St. Joe’s offensive line plows a path through the snow

St Joseph's Mufasha Abdul Basir (6) runs through a gaping hole opened up by the Cadets' massive offensive line, including Troy Vazzano (55).. (H. John Voorhees III/For Hearst newspapers)

St Joseph’s Mufasha Abdul Basir (6) runs through a gaping hole opened up by the Cadets’ massive offensive line. (H. John Voorhees III/For Hearst newspapers)

More often than not, if a football team is running the ball effectively, it’s because its offensive line is winning the battle at the line of scrimmage. Such was the case in St. Joseph’s 54-16 victory over Brookfield in the Class M state title game Saturday.

The Cadets’ front five is big and athletic, and it plowed a path through the snow that would be the envy of any highway department. Leading the way were starters Chris Taylor at left tackle (6-foot-2, 298 pounds), Troy Vazzano at left guard (6-2, 252), Tom Adzima at center (6-1, 243), Pete Mestre at right guard (6-6, 295) and Steve Hashemi at right tackle (6-6, 265).

Running behind that stampede, St. Joe’s running back Mufasha Abdul Basir rushed for 166 yards and two touchdowns and caught a screen pass that went for a 54-yard score. Behind that wall of protection, Cadets quarterback Jordan Vazzano threw four touchdown passes, including one each to Shane Miller, Lars Pedersen and Mark Hirschbeck.

“The last four or five games, it’s been all about them,” St. Joseph coach Joe DellaVecchia said of his offensive line. “They’ve been able to take control of things. They really understand our offensive philosophy.

“They talk about who’s playing where on them and what plays are better, and they come over to the sideline and say ‘Let’s run this, let’s run that,’” DellaVecchia continued. “I trust them with all that. Even at halftime, they came in and talked about some things. They’re a confident group and they just get after it.”

The victory Saturday capped a remarkable run through the state tournament in which the Cadets scored 200 points in three games. Watch that offensive line work, and it’s easy to see how that was possible.