MILLVILLE - Kris Raso made a tackle for a loss on St. Augustine Prep's first defensive play Friday night.
John Barillo ran for a touchdown on the Hermits' first offensive play.
Things only got better for the St. Augustine football team from there.
Barillo carried 37 times for 242 yards and three touchdowns as the Hermits got their first win of the season, 38-23, over Millville in a Cape-Atlantic League American Division game.
St. Augustine (1-6) took advantage of six Millville turnovers.
"The kids deserve it," Hermits coach Dennis Scuderi said. "We lost some tough games this year. When you're 0-6, it's easy to pack it in, and they didn't quit. Hopefully, we can get a couple more."
St. Augustine was a combined 19-2 in 2008-09. But several standouts from those teams graduated. The Hermits squandered second-half leads in losses to Atlantic City, Vineland and Mainland Regional this season.
"It's been very frustrating," said Raso, who lives in Brigantine. "It's a different feeling and it kind of stinks, this being my senior year. But it feels good to get one up there."
Atlantic City, which plays at Hammonton at noon today, benefited from St. Augustine's win. The Vikings clinched the division title with Millville's defeat.
The loss also hurts Millville's South Jersey Group IV playoff hopes. The Thunderbolts (4-3) brought a three-game winning streak into Friday night.
"We did a lot of things poorly," Millville coach Jason Durham said. "Our concentration level didn't seem good. The mistakes were many, whether it was fumbled snaps or missed assignments. We did not play well at all. It's a setback."
Millville struggled from the start, especially on offense. The Thunderbolts could not block Raso. The linebacker made eight tackles for losses. Defensive lineman Andrew Baumgardner had two sacks. Barillo and Kyle Kunz recovered fumbles.
Millville finished with just 14 rushing yards.
"We knew Millville had a lot of speed," Raso said. "We just wanted to stay home in our positions, wrap up (tackles) and get 11 helmets to the ball."
The Hermits took the lead three minutes into the game.
Millville snapped the ball over its punter's head on its first possession. Raso tackled the punter at the Thunderbolts' 12-yard line. Barillo scored on the next play to make it 7-0 with 9 minutes, 5 seconds left in the quarter.
Barillo broke through the Millville defensive line for gains of 12, 23, 11 and 28 yards. His 4-yard touchdown run put the Hermits up 14-0 with 3:08 left in the opening quarter.
"Our line put it all together," Barillo said. "They opened up some holes, and I did the rest. We took them out of the game with those runs. We hit them early."
The Hermits led 24-7 at halftime. They dominated most of the second half behind the running of Barillo and Raso (11 carries for 84 yards). St. Augustine led 38-7 midway through the fourth quarter.
The Hermits hope their first win helps them build momentum for the rest of the season. St. Augustine hosts undefeated Holy Spirit Friday. Spirit is No. 1 in The Press Elite 11.
"I think this win motivates us to play hard," Raso said. "Our younger kids got a little taste of a win and they can carry the tradition on."
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