Central Catholic Raiders Football '15

Central holds off Lawrence

LAWRENCE — Though the offense wasn’t its usual self, Central Catholic survived a tough Thanksgiving showdown with crosstown rival Lawrence to win 21-6 thanks to a pair of timely interceptions.
It was the first Thanksgiving matchup between the two schools.
Central was led on offense by sophomore quarterback Bret Edwards, who went 11 for 20 with 144 yards passing and two touchdowns, but the star of the game was Lawrence senior receiver Eddie Cabrera, who played the game of his life.
Cabrera made six catches for 121 yards, including a 50-yard touchdown in the third quarter, and also grabbed an interception. Several of his catches also came in key third- and fourth-down situations, and it seemed like every time his number was called, Cabrera delivered.
“He stepped up big time,” said Lawrence coach Mike Yameen. “I thought it was his best game of the year, with all of our starters out he came through and stepped up in a big way.”
Cabrera’s first catch came on Lawrence’s first possession of the game, grabbing a 33-yard pass from quarterback Ismael Jenkins on third down to move Lawrence right down to the Central goal line.
But two plays later, Jenkins was intercepted in the end zone by Central senior Greg Marggraf, who jumped a slant route in a play reminiscent of Malcolm Butler in the Super Bowl.
Marggraf returned the pick all the way to midfield. From there, Central only needed six plays to complete the seven-point swing, with Edwards capping off the drive with a 32-yard touchdown to Steven Jackson to make it 7-0.
“That was a big play,” said Central coach Chuck Adamopoulos said of the interception. “That would have given them a lot of emotion if they’d started off with a touchdown right there.”
Central (10-1) got another touchdown late in the second quarter on a 19-yard pass by Edwards to senior Omar Deschamps to make it 14-0 at halftime.
Then, after receiving the opening kickoff of the third quarter, Central scored again after Deschamps capped off a 10-play drive with a 3-yard touchdown to make it 21-0.
Lawrence caught a big break on its next drive after Central was called for pass interference on a 4th and 4 play. Looking to take advantage, Jenkins hit Cabrera for a 30-yard completion, only a penalty nullified the big gain and moved Lawrence back to midfield.
No matter. On the very next play, Jenkins went right back to Cabrera, only this time for a 50-yard touchdown. Central blocked the ensuing kick, keeping it at 21-6 with 5:02 to play in the third.
Lawrence (3-8) had a chance to pull within one score early in the fourth, driving all the way to Central’s 28 on a drive that featured two big catches by Cabrera, one on 4th and 7 and the other on 3rd and 15. But once again, Lawrence couldn’t punch it in, as Central senior defensive back Mike Mercuri came up with an interception.
From that point on, all Central needed to do was run the clock out, and though their first attempt ended in a quick three and out, Lawrence couldn’t move the ball on it’s last possession, allowing Central to hold on for the win.
It was the Raiders’ 18th straight win over LHS, which hasn’t beaten Central since 1985.
“When you play good teams like this, you can’t make mistakes, you’ve got to take care of the ball,” said Lawrence coach Mike Yameen. “You can’t turn the ball over against a team like this, they’re too good.”
Central started the game shorthanded, losing three starters to suspension, which will also keep them out of next Saturday’s Division 1 state championship game vs. unbeaten Xaverian at Gillette Stadium.
Central suffered another loss in the second quarter after promising sophomore tailback Max Faro suffered what appeared to be an upper body injury. Faro had to be taken off on a stretcher, but he was able to stand on his own power before sitting down and being carried off.
Adamopoulos didn’t have any details on Faro’s injury after the game, but said it appeared serious enough that he’ll likely miss the title game.

