By Jean DePlacido
---- — When the St. John’s Prep and Brockton High football teams meet in tomorrow’s Division 1 Super Bowl at Bentley University in Waltham (6 p.m.), there won’t be many secrets they don’t know about each other.
The Boxers are a regular on the Prep’s schedule; the two teams met exactly nine weeks ago and the visiting Eagles prevailed, 27-12, on a raw and rainy night. Tailback Johnathan Thomas ran wild for the Prep (221 yards, 3 touchdowns) while senior Alex Moore had 134 yards on a dozen carries, including a 70-yard TD run. In addition, Brockton quarterback Austin Roberts suffered two fractures in his vertebrae when he rushed in for the second Brockton TD to put his team up, 12-6, early in the second quarter.
“I’m expecting a very physical, tough football team (tomorrow),” said Brockton coach Peter Colombo, whose 9-3 club has won six straight games. “I have huge respect for St. John’s Prep. We’ve been playing them for decades and have had some tremendous battles. This year they have the best backfield tandem in the state in Thomas and Moore.
“After we lost Roberts against St. John’s we had a bit of a slide, but he’s back now. We’re playing well since we got our leader back.“
In 11 regular season games, Brockton averaged 24.5 points per game and allowed 10.6. They rolled over Weymouth in the playoff semifinal round Tuesday night (33-7) at the same time the Prep was blanking Andover (21-0).
This marks the second time the two teams have squared off in the Super Bowl. In 1991 the Boxers — who lost an overtime game at St. John’s Prep during the regular season, won the rematch, 13-7, at Boston University’s Nickerson Field.
“I think if it’s a high-scoring game we’re in trouble,” said Colombo. “Both teams have a lot of offensive weapons, but I expect this to be a defensive battle. We need to contain their running backs and prevent long runs.”
Fresh off of his 200th career victory Tuesday night, Prep head coach Jim O’Leary knows Brockton’s offense will present a problem tomorrow. But he’s counting on his stingy defense, which has shut out its last two foes (including Xaverian) to shut down the Big 3 champions. The Boxers run a double wing option extremely well, using their speed to quickly get outside for big gains.
“Brockton creates a unique situation with their offense, and Roberts runs the option as well as anybody,” said O’Leary. “They went right down the field and scored two touchdowns against us before (Roberts’ injury). They’re very athletic and they have changed a few things up since we saw them.
“I think it will be our defense against their offense. We want to get our offensive stuff going, (but) our defense is the key. And offensively we have to be patient; Andover blitzed, blitzed, blitzed and made some plays early, but we wore them down. We do that to a lot of teams; two-platooning our offensive and defensive guys helps.”
Lately, the Eagles have been using Thomas more on defense at linebacker because he is such an asset there.
“We want him to be fresh for the offense, but he is such a good defensive player that we’ve plugged him in there at times,” said O’Leary. “(Linebacker) R.J. Pizzano didn’t play much against Andover, but he’ll be in there (tomorrow) because of the matchup against Brockton. They’re a running team and like to run out on the edge.
“When we played them earlier we didn’t throw the ball once, but now we’ve been putting the ball up 10 to 12 times a game. We made a living for about 10 years on the option, but you don’t see a lot of it anymore.”
O’Leary said he would prefer going against a spread or straight I-formation team, but it still comes down to the basics.
“It’s still block and tackle,” he said. “Brockton has it going pretty good now; they beat up on Bridgewater-Raynham (Prep also won, 20-7 against BR). We’re playing 10 minute quarters again, and we’d like to score early.
“They feel if Roberts didn’t get hurt (in the first game), it could have been a different outcome. Maybe it would have been a 40-40 shootout. Who knows?”
ST. JOHN'S PREP OFFENSE No. Name Yr. Position 50 James Fagan Sr. C 70 Kent Blaeser Jr. RG 60 Dom Hooven Jr. LG 78 Sean Hoey Jr. RT 72 Jacob Palmer Soph. LT 85 Anthony Bongiorno Sr. TE 89 Zach Burt Sr. TE 5 Lucas Bavaro Sr. SE 2 Jack Sharrio Sr. QB 1 Johnathan Thomas Jr. RB 27 Alex Moore Sr. RB ST. JOHN'S PREP DEFENSE No. Name Yr. Position 35 Tucker Mathers Sr. RDE 85 Anthony Bongiorno Sr. LDE 74 Corey Jean-Jacques Sr. LDT 63 Chris Newton Sr. RDT 44 Sean Smerczynski Jr. ILB 40 R.J. Pizzano Sr. ILB 27 Alex Moore Sr. OLB 5 Lucas Bavaro Sr. OLB 22 Michael Fawehinmi Jr. CB 10 Gerald Kahari Sr. CB 8 Conor Powers Sr. S BROCKTON OFFENSE No. Name Yr. Position 55 Matt Adams Sr. C 56 Joe Previte Sr. RG 50 Rodney Thomas Sr. LG 52 Anthony Davis Sr. RT 73 Marc Accelon Sr. LT 85 Dean Vacca Jr. TE 83 De'Andre Brown Sr. SE 4 Austin Roberts Sr. QB 1 Moise Edouard Sr. RB 6 Micah Morel Sr. RB 33 Ricardo Calixte Sr. FB BROCKTON DEFENSE No. Name Yr. Position 10 Max Castor Sr. LDE 8 Jepththe Celestin Sr. RDE 84 Justin Ahanon Jr. LDT 54 Malik Cooley-Walker Sr. RDT 47 Ryan Kelley Sr. ILB 37 Kervin Jean-Claude Jr. ILB 1 Moise Edouard Sr. OLB 38 Cawin Dixon Soph. OLB 24 Jimmeale Aliue Sr. CB 6 Micah Morel Sr. CB 83 De'Andre Brown Sr. S