BUENA VISTA TOWNSHIP - St. Augustine Prep running back Calvin Cass knows at least one thing he's thankful for this holiday season - his offensive line.
Cass, a junior, continued his late-season emergence as a premier running back, rushing for 158 yards and three touchdowns as the Hermits beat Buena Regional 35-7 on Wednesday night.
Buena (2-8) still leads the all-time series 12-9, but the Prep (4-6) has won five straight meetings between the rival schools.
"That's a testament to my line," Cass said of his stats. "That's all it is. It's a testament to my line doing all the things they needed to do and my coaches calling all the right plays at the right time. I just happened to rack up the yards tonight."
He eclipsed the 500-yard plateau for the season Wednesday on a 25-yard touchdown run in the second quarter that gave the Hermits a 14-7 lead.
Not bad for someone who was a wide receiver for the first six weeks of the season.
"I was blessed with the opportunity to get the ball and I was able to make the most of the opportunity," Cass said.
Cass was given the opportunity after starter John Barillo was injured and another player transferred. It also didn't hurt that interim coach Tony Iaconelli, who took over the team six weeks into the season, switched from a one-back system to the I-formation.
"He's talented and he's a good kid," Iaconelli said. "He has had two great weeks and he's a great hope for us in the future."
Iaconelli, who is the school's athletic director, has said a new coach could be named before the end of the calendar year.
"I think we have some talent," Iaconelli said. "I think the next guy in is going to have a shot to get off to a nice start and be competitive and we'll go from there.
"The attitude has been pretty good. They went through some turmoil. They went through things that most high school kids don't go through. It had nothing to do with them and I thought they hung in there. Winning the last two gives them a little momentum for next year and it's good for the seniors to end it that way."
Cass started three games (he missed the Holy Spirit game with an injury) and finished the season with 570 yards.
He picked up 65 of his 158 yards on the first play of the game, scoring almost untouched off center.
"It was fantastic," Cass said. "The line did everything well, everything. All I saw was green in front of me. I just took what my line gave me."
The touchdown came just 17 seconds into the game.
Amazingly, the Hermits took even less time to score in the second half.
Buena kick returner Love'Uan Scott (who rushed for 107 yards and a touchdown Wednesday) misjudged the kick.
He ran back to pick up the ball near his goal line and was instantly mobbed by a host of Prep tacklers, who forced and recovered the football for the touchdown just 13 seconds into the half.
Casual fans in attendance Wednesday may have missed an interesting moment after Cass' final touchdown run, a 48-yarder.
Prep kicker Taylor Hurff made his first four extra points with his right foot. For his fifth, he switched sides and easily made the extra point left-footed.
"In practice one day I was messing around and I hit one lefty so I came out here and figured that we were up and it was my last high school game ever so I might as well try it," Hurff said.
Was Iaconelli aware of the decision to switch feet?
"No," Hurff said quickly with a laugh. "He would not have liked that. I was not going to ask him. …It was awesome. I came off the field laughing."
Contact John O'Kane:
St. Augustine Prep 7 7 7 14-35
Buena Regional 7 0 0 0-7
SA-Cass 65 run (Hurff kick)
BR-Scott 30 run (Norton kick)
SA-Cass 25 run (Hurff kick)
SA-Denesevich 0 fumble return (Hurff kick)
SA-Pollitt 17 pass by Gatto (Hurff kick)
SA-Cass 48 run (Hurff kick)
TEAM STATS SA BR
Rushing 191 132
Passing 117 0
First downs 9 9
Penalties 11-101 4-30
Turnovers 0 3
Rushing-SA-Cass 13-158, Barillo 8-17, Denesevich 2-7, Pietrzyk 2-5, Schill 2-4, O'Connor 1-4, Tedesco 1-(-1), Gatto 4-(-3). BR-Scott 23-107, Rainear 4-17, Bunton 3-8, DeFeo 1-0.
Passing-SA-Gatto 4-4-0-92, Cass 1-2-0-25. BR-Rainear 0-4-2-0.
Receiving-SA-Pollitt 4-119, Cass 1-(-2). BR-NA.
Records-St. Augustine 4-6; Buena 2-8.