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Football, 11/26/15 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Central hammers Everett to punch ticket to state final at Gillette

LAWRENCE — If you handicapped Saturday night’s Central Catholic-Everett Division 1 North football final, it came down to flukes.
Which was the fluke, Central’s dominating 24-0 whitewash of Everett back in the first week of October or the Tide’s playoff-opening stunner over top-seeded St. John’s Prep?
The No. 2 Raiders took that a little bit personally and spent the better part of the 44 minutes here at Veterans Memorial Stadium vindicating their victory.
In the process, Central claimed its second Division 1 North championship in the last three years rather easily, 33-14, and confirmed its reservation in the state finals at Gillette Stadium on December 5.
The 9-1 Raiders will tangled with unbeaten (10-0) South champ Xaverian, the consensus No. 1 team in Massachusetts, in the marquee game of the day for the D1 State Championship.
“You know this one is special, because this team was not supposed to get here,” beamed Raider coach Chuck Adamopoulos. “We don’t have too many of them, but this is a really special group of seniors. I really like this group, because of how they came together. And they deserve to be here, and to play for a state title.”
Central pulled off the Gillette upset two years ago, victimizing this same Xaverian team back in 2013 with Cody Demers, D’andre Drummond-Mayrie and Mike Milano leading the way.
It’s probably going to take a similar effort if the Raiders are to pull off the unthinkable again. Of course, there’s plenty of time to kill in between. Adamopoulos and his crew will tangle with Lawrence High here on Thanksgiving morning.
“No doubt, our starters will be playing,” said the coach. “I mean, it’s Thanksgiving and they want to play.”
The Raiders certainly wanted to play last night, too, and showed it from the opening kick, which Steven Jackson took back to the Everett 36. Senior classmate Omar Deschamps took back-to-back handoffs and scored, making it 7-0, just 24 seconds in.
Following a Tide 3-and-out, Central took charge, at 14-0, when Bret Edwards found Jackson for a 23-yard TD.
It really would never be close. The lead bumped to 27-0 at halftime, and it probably wasn’t that close as the Raiders outgained Everett, 257-45.
Edwards, who hobbled all day on an ankle he sprained last week, would finish early with three TD passes, all to the uncoverable Jackson (8 catches, 144 yards), as he hit on 12 of 16 for 174 yards on the day.
Deschamps, who took some “wildcat” snaps to ease Edwards’ load, led the ground game with 11 carries for 85 yards and Central’s two rushing touchdowns.
Central’s defense carried its shutover over the Tide into the fourth quarter (80 minutes, 3 seconds total) when Everett’s Division 1 recruit Jordan McAfee tossed the first of his two garbage-time touchdowns.

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Football, 11/14/15 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Central ousts Andover despite Perry IV's state record 636 passing yards

LAWRENCE — After more than 600 passing yards and six combined touchdowns, Central Catholic was finally able to finish off E.J. Perry IV. Senior linebacker Nick Janco busted through the line and sacked Perry IV on fourth down from the Central 35 with 49 seconds to play. After Robert Fitzgerald ran for a first down, the Raiders had officially clinched an epic 49-41 victory over Andover in the Division 1 North semifinals. “It’s amazing,” said Janco. “Andover is an amazing opponent, but we finally finished it off. On the final play it was all man coverage, and in the middle we ran a blitz. I flew in, made the sack and I just felt like that was the game.” With the victory, Central Catholic advances to the Division 1 North title game, where the Raiders will host Everett — a team they beat 24-0 during the regular season. “It’s the greatest feeling in the world,” said defensive lineman Carlos Cabrera. “We knew it was going to be a great game, but we had no idea it was going to be like this. It was amazing.” Central took the victory despite a brilliant, record-smashing day for Perry IV. The junior threw for a stunning 636 yards, which is belived to be a state record, — topping 300 yards in each half — throwing for four touchdowns and running for two more. His favorite target was senior slot receiver Andrew Soucy, who caught 16 passes for 296 yards. He was one of three Warriors to go over 100 yards receiving, to go with Dan Gemmell (151) and Brandon Marti (126). Central Catholic seemed to be on the way to a blowout, taking a 26-0 lead with 20 seconds left in the first quarter when QB Bret Edwards threw his second touchdown pass of the game to Mathias Villafane. But on the first play of the following drive Perry IV connected with Dan Gemmell, who scampered 87 yards for a touchdown. “I told the guys that it wasn’t going to be that easy,” said Cabrera. “They were going to have a comeback. They are too tough.” That kicked off a wild back-and-forth battle that saw Andover take the lead 41-40 with 28 seconds left in the third quarter on a Perry IV pass to Andrew Soucy. But Central drove right back, and Raiders star Omar Deschamps pounded in from 18 yards out to give them the lead back. Central then executed an on-sides kick — recovered by T.J. Vaughn — and added insurance with a 22-yard Stefano Calvagno field goal. Andover was able to drive to the Central 31-yard line in the final moments. But Cabrera scored a sack, ex-Golden Warrior Pat Schena made a tackle and Janco ended the drive with the fourth-down sack. Central now stands one victory away from a return to Gillette Stadium and the Division 1 State finals, with the North final against the same Everett team they beat two years ago. “We survived and advanced,” said Deschamps. “We had to be strong and finished off the victory. We did what had to be done, and now we are thrilled to face Everett.”

