The Cardinal Football Offense Comes Back To Life In 44-26 Win Over Hartwick


Nicole Pomerleau

(Photo by Staff Photographer Nicole Pomerleau)

October 30, 2022

To say the St. John Fisher offense has been struggling would be an understatement, having scored just 27 points in the previous five games. Following a 21-7 win over Alfred and a bye week, the Cardinals were looking to continue to build momentum and get back on track. They did just that in a strategic victory against Hartwick, blending the pass and run game very well.

The opening drive for Hartwick saw them get stopped going for it on 4th and 2, the tackle made by junior linebacker Joe Miscia. He had his fingerprints all over the game for the Cardinal defense, leading the team with 11 tackles. Fisher then got the ball back and wanted to make a statement that their offense was back. Junior QB Aaron Chase was vital in setting up the offense early with short passes and handoffs to his trusted running back Malachi Duvall. It was Duvall who found paydirt first in this one. Some crucial tackles for Anthony Manna helped get the ball back for the Cardinals, and it was on this second drive that we saw the Chase-to-Gabe Maloni connection start to flourish. The first quarter was capped off with a 4-yard touchdown pass to Maloni.

Fisher CB Derion Moore breaks up a pass thrown by Hartwick QB Nick Andrade. (Photo by Staff Photographer Nicole Pomerleau)

The first drive for the Cardinals in the second quarter saw a big 20-yard run for Duvall, and then again a huge touchdown pass to Maloni. This time, it was a 39-yard seed to the wideout to give Fisher a 21-3 lead. Hartwick didn’t go down without a fight though, as senior QB Kyle Szokoli started heating up with a big 67-yard pass while under pressure, and then finished the drive with an 11-yard touchdown pass to receiver Nate Rath whom he had a connection with all game. The Cardinals then came back with their own big play, as sophomore RB Peyton Nolan broke free for a 73-yard run, followed by a passing touchdown to Turner Depalma to make it 28-10 Cardinals at the end of the half.

The only blemish on the day for Chase was an interception on the opening drive of the third quarter. When the Cardinals got their next opportunity on offense, they looked like the relaxed team we saw in the first half. They continued to follow the formula of letting Duvall do his thing on the ground, then throw it up to Maloni in the endzone. That would be his third and final touchdown on a fantastic day for the receiver. The back and forth continued when Hartwick got the ball back and threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Justin Lobasso. And this was weird to see, a Cardinal punt towards the end of the third quarter that would turn out to be their only one of the game.

Depalma got in on the action once again in the fourth quarter, catching a 43-yard touchdown to make the score 42-20 St. John Fisher. The Cardinals even picked up 2 points on a safety in this quarter. Hartwick threw another touchdown pass to Rath and then failed to complete a 2-point conversion to bring the final score to 44-26.

Fisher defenders make a group tackle in a 44-26 win over Hartwick (Photo by Staff Photographer Nicole Pomerleau).

Chase finished the day with 204 yards and five touchdowns with three to Maloni and two to Depalma. Duvall was also an integral piece of the offense on the ground, achieving 136 yards on 21 attempts with a touchdown of his own. On the Hartwick side, Kyle Szokoli had 345 yards and three touchdowns, with two going to Rath and one to Lobasso.

The St. John Fisher Cardinals look to keep the offense rolling in their next matchup on the road on November 5th in Cortland.