By Jean DePlacido Correspondent
The Salem News
---- — BRIDGEWATER — Bridgewater-Raynham was intent on stopping St. John’s Prep junior Jonathan Thomas on Saturday afternoon.
But it was fellow running back Alex Moore that did the Trojans in.
The senior captain had a monster game, scoring all three touchdowns as the Eagles prevailed, 20-7.
Moore carried the football eight times for 160 yards, including touchdown runs of 89 and 62 yards. He also caught three passes for 72 yards, highlighted by a 35-yard TD catch.
He put the game out of reach for St. John’s Prep (4-1) with just under six minutes remaining when he broke up the left sideline for his 62-yard scoring jaunt. On B-R’s next possession, he picked off a Jordan Cohen pass to ice it.
“I bounced it to the outside, shed a tackle and then used my speed to avoid being caught,” Moore said of his second rushing TD.
“We expected Bridgewater-Raynham to be a big, powerful team. They were doing a good job shutting us down up the middle, so we had to try the outside.”
The Eagles (4-1) may have been late arriving because of early morning SAT exams (the game was delayed 20 minutes to allow them time to warm up), but once they stepped on the field, it was all business. The first time St. John’s had possession, they drove 76 yards in just four plays to take a lead they never relinquished.
Thomas (121 yards on 14 carries) broke tackles and carried four defenders on his back for a 17-yard gain, and on the next play Jack Sharrio passed to Moore for a 35-yard score. After Stephen Camarro kicked the extra point, the Eagles led, 7-0, with just over a minute left in the opening quarter.
“We knew we were going to have our hands full,” said Prep coach Jim O’Leary. “That No. 42 (B-R sophomore Brandon Gallagher, who rushed for 90 yards and a TD) runs hard. We had to be able to spread the field to get people out of the box.”
St. John’s clung to that 7-0 lead at halftime even though the Trojans dominated time of possession and threatened to get on the board a couple of times. B-R fumbled the ball away at the Prep 29-yard line after a 30-yard run by Gallagher, and just before halftime Kevin Wadsworth attempted a 38-yard field goal that was no good.
Those missed opportunities proved costly when Moore broke outside for an 89-yard TD run to open the third quarter. The touchdown came out of the Wildcat formation, a new look the Eagles had not shown before this season.
“That’s what Everett did to us (two weeks ago), so I figured we might as well try it,” O’Leary said. “We used it a couple of times inside against Brockton, but this time we went unbalanced and pitched to the outside.”
St. John’s had close to 400 total yards of offense, with Sharrio completing 7 of 11 passes for 104 yards with one touchdown and an interception.
Bridgewater-Raynham (3-2), which plays in the Old Colony League, closed the gap to 14-7 late in the third quarter with a 7-play, 36-yard drive capped by a 3-yard run by Gallagher.
Prep junior linebacker Sean Smerczynski was a big factor in stopping Gallagher from getting even more yards. The sophomore carried the ball 17 times, but Smerczynski had a few big stops to force B-R to punt. Gerald Kahari and Michael Fawehinmi did an outstanding job breaking up passes for the Eagles, as well.