St. John's Eagles Football '06

Sat, Sep 16, 2006 01:30 PM @ St. John's
Team Final
Central Catholic 17
St. John's 27
Central Catholic's (No. 33) Mike Leavitt sprints away from St. John's defenders in football action. St. John's defeated Central Catholic, 27-17. » Carl Russo, Staff Photographer

Prep makes big stops in win

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

Friday, August, 24 By Jean DePlacido

DANVERS | The difference between a win or a loss is not the number of yards or first downs a team racks up, but how many points are on the board.

Visiting Central Catholic marched up and down the field in the first half, but never had a lead against St. John's Prep at Cronin Stadium. The Eagles relied on their defense for some big stops in the red zone to take the battle of Groveland, where both Prep's Jim O'Leary and Raider coach Chuck Adamopoulos reside, 27-17. It marked the third straight win for St. John's and overall the series is now 20-10-1 in its favor.

"We outplayed them in the first half, but we didn't finish," said Adamopoulos. "We got some good spurts, but didn't play a complete game. We have to get better, especially in the line."

The Raiders (1-1) had no trouble moving the ball, especially in the first half when they amassed 192 yards including 184 rushing to the hosts 80, but they still found themselves trailing, 7-0 with only 2:30 gone in the game when Peter Mugford picked off a Matt Smith pass at the Central Catholic 26-yard line and took it into the end zone.

St. John's (2-0) went three-and-out on their first two offensive series, but the defense dug in to keep the visitors off the board. The biggest play was a sack by Joel Caron on Smith on fourth down at the Prep 5-yard line. After the defense held again on fourth-and-six at its own 30-yard line, junior tailback Derek Coppola of North Reading broke loose for a 64-yard scamper before being hauled down by Chris Morales, who came all the way across the field to prevent a touchdown.

But on the next play fullback Patrick Higgins barreled in from a yard out, and St. John's had a 14-0 advantage with a minute left before intermission. Central Catholic answered back when Morales broke tackles to race 69 yards down the left sideline before being knocked out of bounds at the Prep 15, setting up a 23-yard field goal by Colin Burkardt with five seconds remaining.

"It's disappointing to give up points right before halftime," said O'Leary. "That's a well-coached team, and they like to do what they did in that half | only get points. We ran just six plays in that entire half.

"Our defense was on the field the whole time, and our offense was well-rested for the second half."

Coppola went 63 yards on the opening play of the third quarter to stake his team to a 20-3 lead. The junior gained 169 yards on 10 carries and later added another touchdown on an 8-yard run.

"My line gave me some good blocks, and the holes were there," said Coppola. "On the first long run Higgins was in at fullback and kicked out the corner. I don't know how that kid (Morales) was able to tackle me short of the end zone. I thought I was all alone."

The Raiders added two touchdowns, one late in the third quarter on a fourth down 30-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Shain Jowett to Mike Leavitt. Jowett was pressured and dumped a short pass to Leavitt, who did the rest. The final score came with 1:35 remaining in the game when Leavitt burst up the middle for an 11-yard touchdown run. Morales had to sit out almost all of the third quarter after suffering heat exhaustion, and his absence at linebacker was felt.

"What's frustrating about those two long gains is they ran that same play last week against Peabody," said Adamopoulos. "We practiced it all week, but still couldn't stop it."

0 Story Comments