The Bishop Ireton Cardinals, under first-year head coach Tony Verducci, have the Cardinal and Gold off to one of its finest seasons in recent history. Ireton, fresh off a hard-fought defense-laden 7-0 victory over arch-rival O’Connell, improved to 2-0 on the young season.
“Football sets the tone for the entire school year. I really love the football season. It’s a lot of fun,” said Ireton athletic director Bill Simmons.
With Verducci’s early season success, Simmons who took over for Mark Heiser, who left in July is having a lot of fun in the young school year and is witnessing one of the best starts in 41 seasons of Ireton football.
On Sept. 1 at O’Connell (Northwest Arlington), the Cardinals scored the games decisive touchdown late in the second quarter. On the six-play, 54-yard scoring drive, senior quarterback Ed Pastorino connected with junior running back John Attiliis on a 6-yard gainer. Pastorino threw incomplete and then connected with senior running back/wide receiver Andrew Rodriguez on a 9-yard gainer, moving the chains.
With first and 10 on the O’Connell 40-yard line, Pastorino fired a near-perfect pass over the middle. The aerial hit Rodriguez in stride and following the 30-yard gainer, positioned the ball at the Knights 10-yard line.
After a 3-yard Rodriguez run, the Pastorino-Rodriguez combination earned its paycheck when the two teamed up on a 7-yard TD strike in the left corner of the end zone.
“On the TD play, it was supposed to have been a ‘naked bootleg’ to the left. I saw Andrew out of the corner and I came back and got the ball to him,” Pastorino said.
In the scoreless second half, O’Connell’s offense ventured into Ireton territory on its first two possessions. But on both occasions the Knights came away with zero points.
On the day, the Cardinal defensive was led by the defensive line of David Weber, C.J. Thompson, Jacob Manley and Curt Masiello; outside linebackers Tyler Dupre and Chris McIlvaine; and inside linebackers Andrew Rodriguez and Brian O’Donnell.
“I thought that all game long, Rodriguez and O’Donnell really did an outstanding job on defense. Our entire defense did an excellent job trusting our reads and executing our individual assignments, coach Verducci said.
Also, I felt that Sergio Rivera and backup quarterback Oliver Noon did an excellent job on the ‘scout’ team all week long. Mickey Mangan punted the ball very well today,” the coach said.
On the schedule
This week Ireton ventures to arch-rival Paul VI (Fairfax) for its first game under the lights Friday night, Sept. 7. In its first game of the season last weekend, Paul VI dropped a 35-7 contest to visiting Bishop Wood (Pa.).
In other action, Episcopal is scheduled to visit Hill School (Pa.), and St. Stephens & St. Agnes will host St. Christopher’s (Richmond).