DANVERS – For what seems like the 100th time, it’ll all come down to Thanksgiving Day for the St. John’s Prep football team.
After knocking off Catholic Conference rival B.C. High Saturday afternoon, 21-16, on Senior Day at Cronin Field, the Eagles will face their long-time rivals from Xaverian on the holiday to determine which squad wins the league title and moves on to the state playoffs. Both teams will enter the final game of the regular season with 3-0 league records.
Junior Johnathan Thomas was the difference maker for St. John’s Prep Saturday, scoring two touchdowns and gaining 174 yards on 26 carries. He also caught two Jack Sharrio passes to put him over 200 yards of total offense.
“We knew B.C. High was going to be very tough,” said Prep head coach Jim O’Leary, whose team is now 9-1 overall. “They are healthy now after having a bunch of injuries, and there’s a reason why they were (once) ranked No. 2 in the state. Their backs were to the wall, but they were still in the hunt for the league championship with a win.
“Our slow start was frustrating, but a lot of it wasn’t us as much as how they played. Over the years our games with B.C. High (3-6 overall, 1-2 in league play) have always been close, coming down to a field goal or a missed tackle in the last seconds. We knew this was not going to be (easy); it took determination, and the boys were able to put it together.”
St. John’s got off to a slow start and trailed 3-0 when Jackson Bockhurst booted a 35-yard field goal on the visitors’ first possession. After a big defensive stop on fourth down in which Corey Jean-Jacques tackled B.C. High quarterback Dan Collins for no gain at the Prep 29-yard line, the hosts took over.