STAMFORD — Each chapter of the St. Luke’s-King football rivalry had always been decided at the end of each season.
However, with the Storm and the Vikings moving to the Evergreen Football League this season the only scheduling slot available to keep the rivalry going was to battle in the opening week.
St. Luke’s made the most of this new sense of urgency as the Storm rolled to a 41-6 victory Saturday at King’s field.
“It is a little weird playing King in Week 1,” St. Luke’s veteran coach Noel Thomas said. “But it’s always exciting whenever we get together. We’re just happy to be on the positive end today.”
Indeed. Saturday’s triumph was St. Luke’s first win over King since 2015.
The Storm snapped the three-year losing streak by exploding for 27 unanswered points in the first quarter.
St. Luke’s took advantage of an extremely young King squad.
Shammond Moore’s seven-yard touchdown run capped a 19-yard drive following a shanked King punt.
Koy Price’s five-yard TD run came off an Austin Andersen interception returned back to the King 30.
Austin Anderson’s one-yard TD run came after a low snap on a King punt that was recovered at the King 1.
And Moore’s nine-yard scoring run on the last play of the first quarter capped a 33-yard drive after a short King punt.
“We have a lot of very young kids. We have youth on defense. And we’re missing a key veteran linebacker due to injury,” said King’s veteran coach Dan Gouin. “I’m disappointed in the loss but not the effort. We have work to do. We knew St. Luke’s would be a tough season opener.”
King’s lone touchdown came in the closing seconds of the first half as quarterback Justin Torres-West found Alex Millerchip on back-to-back passes of 29 and 20 yards. Torres-West paced King running attack with 57 yards on 17 carries.
Private school football success usually runs in cycles. But it’s clear that St. Luke’s picked the right season to join the Evergreen League.
The Storm’s success is based in the physicality and experience of their offensive and defensive lines. Seniors Joe Alfson (250 pounds), Dylan Johnson (295), Jordan Robinson (6-foot-4, 315) and Tank Intrieri (255) along with junior Dean Pallas (6-4, 300) will be a scary sight both live and on film to Evergreen League opponents.
The roadgraders made life easy for St. Luke’s speedy running backs Moore, Price and Austin Anderson.
“Our team appreciates the power of our linemen,” said Moore, a senior captain who had 77 yards rushing on six carries Saturday. “The big guys upfront are everything to us.”
St. Luke’s is also blessed to have two fine quarterbacks in senior Andrew Lau and sophomore Everett Andersen. The Storm even has depth in its kicking game as Lau and Harrison Lambeth are proficient on extra points and field goals.
“I’m super excited about playing in the Evergreen League,” Thomas said. “It’s a new journey with moments of the unknown. Our leadership is intact (nine seniors, 10 juniors). We all up to the challenge.”
As for King, it is a time to remember the value of patience.
“One game doesn’t make a season,” Gouin said. “It’s about progress and progression over the course of a season. Our kids want to get better. And that’s the biggest part toward improvement.”