The No. 14 Johns Hopkins football team demolished Juniata, 65-10, last Saturday to remain perfect at 5-0 overall and 4-0 in the Centennial Conference. And the Blue Jays did so without the services of three starters on offense.
Senior running back J.D. Abbott, senior left tackle Vincenzo Bonaddio and sophomore right guard Colin Egan sat out the contest due to unspecified injuries. But coach Jim Margraff was pleased with what he saw from the reserves who filled the void.
“I thought our guys played very well last week,” he said Wednesday. “The offensive linemen played very well, certainly up to expectations. With our running backs, we’ve got a good stable of guys and it gave some other guys the opportunity to carry the football. We came out with the win, so it was a plus all the way around.”
Sophomore Baxter DeBruyn filled in at left tackle for Bonaddio, and Egan was replaced at right guard by senior Mark Bozzo. The offensive line, which included regulars in senior center Ben Cranston (Loyola), senior left guard Kevin Quinn and senior right tackle Armand Jenifer, gave Robbie Matey enough time for the senior quarterback to complete 23-of-26 passes for career highs in yards (408) and touchdowns (six).
“Baxter was a top recruit,” Margraff said. “He’s very athletic. He’s a big guy. He’s from Daniel Wodicka’s high school in Indiana [West Lafayette], and he just needs game experience. So that was vital for him, and he did a good job, but I certainly saw things he needs to work on.
"Mark is a senior. He’s fought through injuries his whole time here. So I was actually excited to see him get the chance to start a game and he did very well. He’s a very good athlete. … Our guards had to do a lot of movement, and that suits Mark’s game very well. I thought he did a real nice job.”
Abbott, the team’s leading rusher with 326 yards and seven touchdowns, was replaced by sophomore Brandon Cherry. The Boys’ Latin graduate had 78 combined yards on 10 carries and one catch, but once the game got out of hand, freshmen Dionisio Roman and Stuart Walters took over in the backfield.
Roman finished with 17 rushes for 77 yards and Walters added 13 attempts for 66 yards.
“We’re very excited about our freshman running backs,” Margraff said. “We have some upperclassmen who are doing a great job, but we wanted to work those guys in, and we have been working those guys in. We’re encouraged by their play, and it’s great for freshmen to see the things they need to work on. They’re only going to get better. So that was a real plus coming out of last week’s game.”
Margraff declined to elaborate on the injuries plaguing Abbott, Bonaddio and Egan, but he said all three could return for the team’s next game against Dickinson (2-3, 2-2) on Oct. 18 at Homewood Field in Baltimore.
“He [Abbott] was certainly out for the week, and with the bye week, it gives you a nice option to give someone two weeks off and only miss one game,” Margraff said. “We expect all three guys back for the second half of the season and for our opening game against Dickinson.”