Central Catholic 49, Andover 41 Division 1 North semifinals Andover (6-3):      7 14 20 0 — 41 Central Catholic (8-1):     26  7 13 3 — 49 First Quarter  CC — Mathias Villafane 25 pass from Bret Edwards (kick failed), 9:42  CC — Edwards 70 run (rush failed), 5:07  CC — Max Faro 34 run (Stefano Calvagno kick), 3:08  CC —  Villafane 30 pass from Bret Edwards (kick failed), 0:20  A — Dan Gemmell 87 pass from E.J. Perry IV (Luke Washburn kick), 0:00 Second Quarter  A — Brandon Marti 28 pass from Perry IV (Washburn kick), 6:59  CC — Robert Fitzgerald 15 run (Calvagno kick), 3:38  A — Perry IV 8 run (Washburn kick), 0:58 Third Quarter  A — Perry IV 3 run (Washburn kick), 9:28  CC — Steven Jackson 88 kickoff return (Calvagno kick), 9:06  A — Marti 10 pass from Perry IV (Washburn kick), 6:20  A — Gemmell 35 pass from Perry IV (rush failed), 0:28  CC — Omar Deschamps 18 run (rush failed), 0:12 Fourth Quarter  CC — Calvagno 22 field goal, 8:13 INDIVIDUAL LEADERS RUSHING: Central — Bret Edwards 5-105, Omar Deschamps 10-85, Robert Fitzgerald 6-57, Max Faro 4-49; Andover— E.J. Perry IV 14-16, Anthony Christopher 4-1 PASSING: Central — Edwards 10-18-1, 113; Andover — Perry IV 29-48-2, 636

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Football, 11/08/15 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Central rolls to easy win over Lawrence

LAWRENCE — On a team with a wealth of wide receivers, it’s not always easy to get your share of the spoils.
So Central Catholic senior quad-captain Mike Mercuri had a right to boast Friday night when he scored the game’s first touchdown, and his first of the season. He took a swing pass to the left, shrugged off one Lawrence tackler and eluded another on his way to a 62-yard score less than three minutes into the game.
Mercuri also caught a spectacular 44-yarder early in the third quarter, sparking a three-touchdown flurry as the No. 2-seed Raiders pulled away from a 14-0 halftime lead to roll past the Lancers, 42-15, in the quarterfinals of the Division 1 playoffs.
The Raiders (7-1) will host Andover (6-2) in the semifinals Friday.
But Mercuri was less excited about his offensive exploits than his defense, which included two of five sacks on Lawrence quarterback Ismael Jenkins.
“I liked the sacks more,” said Mercuri. “I like to hit people.”
Said Central coach Chuck Adamopoulos. “Mike’s a good receiver and a good athlete. We were just talking the other day about how he hadn’t scored a touchdown yet, so this was nice to see.”
Mercuri’s early TD, followed by a 20-yard touchdown run by Bret Edwards that capped a seven-play drive, gave Central an early 14-0 lead. It looked like it would be an easy win.
But Lawrence, which was held without a first down in the first quarter, came alive in the second quarter, collecting six first downs, advancing to the Central 19 on one drive and keeping the Raiders to just 11 yards of offense.
But the game turned around in the third quarter when the Raiders scored on three straight drives, all on touchdowns by Omar Deschamps, two on runs (4 and 38 yards) and one on a 35-yard reception.
“I liked the way the kids responded in the third quarter,” said Adamopoulos. “Lawrence is a tough team and their record is deceiving.”
Showing its depth, Edwards (9 of 16, 197 yards) completed passes to six different receivers and had eight players carry the ball. One of the receivers, David Onyemem, had a spectacular 20-yard reception, and one of the backs, Max Faro, had a 75-yard run to cap the scoring.
On defense, Connor Hagerty joined Mercuri with a pair of sacks and Pat Schena and Mike Horak also played well.
Trailing 42-0 early in the fourth, Lawrence (3-5) scored twice against the Central reserves, first on an 11-yard TD pass from backup QB Ronny Pena and then on a 3-yard run by Angel Abreu, who had 71 of his 86 yards in the final quarter.
“We played well at times but you can’t have a first quarter like that and give them opportunities,” said Lawrence coach Mike Yameen.

