LOWELL — All season long the stingy St. John’s Prep defense has held its opponents at bay. The Eagles faced their toughest test of the year in the Division 1 playoff semifinal against Andover last night at Cawley Stadium and it was a bend, but do not break effort that held the Golden Warriors scoreless in the first half on three trips to the red zone.
Johnathan Thomas took over in the second half with three touchdown runs and 208 yards rushing on 28 carries, as the Eagles came away witha 21-0 win.
The win was the 200th for Prep coach Jim O’Leary, and after the game his players held up numbers reading 200 as the happy team gathered around their coach as parents took a team picture.
St. John’s is going back to the Super Bowl for the second time in the last three years, and will have a rematch with a Brockton team they defeated earlier in the season, 27-12.
“I never know what my record is,” said O’Leary. “I don’t keep track of those things, but the kids have been talking about it. It’s not about me, it’s all about the kids, and much more important that we won this game to move on to the Super Bowl than any number for me. My 201st will be more important. I hope it comes on Saturday night, but I am glad I reached this milestone with this group of kids.”
Andover’s first drive stalled at the Prep 22-yard line when quarterback C. J. Scarpa was rushed by Anthony Bongiorno on fourth down, and his pass fell incomplete. The next time they had the ball, Oliver Eberth’s 29-yard field goal attempt was wide left. St. John’s took over on its 20, but on the first play fumbled and Andover recovered.