St. John's Eagles Football '07

Sat, Sep 15, 2007 07:00 PM @ Central Catholic
Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
St. John's 6 6 0 0 12
Central Catholic 0 0 0 0 0
Central Catholic's Cameron Fisichelli tries to keep the ball away from St. John Prep's Griffin Cardew during last night's game at Lawrence Stadium. The Eagles defeated the Raiders, 12-0.  » Deborah Hammond, Staff PhotographerMore photos

St. Johns pounces on Central miscues, takes showdown

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Saturday, September, 15 By Hector Longo
Staff writer

If the physically-depleted Central Catholic football team had any margin for error offensively, a stingy, ball-hawking group from St. John's Prep stole it away.

The Eagles posted shutout No. 2 in as many games, holding the Raiders to a meager 133 yards of offense in a 12-0 whitewash before about 1,000 fans at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

"It's mental more than physical," said Raider coach Chuck Adamopoulos, whose club again missed three two-way starters including all-scholastic rusher Mike Leavitt. "For us to beat good teams, we have to play better offensively than we did tonight. We've got to clean up some stuff, wrong formations, people not running the right routes. That's stuff we can clean up."

Offensively, St. John's wasn't a whole lot better, muscling out 173 yards. What the Eagles were, though, were opportunistic.

"We had a fumbled punt that gave them field position (for the first score), and we took a bad penalty that kept their (second TD) drive alive," said Adamopoulos.

In business at the Eagle 46, the Prep maneuvered 54 yards for the first score of the night.

Senior QB Scott Darby converted when he needed, clicking for first-down completions to Peter Neal for 21 on fourth-and-six and to Merrimac fullback Patrick Higgins for a dozen on fourth-and-10.

Darby then took care of business on a keeper from the 9, making it 6-0 early with 3:47 left in the opening quarter. "The pass was there when we needed it," said Darby, just 3 of 11 but for 49 precious first-half yards. "After we hit a couple, it helped the running game, too."

St. John's moved 56 yards midway through the second quarter to pad the advantage, again pouncing on a Raider miscue | albeit an aggressive one.

Darby's option pitch on third-and-four from the Central 33 hit the turf and Prep halfback Derek Coppola of North Reading pounced on it for a 4-yard loss. Unfortunately for Central, one ball-hungry Raider pounced on Coppola, a bit too boisterously than the official might have liked and the flag flew.

Instead of a third-and-eight at the 37, it was first down Eagles at the Central 21.

Darby hit Coppola, who made an amazing grab at the Raider 5, and two plays later Brendon Felder beat Central to the pylon for a 12-0 lead.

"This is big for us," said Darby. "They're not in our conference, but they might as well be. That's a good win over a good team over there. I'd say it's one of the, if not the, hardest hitting defense we'll see. And that says a lot, considering our schedule."

Central had a handful of heroes, throwing wrenches into the Prep offense.

John DiBitetto, Justin Narbonne and Edrian Mendez were busy all night long in the secondary and made some big hits in the running game as well. Up front, junior Michael Garcia had a pair of sacks and Curtis Davis was a pest inside all night, leading the Raiders with 11 tackles.

Coppola earned his 50 yards on 17 carries. Higgins chewed out 28 yards on eight rushes.

Central's Shain Jowett finished the night hitting 6 of 18 passes for 70 yards with a pair of interceptions. The Raiders managed only seven first downs (one in the first half) and were just two of 10 on third or fourth-down conversions.

In addition, St. John's held the ball for 29:14, compared to Central's 18:46.

"We played good defense," said Adamopoulos. "They had field position all night. It was a pretty good effort."

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