“It’s always been this kind of game, and that’s a testament to our coaching staff and their coaching staff. We scout each other every game and know all there is to know about the other team. It comes down to turnovers, breaks and making plays.”
Cody Harwood had a big game rushing the football for St. John’s with 205 yards and a touchdown while Lambert rushed for 48 yards.
It was a costly victory for Xaverian, which lost five players to injury in the first half. Star running back Shayne Kaminski (who had 100 yards on 5 carries including an 85-yard TD run on the second play from scrimmage) and fullback Kenny Kern are now big question marks for Xaverian heading into its Dec. 7 Division 1 Super Bowl date with Central Catholic.
“Right now it looks doubtful, but that’s football,” said Xaverian coach Charlie Stevenson. “I had no thought about not going with our best players (against St. John’s); they all wanted to play. I don’t understand why people think Thanksgiving isn’t important any longer because we’ve got a state championship game coming up.”
St. John’s was able to move the ball on the ground and in the air. In the first quarter they drove to the Xaverian goal line before fumbling. The ball was batted around and finally kicked forward by the Hawks before going out of bounds, but it was ruled it had crossed the end zone and St. John’s got on the board with a safety.
On the ensuing kickoff the Eagles’ Michael Fawehinmi returned it 85 yards right down the middle of the field for a score, putting his team ahead 9-6. The hosts took a 16-6 lead early in the second quarter when Harwood broke loose for a 46-yard scamper.
Xaverian made the most of an interception, closing the gap to 16-13 on a Farrell to Damion Wood 60-yard pass. “That was a 14-point turnaround,” said O’Leary. “We were going in for a score when the ball was tipped up, and they came back to score.