By Jean DePlacido
---- — DANVERS — The Homecoming festivities at St. John’s Prep were spoiled by nemesis Everett Saturday afternoon, who shocked the Eagles by putting three touchdowns on the board before halftime en route to a 35-14 victory.
But the biggest loss for the Eagles came early in the third quarter when the state’s best running back, Maryland-bound Johnathan Thomas, injured his right knee when he was tackled after an 8-yard gain. He was able to walk off the field, but was limping noticeably and did not return to action.
“He was checked out by the doctor and will have an MRI,” said Prep head coach Jim O’Leary after the game. “I’m not a doctor so I don’t know the extent of the injury.”
Thomas, who gained 98 yards on 19 carries in just over two quarters Saturday, is the second member of the Eagles’ backfield to get hurt this season. Senior fullback Greg Kobelski dislocated his shoulder two weeks ago in a win over Central Catholic and is gone for the season. Should Thomas miss any significant time, it would be a huge blow to St. John’s Prep (now 2-2).
Mistakes early on proved costly for St. John’s. After they turned the ball over on downs at the Everett 36-yard line, the visiting Tide drove 64 yards with its newest weapon, Lynn English transfer Isiah Davis, scoring from 16 yards out. Davis barreled in from the 1 three plays after after St. John’s fumbled the kickoff return and Everett recovered.
“This was an amazing welcome for me,” said Davis. “I experienced a brand new team, and they experienced a brand new me. I’ve been practicing with them for two weeks and couldn’t wait for a game.”
O’Leary was not pleased with the way his team played in the early going, digging a hole they couldn’t climb out of.
“You can’t spot them points like we did,” said O’Leary. “This reminded me of the B-R game (when the Prep fell behind Bridgewater-Raynham, 20-0, in this year’s season opener).
“We have a good football team, but can’t beat ourselves with turnovers and penalties that kill drives. We need to get first downs to control the ball.”
Everett controlled the line of scrimmage and ran the wishbone offense at times.
The two-minute drill worked well for St. John’s at the end of the first half when quarterback Mike Geaslen (10-for-22, 168 yards passing) completed passes of 25 yards to Logan Mahoney and 39 yards to Jake Burt before hitting Owen Rockett with a 5-yard TD pass to cut the lead to 21-7.
After Thomas went down, junior Cody Harwood took over in the Prep backfield and scored to make it 21-14, but Everett responded with two touchdowns to put the game away.
The Eagles went with two tight ends in motion and used Burt as the H-back without Kobelski.