By Jean DePlacido Correspondent
The Salem News
---- — MALDEN — Only 16 seconds had ticked off the clock before St. John’s Prep was off and running. The Eagles were on the board with the first of their six touchdowns in a 41-0 rout of Malden Catholic at Brother Gilbert Stadium.
Johnathan Thomas caught a pass from Jack Sharrio and raced 45 yards up the right sideline on the first play of the game. It was the first of three touchdowns for Thomas, who added two more on runs of 16 and 3 yards. He rushed for 154 yards on just seven carries, all in the first half to increase his season total to 1,243 with 10 rushing TD’s.
Alex Moore also had a banner night with touchdown runs of eight and 10 yards. He now has 743 yards rushing and a dozen TD’s. St. John’s gained 276 yards on the ground and 82 more in the air in a totally dominating performance. Coach Jim O’Leary went to his bench early and began subbing before halftime.
“We played everybody we brought around 70 kids,” said O’Leary after his team improved to 2-0 in the Catholic Conference and 7-1 overall. “That’s a good thing. We did what we needed to do. Johnny and Alex ran hard, and Sharrio threw the ball well (2-4-82 yards).
The early score had the Eagles off and running.
“It helped to score on the first play of the game, but give Malden Catholic credit. They were the underdog (2-6 overall, 0-4 in the league), but they hit pretty well. The game was close until late in the second quarter. They blitzed, but then we started to run right at them.”
Once again the Eagles offensive line opened up some big holes for the backs to run through, and fullback Greg Kobelski did a nice job blocking.
“A lot of us started on the line last year,” said captain James Fagan, who is the center and only senior on the O line. “We build off each other, and have been improving all season. It’s been a nice change this year after going 4-6. This is definitely fun.”
The Eagles had a 28-0 halftime cushion, scoring twice in less than two minutes late in the second quarter. They drove 91-yards in just five plays behind the running of Thomas and Moore. The Prep defense dug in to force a three-and-out, and two plays later St. John’s was in the end zone again. Thomas broke loose for a 52-yard scamper before being hauled down at the MC three-yard line. On the next play he capped the drive, and Stephen Camarro made all five extra point kicks he attempted.
The final touchdown run was a 25-yard run up the middle by freshman Ian Kessel for his second TD of the year. Defensively St. John’s totally dominated led by Lucas Bavaro, Sean Smerczynski, Corey Jean-Jacques, Tucker Mathers, Chris Newton, and R. J. Pizzano, who all swarmed Lancer running backs and quarterback Anthony Finocchiaro. Malden Catholic gained only 31 yards on the ground.
“They couldn’t handle Jean-Jacques (5’11”, 286 pounds) in the middle of the line,” said O’Leary. “We adjusted well to their unbalanced and wildcat and did that on the fly. It was nice to see our young freshman (Kessel) score. Penalties again were a problem, and that will bite us sometime. It comes from aggressive play, but we’ve got to avoid ones like the personal foul we were called for.
Next week is Senior Day at St. John’s when BC High comes to Cronin Stadium for the final home game.