NEW CANAAN, Conn. – Last year’s loss to Rye Country Day bothered St. Luke’s quarterback Charlie Nelson for the entire off-season. On Saturday, the senior from Redding gets his shot at revenge.
The Storm (5-0) host Rye Country Day at 3 p.m. in one of the biggest games in years for St. Luke’s. A win would move St. Luke’s to 4-0 in the Fairchester Athletic Association, where Hackley and King are also undefeated.
A win over the Wildcats would also help ease the sting from last year’s loss. Rye Country Day beat St. Luke’s, 42-7, the Storm’s only loss, preventing them from reaching the New England Prep School playoffs.
“That was a big loss for us,’’ Nelson said. “We were hoping to get into the postseason, but that really ruined us. That stuck in our minds for a long time. As we moved into winter and summer workouts, that was in the back of our minds. We worked all year to make sure we could handle the competition this year.”
St. Luke’s is 0-8 against Rye Country Day since 2004. This year, however, might be the Storm’s best opportunity to end that streak. They are averaging 39.4 points per game thanks to a spread offense that has been unstoppable.
Nelson directs the offense and has thrown for 491 yards and three touchdowns. He has also rushed for two scores. The other big weapons are senior Noel Thomas (771 yards, 12 touchdowns, 10 yards per carry) and Myles Gaines (494 yards, five touchdowns). The Storm rolled up 69 points Saturday in a win over Kingswood-Oxford.
“That was a lot of fun,’’ Nelson said. “Our offense is really starting to click. We have guys that can make things happen out of nowhere.”
Coach Noel Thomas Sr. instituted the spread offense when he took over this year, and Nelson enjoys the increased attention to the passing game. “As a quarterback, I like throwing the ball,’’ he said. “Even when we’re running out of the spread, I feel like I’m much more involved in the running game. The spread was a great move for us.”
Rye Country Day (2-2) lost to Hopkins last Saturday, while St. Luke’s beat Hopkins earlier in the season. Although that is encouraging, Nelson said the Storm will not take the Wildcats lightly.
“They lost some key players from last year,’’ he said. “We’re not going to look past them.”