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Football, 10/31/15 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Raiders clinch another title

LAWRENCE — The outcome, an easy 49-14 romp over Lowell, was expected but it still held special meaning for Central Catholic and standout sophomore quarterback Bret Edwards Friday night.
The victory lifted Central to 6-1 heading into next week’s Division 1 playoffs and, more important, 4-0 in the MVC large, which clinched its fourth straight league title and third straight outright.
“We’ve never done that (won three straight) before so this is pretty special,” said Central coach Chuck Adamopoulos. “That was our motivation during the week.
“I’m thrilled that we could do this. At the beginning of the year, having lost all our lineman and our quarterback, I didn’t know what we had. I really wasn’t expecting this.”
Edwards, of course, has fit in quite nicely as the new QB and, as a Lowell resident, Friday night’s win was special for him.
“I was looking forward to it and this was definitely great to play against them and do so well,” said Edwards. “I know a lot of the kids on the team and until the eighth grade I always thought I’d be going to Lowell. But Central is a great fit for me.”
Edwards was 6 of 12 with two touchdowns and 75 yards, which aren’t great numbers but two passes were dropped and a 54-yard TD pass was called back by a penalty.
Besides, after a slow start in which the Raiders struggled on their first two possessions, they had plenty of other offense. Omar Deschamps rushed for 89 yards and two touchdowns (19 and 38 yards) and Robert Fitzgerald matched him with two TDs, one a 63-yard inside burst, and 77 yards on four carries.
Despite the slow start, Central led 21-0 after the first quarter, thanks partly to a recovered onside kick and a blocked punt by Matt Thomas that gave the ball to the Raiders on Lowell’s 1-yard-line.
Mathias Villafane had a 24-yard touchdown reception to open the scoring in the first quarter and his 38-yard punt return set up Central’s last score of the half, a 15-yard pass to Steven Jackson, which made it 35-0 at the intermission.
After the Raiders took a 42-0 lead after three quarters, the final frame was left for the reserves, which included backup quarterback Matt Horgan, who gained 22 yards on four carries and scored the last TD on a 6-yard scamper.
“We had a sluggish start, but I liked the way we played after that,” said Adamopoulos. “We’re pretty excited ... now it’s onto the playoffs and we’ll see how we do.”

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Football, 10/24/15 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Dominant second half gives Central victory over Andover

ANDOVER — For all the big games and the big victories, there is still nothing that feels quite like beating Andover High to Central Catholic's Carlos Cabrera.

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Football, 10/16/15 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Central rebounds in big way

LAWRENCE — Central Catholic needed a rebound after last week's disappointing loss to rival St. John's Prep.

Enter sophomore quarterback Bret Edwards.

The Lowell resident threw four touchdown passes, while completing 12 of 15 passes and 238 yards in a big-time rout of Chelmsford High, 42-0, last night at Veterans Stadium.

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Football, 09/25/15 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars