LYNN — Still undefeated.
The Bishop Fenwick football team passed its toughest test yet with a 20-0 win over Catholic Central League rival St. Mary’s Saturday at Manning Field.
Fenwick, 5-0, scored just six points in the first half. But a pair of touchdown runs from David Cifuentes allowed the Crusaders to distance themselves in the second half.
“Anytime Fenwick and St. Mary’s play you know it’s going to be physical,” Crusaders coach Dave Woods said. “Both teams are going to give everything they have. Tip your hat off to them, they played great defensively. They did enough on offense to keep the ball away from us. They executed a great game plan. But we knew what we’d get — a tough, physical, hard-fought game.”
Cifuentes (130 rushing yards) scored all 20 of Fenwick’s points on three rushing touchdowns and a 2-point conversion rush.
“The offensive line was doing a good job,” Woods said. “We just kept giving it to David and feeding him. If we can cut out some of our penalties we might have some bigger numbers on offense. But overall we’re pretty happy with 20-0.”
The shutout was Fenwick’s first of the season.
“When you play that offense, all 11 guys have to read their keys,” Woods said. “In that first series they went down the field. We had linebackers over scraping, other guys that weren’t doing what they had to do. After that first series our guys tightened up.”
St. Mary’s struggled to move the chains after driving deep into Fenwick out of the gate. George Percy led the offense with 55 rushing yards and a 20-yard reception.
“George ran the ball hard,” Spartans coach Sean Driscoll said. “He carried the load on offense and defense. There’s something to be said about that.”
The story of the first quarter was St. Mary’s opening drive. St. Mary’s ate over eight minutes off the clock and moved the chains to Fenwick’s 13-yard line. But the Crusaders hung tough, forcing an incomplete pass on fourth down to squash the threat.
“We came out with a long drive on our first drive, moving the ball well right away,” Driscoll said. “We have to learn to be consistent and finish drives. We had a holding penalty erase a touchdown, we put our heads down and then we got stopped four plays after that.”
Fenwick wasted no time putting St. Mary’s defense on its heels. A 50-yard toss from Jason Romans to Jake Connolly carried Fenwick to St. Mary’s side of the field.
Cifuentes scored from four yards out on the first play of the second quarter, giving his Crusaders a 6-0 lead (PAT failed).
Then it became a defensive affair. The Crusaders stopped Derek O’Leary’s quarterback keeper short on 4th-and-4. St. Mary’s returned the favor a few minutes later when Nick Nowak intercepted a pass near midfield. After the Spartans went 3-and-out, Ethan Gonzalez’s blocked punt gave Fenwick a short field at St. Mary’s 28.
Again, the Spartans’ defense held tight thanks to Alec Colacitti’s interception at his own 8.
Fenwick missed a 30-yard field goal attempt in the closing seconds of the half and it remained 6-0 at recess.
An onside kick to start the second half, recovered by Fenwick, gave the Crusaders another short field. They cashed in on Cifuentes’ 1-yard plunge (Cifuentes rush), bumping the lead to 14-0. Cifuentes sealed the deal with a 3-yard touchdown carry midway through the fourth quarter (conversion failed).
“(Cifuentes) is big, strong and he’s got speed,” Driscoll said. “We preached all week about containing him and slowing him down a bit. At times we did that and at times we didn’t. That’s a good team across the board. I’m proud of the way we hung with them physically.”
St. Mary’s (2-2) travels to Williams Friday (6).
“Sometimes you say ‘nothing good comes from losses’ but we’ve played two physical teams the last two games and we’ve hung around a bit,” Driscoll said. “Hopefully we can build on this.”
Fenwick hosts BC High Friday (7).