BARNSTABLE — Barnstable football coach Ross Jatkola knew he was testing his Red Raiders squad when he scheduled a season opener against nonconference foe Xaverian.
On Friday night, the Barnstable players showed their coach they were up to for the challenge, dominating the line of scrimmage in a 20-14 victory over the fourth-ranked Hawks.
“We knew we had something special going,” said a soaked Jatkola after the rain-filled game. “I don’t think the score is even indicative of how we played. I think we left a lot of points on the board.”
Barnstable used its rushing attack to build a two-score lead in the first half, as seniors Colby Burke and Luke Locasio each scored on 2-yard runs to help the Red Raiders take a 14-0 lead into halftime. Xaverian cut its deficit to 14-7 after sophomore Joe Kelcourse ran for his first of two rushing scores — a 4-yard plunge — on the first play of the fourth quarter.
The No. 14 Red Raiders answered on their next possession, though, as sophomore Eugene Jordan rumbled in for a 9-yard touchdown run that extended their lead to 20-7 with 6:24 remaining. Kelcourse added a 3-yard touchdown run with three seconds left, but Barnstable recovered an onside kick moments later to secure a Week 1 victory.
It was Barnstable’s ground game that helped the Red Raiders control the time of possession throughout the night. The team finished with 222 rushing yards, led by senior Brian Frieh, who finished with 112 yards on 15 carries.
“We struggled at times obviously,” Xaverian coach Al Fornaro said of his defense. “I think, systematically, there were a couple things that maybe we could’ve done better. They’re a good football team, I’ll give them credit — they’re going to go a long way.”
Kelcourse led the Hawks with 66 rushing yards on 12 carries.