One word comes to my mind when describing the 2022 Saint Paul’s Football Season: Grit.
In a season filled with heartbreaking losses, stunning victories, and one-score games, the Wolves stayed resilient through all the ups and downs throughout the entire roller coaster ride of a season.
The Wolves began the year with a rough 2-4 start. It’s hard to follow up greatness, let alone one of the finest football seasons in recent memory.
Twenty-three seniors who graduated from Saint Paul’s in last year’s class of 2022, including quarterback Grant Billson, running back Nicholas Piazza, defensive lineman Danny Sears, corner back Daniel Dufour, and defensive back Justin Washington. While a semi-final loss ended the Wolves’ season in 2021, it capped off an extremely successful season.
“Getting that far – the furthest we’ve ever been in school history – and being so close to making it a step further, it’s something that we’ve thought about all offseason,” reflected current senior center Dylan Buckel.
But the effects of the departure of the last year’s seniors were evidenced by the program’s early growing pains this season.
While the defense played valiantly, keeping the team in games, the constant quarterback turnover struck the Wolves early. An injury to senior quarterback Daniel Roushar threw junior Ben Buisson into immediate action.
Buisson’s inexperience at quarterback for the varsity team opened the door for Brennan Keim to take the reigns as the team’s starter, a move seen as a last-gasp attempt by the coaching staff to spark life back into Saint Paul’s offense.
The coaches made the right decision: the Wolves ripped off four wins in a row to secure a home playoff game at Hunter Stadium against Holy Cross.
That home-field advantage helped Saint Paul’s make two crucial plays late to sneak by Holy Cross in a 24-21 nail biting opening round: a 41-yard field goal by sophomore kicker Drew Talley to take the lead and an interception by linebacker Gavin Bourgeois to seal the game for the Wolves.
Saint Paul’s run game, offense, and entire season rode on the shoulders of senior running back Jacob Davies. Davies’s 1,999 rushing yards was the second most in a season in school history. He was the heart of the Wolves’ offense, and the script didn’t change against Holy Cross.
Davies carried the ball 37 times for 171 yards and a touchdown in the team’s home playoff triumph over Holy Cross.
“I told our guys that this was going to be the biggest drive of our Saint Paul’s career,” Davies informed reporters following the victory.
Unfortunately, Saint Paul’s season ended the following week in a 35-9 road loss to Northwood in Shreveport, Louisiana.
While the 2022 Saint Paul’s Football Wolves may not be remembered like the ones preceding them, their young core showed enough promise to make everyone in the locker room excited about what the future of the program holds, especially considered the incredible seasons by the junior varsity and freshman football teams.