Even Buck Starks couldn’t bring out the best in the Wolverines.

With the former Falls and UB star looking on, St. Joe’s quarterback Matt Rosenhahn accumulated over 200 yards of total offense, threw for three touchdowns and ran for another as the Marauders picked up a 40-19 win over host Niagara Falls in non-league action at Sal Maglie Stadium.

“Matt is a senior with a year under his belt and that makes all the difference in the world,” veteran St. Joe’s coach Bob O’Connor said. “It was a great opening day for him — for our entire football team really.”

The Marauders started with a bang, going on a 12-play, 70-yard drive that ended with Rosenhahn hooking up with Christian Didas for an eight-yard touchdown strike. Rosenhahn, who finished 9-of-18 for 173 yards, completed four passes on the drive.

Then after the Wolverines went three-and-out, St. Joe’s speedster Nick Hall fielded the punt and took it 51 yards to paydirt, putting the Marauders up two scores.

“You couldn’t ask for a better start,” O’Connor said.

From there, the action would become fast and furious.

On the ensuing kickoff, the Falls’ Dale Stewart scooped up the ball and raced 82 yards to the house. St. Joe’s came right back two plays later when Rosenhahn dumped a screen pass to Jeff Bellanca (12 rushes, 101 yards), who slashed through the NFHS defense for a 59-yard touchdown.

The Wolverines got into the passing frenzy themselves in their next drive when quarterback Bruce Hartinger hit Stewart for a 59-yard TD, making the score 20-13. A 60-yard punt return from Durelle Crittenden pulled the Falls within one midway through the second quarter.

That would be as close as the Wolverines would get, though, as St. Joe’s began to pound the ball. Just before the half, the Marauders used 10 consecutive running plays to go up 26-19. Rosenhahn plunged in from a yard out for the score.

“We couldn’t get the defense off the field all day long,” Falls coach Don Bass said. “They probably played three of the four quarters. Our zone coverage was terrible, there was no pressure or contain on the quarterback and our linebackers weren’t filling. We’ve got to do our responsibilities. We just didn’t play good football at all.”

Joe’s added two more scores in the second half, one on a two-yard run by Nick Hall and another on a 17-yard hook-up between Rosenhahn and Josh Moore. Moore finished with five catches for 71 yards.

“Niagara Falls is a very physical and fast team and that’s what we’re going to see all year long, so I’m very happy,” O’Connor said.

Bass meanwhile said his team already has its eyes on next week.

“There’s plenty of room to improve and I can promise you we will improve,” he said.

Contact reporter Nate Beutel at 282-2311, ext. 2262.

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