They scored early and they scored often.
With three minutes still remaining in the opening quarter, the Fighting Irish had already hung 21 unanswered points on Sylva Bay and looked to strike again.
St. Joseph’s control was so evident from the start that one official even joked as he jogged down the sideline following Jerrian King’s 45-yard touchdown reception.
“It’s going to be an early night,” he said.
It was no laughing matter, however, for the Sylva Bay’s defense as they looked for answers to slow down St. Joe’s offense.
That scoring frenzy was sparked by the return of starting quarterback, Mekhi Norris.
The senior signal caller had been sidelined, due to injury, since the third game of the season.
Head coach John Baker was quick to point out what having Norris on the field adds to his team.
“Having Mekhi back just gives us another weapon on the field,” said Baker.
Norris didn’t show many signs of rust after suiting up for the first time in weeks.
He picked up right where he left off, accounting for 3 touchdowns and over 200 yards of total offense.
“Mekhi is just different. I was so glad to see him back,” said Jerrian King.
Norris led his team to a 35-0 lead headed into intermission.
Baker opted to sit him out for the second half with the team holding a commanding lead.
King would score the only points for St. Joseph in the second half.
Minutes after his interception returned for a touchdown was called back, he found another way to reach paydirt when he returned a punt 75 yards to give the defending champions a 42-0 lead.
“I was about to fair catch it but God just told me to take it. I had a lot of lead blockers and I just followed my lead blocks all the way down,” said King.
Baker didn’t mince words when he was asked about King’s contributions.
“He played lights out. He’s a really good ball player. He is special and very young, just a sophomore,” Baker said. “He’s got a lot to learn but he’s getting better every week.”
The Fighting Irish’s stingy defense, giving up an average of just 3.5 points a game so far this postseason, finished the deal and cruised to a 42-7 win.
St. Joseph will travel to undefeated Carroll Academy for the third round of the playoffs next week as they continue the quest to defend their title.