The offense was firing on all cylinders but it was the Eagles defense, as it had done all year, that set the tone. Defensive ends Tucker Mathers (two tackles and 1 1/2 sacks) and Anthony Bongiorno (two tackles and a QB hurry) did an excellent job of containing the strong side while crashing backside to keep Roberts from breaking loose. The defensive line of senior Corey Jean-Jacques (4 1/2 tackles) and Newton helped shut down any runs up the middle, while backers Smerczynski (six tackles), Bavaro (5 1/2 tackles) and senior RJ Pizzano (two tackles) remained disciplined against a tough, triple option offense.
“That was the whole plan, catch him (Roberts) backside and make him feel really uncomfortable,” Mathers said. “Scare him.”
Peabody Raiders Youth Football player James Taylor was delighted to be water boy for the championship game. He was right in the thick of things watching his favorite team win. Taylor also played a big role in his youth team winning the Super Bowl a few weeks ago.
Not only was it a bad night for Brockton with St. John’s dominating play right from the start, but the Boxers lost junior running back/linebacker Zach Kessler just over four minutes before halftime when he was gang-tackled by three Prep players as he fielded an onside kick. Kessler had to be taken off the field on a stretcher.
Just how bad the night was going to be for Boxer players and fans came during the halftime show when a band member suffered a leg injury and had to be helped off the field during the performance. The halftime show put on by the large Brockton band is always a highlight for fans, and didn’t disappoint on a cold, icy December night on the turf field at Bentley.
For Thomas, who capped off his tremendous junior season with a rushing touchdown and a TD-catch, the win was all about the senior class.