Dracut Middies Football '07

Sat, Oct 06, 2007 02:00 PM @ St. John's
Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Dracut 15 8 0 0 23
St. John's 0 8 0 8 16

St. John's Prep football bows to Dracut

  • Currently 0.0 with 0 votes.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Saturday, October, 06 By Jean DePlacido
Staff writer

DANVERS | Football coaches preach all the time about avoiding turnovers. For the most part, the players listen, but turnovers happen anyway.

Failure to protect the ball led to the third straight loss for St. John's Prep Saturday. The Eagles turned the ball over six times on four interceptions and Dracut recovered two fumbles. All the scoring for the Middies came in the first half, but they were able to stave off a second half rally by the Eagles for their second win of the season, 23-16 at Cronin Memorial Stadium.

"We spotted them points just like we did last year (at Dracut when St. John's fell behind early and lost)," said Prep coach Jim O'Leary. "We just can't do that. The problem was turning the ball over. It wasn't the scheme, not the better or worse players, but we put ourselves in a hole and had to scramble at the end."

St. John's won the toss but elected to defer until the second half. That strategy backfired when Dracut mounted a 72-yard, 12-play opening drive with tailback Johnny Rivera going into the end zone from five yards out.

Two plays later Prep quarterback Scott Darby was intercepted by linebacker Chris Bent at the Prep 25-yard line. It took the Middies only two plays to get into the end zone again on a 4-yard rush by Rivera, and a two point conversion pass from quarterback Matt Grimard to Craig Lussier put St. John's behind, 15-0.

Grimard, a junior quarterback starting for the first time this year, completed 16 of 22 passes for 163 yards and a touchdown.

"Everything is starting to click for him now," said Dracut coach Patrick Murphy, whose team is now 2-3. "He was very efficient with his throws today, and the big thing is we didn't turn the ball over (1 turnover) which had been a problem earlier in the year. We lost three games by a total of seven points so this is a huge win. St. John's Prep is one of the premier programs in the state | the type of team we aspire to be."

The Eagles got on the board with a 66-yard drive in 10 plays, capped by a Derek Coppola 9-yard run. Darby went in for two points on the keeper to cut the deficit to 15-8 with 8:38 left in the half, but the Middies answered right back aided by a roughing the kicker call against St. John's that kept the drive alive.

Grimard, who completed five of seven passes for 61 yards, threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Lussier, and then spotted him in the end zone for the two-point conversion in the final minutes of the half.

The Prep defense dug in to keep Dracut off the board after intermission while the offense had several good scoring chances, but was able to convert only one despite repeatedly driving deep into the visitors' territory.

The Eagles cut the deficit to seven points, 23-16 with just over four minutes remaining on a well executed hook and ladder play. Darby threw a short pass to Patrick Dempsey, who hit Coppola with a lateral and the speedy back outran everybody 64 yards down the right sideline. After Darby (15 for 37 for 225 yards) picked up two more points on the conversion pass to Robert Marraffa, the Eagles were right back in the game.

In the final minute they made one last bid after Coppola, who had 128 yards rushing and three catches for 85 yards, made a spectacular grab to give his team a first down at the Dracut 36. They moved the ball to the 20, but on fourth down Darby's pass to Peter Neal was ruled caught out of bounds.

"We scrambled at the end, but it was unproductive for the most part," said O'Leary, whose team dropped to 2-3. "We needed points and didn't get them. We played better in the second half, but we didn't make any adjustments at halftime, and they didn't either. We had to go down and score quickly. We did it with the hook and ladder play, and later Coppola made a great catch. We know what he is capable of, but we need other people to step up and make plays."

The Eagles are now on the road for the next three weeks, and it doesn't get any easier starting at St. John's of Shrewsbury.

"This is a very tough loss," said Neal, a two-way starter who had two catches and a fumble recovery. "We have to come back and win. Our defense played unbelievable today, especially in the second half when we didn't give up any touchdowns and kept making them go three-and-out. I knew the ball was coming to me on that last play, and it was really close to being in-bounds. The ball was a little high, and I was waiting at the first down marker, but I couldn't come down in bounds."

0 Story Comments