MARPLE TWP. >> It was a short night for Cardinal O’Hara’s Justin Santilla and Bobby Siderio.
Santilla, a senior wide receiver and defensive back, exited after the opening kickoff in the second half. Siderio was done after the first series of the third quarter, and even then all he did was hand the ball off seven times and run it twice.
It was that kind of night for the Lions. All the starters were gone in the third quarter as O’Hara rolled over overmatched Kipp DuBois Collegiate Academy, 45-0, in the season opener for both teams Friday night at Lions Stadium.
Yet that was more than enough time for both players to realize they have a special connection. Siderio completed 8 of 9 passes for 53 yards and one touchdown. He was perfect on his first seven attempts before he threw his only incomplete pass. Siderio also carried the ball five times for 21 yards and a TD.
“I always look to him,” Siderio said. “When I need someone, I know Justin is there all the time. He gets open and that helps me out a lot. We’ve worked hard for two summers and now the time is here and we have to do it.
Santilla was on the receiving end of five of those completions for 40 yards and a TD. He also had one carry for nine yards, returned an interception for 34 yards and had a 34-yard punt return to finish with 117 all-purpose yards.
“I got my quarterback,” Santilla said. “I know I have somebody I can trust to get me the ball and I make it happen after that. We trust each other. We’ve been working together for two summers now and it’s starting to pay off.”
With a completely revamped offensive line, third-year coach B.J. Hogan will be counting on veterans such as Siderio, Santilla, running back/defensive back Taseer Jones and defensive end/wide receiver Tyric Gould to lead the way until the younger players get up to speed.
They did that Friday night. Jones scored twice, once on a 34-yard interception return for a touchdown and again on a one-yard plunge to close out the scoring as the first half came to a close. Gould sacked KDCA quarterback Teyvon Evans for a 10-yard loss on the first play of the game to set the tone for a defense that helped Kipp DuBois to minus-20 yards rushing and 26 yards of total offense.
“It’s almost like our first year,” Hogan said. “We have a lot of guys going both ways. It kind of gets scary. Luckily, it was a cool night and we have some depth at the skill positions, which really helped.”