BOSTON — Saturday afternoon marked the close of a tale of two different weeks for the St. John’s Prep football team.
It wasn’t an offensive clinic by any stretch, but the Eagles struck for the one big play they needed and held strong en route to pitching a 10-0 shutout against Catholic Conference rival BC High at James Cotter Field.
“Our defense won the day,” said Prep head coach Brian St. Pierre, whose team now stands at 6-1 on the season. “We pride ourselves on playing pretty good defense around here. Last week, CM scores a bunch of points (in a 34-32 loss), but this was a much different type of game.”
Before Prep’s defense even got to work, intercepting BC High quarterback Bobby Wiesenhahn three times, sacking him three times and recovering a fumble, the visitors scored the only points they needed on a Liam Fabbri field goal. The 31-yard kick capped off a long drive that spanned nearly half of the first quarter, ending with 6:19 left.
The game was then a defensive struggle for several series, with Prep’s defense forcing two punts before the end of the first quarter. St. John’s quarterback Matt Crowley’s first drive of the second stanza stalled after a 15-yard pass to Matt Duchemin, but the same two seniors connected for the game’s only touchdown after one of Collin Taylor’s two sacks and an incomplete pass gave the visitors the ball back.
Though a false start penalty backed the Eagles up on second down, Crowley found his open receiver. Duchemin broke free for a 51-yard scoring run, and Fabbri followed with the extra point.
“It was our quarterback making a play. He broke their contain, so that’s just two senior captains hooking up and knowing each other well,” said St. Pierre. “A pretty pivotal play, I’d say.”
Offensively, that pivotal play was all the Prep managed or would need. Taylor and the rest of the defense stood tall.
“I felt like we (made some offensive plays) early, but then the whole game got tightened up,” said St. Pierre. “We just tried to survive and get out of here with our heads up, and fortunately we were able to because of the defense.”
The hosts opened the second half with five consecutive handoffs to running back Sean Benson, but Prep senior Tripp Clark’s pick turned the ball back over on that series. Fabbri missed a field goal at the end of a 7-play drive that included a long Pat Nistl gain for the Prep, but an interception was also the result of the ensuing, penultimate BC High drive.
Wiesenhahn completed seven passes on a game-ending drive that began at BC High’s own 1-yard line, but time expired before the home team cracked into the red zone.
St. John’s enters a bye week before the Division 1 North playoffs begin Nov. 1.
“It wasn’t our best week coming off the loss to CM,” said St. Pierre. “That was a great game and we gave so much and it looked like we didn’t have a lot left in the tank on offense, but that’s not acceptable.
“We have a bye week to figure it out, we’ll see where we are in the playoff seeding and go from there.”