SCHUYLKILL VALLEY >> Quarterback Matt DeLaurentis threw three touchdown passes to Dan Cirino and AJ Natale ran for two scores as Pope John Paul II defeated Schuylkill Valley, 42-10, in non-league action at Hamburg High School on Friday night.
After they went three-and-out on their first series, the Golden Panthers scored on six of their next seven possessions and displayed a balanced offense that kept Schuylkill Valley out of step for most of the night.
“Our offensive line is getting better every week,” PJP head coach Rory Graver said. “We’re looking for balance to keep the defense off balance.”
DeLaurentis kept the Panthers off balance all game completing 7-of-13 passes for 219 yards and rushing for 41 yards on three carries.
“(Matt’s) very intelligent and has the option to run,” Graver said. “He’s an extension of me on the field.”
Natale put the Golden Panthers on the board with a slashing 28-yard run through the Panthers’ defense to cap a 5-play, 53-yard drive for a 7-0 lead with 6:11 left in the first quarter.
The Golden Panthers offense started to hit its stride in the second quarter.
DeLaurentis found Cirino open is the left flat and the senior wideout weaved his way through the Panthers defense for a 51-yard score.
On the next drive, PJP’s CJ McCafferty intercepted an Anikin Glassmire pass at the Panthers’ 48.
Three plays later Natale scored on a 6-yard run for a 21-0 Golden Panthers lead with 6:46 left in the half.
A 28-yard completion from DeLaurentis to Cirino help set up the score.
After a Schuylkill Valley field goal, PJP drove 80 yards in six plays with DeLaurentis passing to Cirino for a 16-yard score and a 28-3 lead with 24 seconds left in the half.
“They have played together for four years, so they know each other quite well.” Graver said of the tandem.
PJP put the game away quickly in the second quarter.
On its first play of the second half, DeLaurentis found Cirino again, this time along the left sideline for a 69-yard score and a 35-3 lead.
The Golden Panther defense forced a short Schuylkill Valley punt and the offense started at the Panthers’ 38.
Two plays later, Jacob Bildstein sprinted down the right sideline, outrunning the defense for a 34-yard TD and a 42-3 Golden Panthers lead with 8:31 left in the third quarter.
The Golden Panthers were formidable on the defensive side of the ball also giving Glassmire little time to throw and leaving little run for the Panthers to run.
The Golden Panthers start league action next Friday when they travel to Pottstown.
“I told our team that our record is now 0-0,” Graver said. “We’re taking it one game at a time. We’ll have a very good test in Pottstown.”