Tonawanda News — Town of Tonawanda — Nearly three weeks after losing to Canisius by a score of 21-0, the St. Joe’s Marauders feel as if they have become a different team.
The Marauders haven’t changed anything schematically on offense or defense, but last week’s dose of playoff action against St. Francis and a bye week before that has re-energized the squad.
“I think last week was a little bit of a wake-up call for our team,” head coach Dennis Gilbert said. “Playing in a playoff game helped to get some our young guys out of that deer-in-the-headlights mentality, so it was good to get them into one of those must-win games and have them get into that win-now mode.
“Also having the week off in between the regular season and the playoffs was huge,” Gilbert continued. “It was another 10 days of rest for our guys, and it especially helped Nigel Davis. You could really notice the difference against St. Francis in his ability to change direction and accelerate. It was tremendous for us to get our guys healed up.”
Davis, the team’s top running back and the school’s all-time leader in touchdowns, had been hobbled by an ankle injury for a few weeks and the injury had diminished his performance on the field.
“I think that week off helped our team and myself a lot,” Davis said. “We’ve been a little banged up and it felt good to be out there last week and being able to play like I normally do. I feel a lot better now after having some rest.”
The Marauders also took the time to focus on cleaning up small mistakes that occurred in the first meeting against the Crusaders, and put the lessons learned to good use in practice and against St. Francis last week.