LYNN — It just wasn’t the St. Mary’s football team’s night. The Spartans didn’t put forth their best performance in any phase of the game and Catholic Memorial pounced with a 42-14 win Friday over the Spartans at Manning Field.
“Right off the get-go, when you’re playing against a good team you need some breaks right away,” Spartans coach Sean Driscoll said. “We won the toss, we took the ball. If I had to rethink it, I might’ve deferred. At the same time, we wanted to keep them off the field. We couldn’t move the ball offensively.
“We never got momentum going,” Driscoll added. “For us to be good we have to move the football.”
Catholic Memorial, guided by former Everett coach John DiBiaso, fumbled on its opening drive and proceeded to score on each of its next five possessions.
“As bad as the score looks we did some good things, which I’m proud of the kids for,” Driscoll said. “We missed a tackle here and there. One bad angle, it was a bunch of stuff. They hit us with a couple passes early, we had to readjust. We tried to match their physicality. But we have to move the ball. We couldn’t move the ball tonight.”
The Spartans were scoreless at halftime before Patrick Henry put them on the board with a 27-yard touchdown on an interception return. George Freeman carried in a 62-yard touchdown run two and a half minutes later.
Knights quarterback Barrett Pratt tossed a 7-yard pass to Darius LeClair for the game’s first touchdown with 4:14 to play in the opening quarter. LeClair added an 8-yard touchdown rush in the closing seconds of the quarter. Matt Sokol split the uprights on both PAT’s and the Knights led 14-0 at the end of the first quarter.
The Knights added 21 points to their lead in the second quarter. LeClair scored his third touchdown of the night on a 19-yard rush with 7:18 on the clock. Zach Mitchell ran in a touchdown from five yards out and Pratt linked up with Hunter Tully for a 4-yard touchdown strike. Sokol cashed in on all three PAT’s. At halftime, Catholic Memorial led 35-0 with full control.
“I think they’re so multiple,” Driscoll said. “One minute they’re running the football out of one formation. They go no-huddle, they can wear you down a little bit. They can hit you, they can pick their spots. (DiBiaso’s) a good coach. He knows what he can do with his team.”
Refusing to quit, St. Mary’s scored twice in the third quarter. Henry returned an interception 27 yards to the end zone and Freeman booted the PAT with 9:21 on the clock. On St. Mary’s next possession, Freeman found an open lane along the sideline and ran in a 62-yard touchdown to slim Catholic Memorial’s lead to 35-14 (Freeman PAT).
“I’m proud of our kids for hanging in there,” Driscoll said. “(Catholic Memorial’s) going to go far. I think it was a good matchup in the sense that hopefully it got us better. We’ll watch the film and see what we’ve got.”
Pratt stopped St. Mary’s momentum with a 16-yard scramble into the end zone. Zokol’s PAT capped the scoring for the 42-14 final as both teams emptied their benches in a scoreless fourth quarter.
St. Mary’s opens its Catholic Central League schedule next Saturday night (7) when the Spartans host Cardinal Spellman at Manning.