Bishop Fenwick Crusaders Football '07

Sat, Oct 27, 2007 04:00 PM @ St. Mary's Lynn
Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Bishop Fenwick 19 7 7 0 33
St. Mary's Lynn 8 0 6 8 22

Bishop Fenwick football turns back St. Mary's

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Saturday, October, 27 By Mike Grenier
Staff writer

LYNN | Manning Field seemed like a forbidding place for the Bishop Fenwick football team to revive its season Saturday.

It was a dark, dreary atmosphere, with the skies threatening a downpour throughout the afternoon, and the shaky Crusaders were fighting a two-game losing streak in which they had been burned for a total of 64 points.

But high school athletes are a resilient bunch. It's hard to keep them down for very long, as the Crusaders proved in a much-needed 33-22 win that hiked their record to 4-4 overall.

Coach Dave Woods would be the first to say that the execution wasn't always pretty, but his Crusaders played hungry on offense and defense and they had the Swing Factor on their side. The Swing Factor is senior running back Bobby Tarr and anybody who has seen Bishop Fenwick play for the last couple of years knows how quickly the Swing Factor can change the complexion of a game.

Tarr carried the ball 25 times for 230 yards and four touchdowns against the Spartans, who simply couldn't match Bishop Fenwick's offensive pace.

"We needed this one for a morale boost," said Tarr. "I really didn't have to do much today," he added, waving off any suggestion that he might've had a spectacular game. "The offensive line did all the work. The holes were there for me all day."

Tarr isn't shy about carrying the load for his team, but he hates it when the postgame story revolves around him.

This time Tarr did get plenty of help from his teammates at crucial times. On a play that ignited the Crusaders on the field and on the sidelines, junior quarterback John Baker made a nifty ball fake to Tarr and unloaded a pass to junior tight end Cody Johnson, who turned it into a 91-yard touchdown that gave Bishop Fenwick a 26-8 lead with 1:29 left in the first half.

If there was one play that crushed the Spartans' spirit, Johnson's touchdown did it. Making it even more special was the fact that it was the first catch of the season for the 6-foot-3, 245 pound tight end from Beverly, who has been derailed by injuries all season.

"Seeing him score was 10 times more exciting than any of my touchdowns," Tarr said of Johnson's play. "He had to have the wheels to take it all the way. I was definitely thrilled for him and it got our bench going, too."

Bishop Fenwick's defense leaked at various times, especially against the pass | St. Mary's quarterbacks John LaMothe and Shaun Kehoe combined for 131 yards and two TD tosses | but it also helped turned the game around.

The Crusaders played superb red zone defense late in the first half, forcing St. Mary's to give it up at the Bishop Fenwick 4-yard line, and the visitors soon capitalized with the 91-yard touchdown pass to Johnson. So instead of a precarious 19-14 or 19-16 halftime lead, it was 26-8. That qualifies as a huge difference

St. Mary's then began the second half with an electrifying Tim Ray kickoff return inside the Bishop Fenwick 10, but the Crusaders defense turned super aggressive, sacking LaMothe three times for minus 24 yards. Bishop Fenwick took over on down at its own 30.

"The defensive stand to start the second half was really big," said Bishop Fenwick coach Dave Woods. "St. Mary's got it down to our five or whatever and we held our ground right there. We had a couple of stops like that today. You have to have a good defense to make those stands. It shows you we've got the players, but we struggled with our tackling at different times. We have to tackle better."

Proper tackling and defensive execution remains a prime concern for Woods as his team prepares for the stretch run against Catholic Central League foes Archbishop Williams, Cardinal Spellman and Austin Prep. But beating St. Mary's (1-7) was a step in the right direction.

"We're 1-1 in our (CCL) division," said Woods. "We're just trying to stay alive."

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