DANVERS — The campus of St. John’s Prep was festooned with homecoming regalia Saturday, with the sun — which had just emerged from a morning cloud bank — accentuating the foliage that has begun to emerge.
It was all systems go for a more festive homecoming game until BC High’s Caleb Moody took the opening kick and ran it back through the middle 86 yards for a touchdown.
No worries, though. The Prep scored the next 40 points — all of them before halftime — and the home Eagles rolled to a 40-19 Catholic Conference win over the visiting Eagles.
The win puts The Prep a 5-1 on the season heading toward Friday night’s game (7) at Bridgewater-Raynham.
“That certainly wasn’t the way we drew it up,” said St. John’s coach Brian St. Pierre. “It was a tough start.”
However, the Prep defense showed up to play Saturday. The St. John’s D sacked BC High quarterback Bobby Wiesenhahn five times, and picked him off three other times (one of them, by Colton Tangney, a pick-six that effectively answered the kick return).
The only time St. John’s punted was also the only time it started a drive on its own side of the 50. Of the touchdowns The Prep scored, other than the interception and the last one, the drives started, respectively, on the BC High 16, 33, 9, 35. And even on that last touchdown, St. John’s got the ball on its own 46 to start the drive.
“Our defense dominated,” said St. Pierre. “We really came to play. It was good to have Tangney back too. He’s been out with an injury and he adds a lot when he’s back.”
It was also good to have Trent Tully back. Tully suffered a concussion in The Prep’s loss at Everett, and Saturday was his first game back. It turns out St. John’s needed him too when Aise Pream went down with an ankle sprain in the second quarter. From that point on, Tully ran for 71 yards on10 carries, all but four in the first half. He also threw a halfback-option pass for a touchdown.
After the kick return, St. John’s gave the ball back to BC High on the visiting Eagles’ 21. It took only one play for Wiesenhahn’s pass to tip and for Tangey to collect it at the 38 and run it in for the score.
A bad snap set up Prep field position on the BC High 16, and three plays later, all runs by Pream, he scored on a 2-yard run.
The drumbeat really got strong in the second quarter as Prep quarterback Matt Crowley ran one in from the 2-yard line to make the score 20-7. In rapid-fire succession, Tully found Max Freedman for a 9-yard option pass for a score (27-7), Crowley hit Wes Rockett on a screen that the speedy receiver took 35 yards to make it 33-7.
Crowley scored his second touchdown of the game with 30 seconds left in the half and St. John’s led 40-7 at the break.
BC High scored twice in the second half, once in the third quarter on Brendan Cassamajor’ 7-yard run; and again in the fourth period when Wiesenhahn found Andrew Sullivan for a 15-yarder.