level.
“It was fun getting to play quarterback tonight, but I don’t really care where I play,” C.J. Moore said. “My brothers gave me some great advise before the game, and they told me that I just need to be myself.”
Coach Baker said both Emmons and Moore did some good things behind center Friday night.
“We are going to let it work itself out,” Baker said. “Omar and C.J. both do different things well.”
Baker added he was especially pleased with the play of his defense. After allowing a Green Wave touchdown in the first quarter, the Fighting Irish defense did not allow North Delta’s QB Ryan Gibson much time to do damage the rest of the game.
St. Joe senior Tyler Beckworth set up the Irish’s first score in the third quarter by taking the ball right out of the hands of Gibson and returning the ball to the North Delta 16-yard line.
The Irish will look to move their record to 5-1 when they travel to Central Hinds Academy next week.
“We showed a little character tonight,” said Baker. “I was worried about where our heads would be, but our defense stepped up. Hats off to them. They played hard, and once we got a few things fixed we were there.”