By Dan Harrison
---- — BURLINGTON — The North Shore Tech football team needed a little game time to adjust to the speed of Cathedral in the Division 4A semifinals last night.
Unfortunately, a little game time is all the Panthers needed to break away from the Bulldogs for good.
Cathedral scored three unanswered touchdowns in the first half en route to a 30-14 win over a North Shore Tech team that simply wasn’t built to play from so far behind. Sophomore quarterback Kejonte Hickman used his speed to get to the outside consistently in the first half when he rushed for 175 yards and two touchdowns.
“We couldn’t catch up to their speed. You can’t duplicate that speed in practice. We knew what they were doing and our kids (eventually) caught up to the speed but that was really the game,” said North Shore Tech (8-4) coach Paul Worth. “Their offensive line is a senior veteran group and blocked really well but their speed, we couldn’t catch up to it in the beginning. You’d like to have it over to do again but you can’t.”
Andrew Gallione nearly intercepted Hickman on the Panthers (10-2) first drive but saw the ball slip through his hands. The next play, Hickman converted a third-and-long on a 29-yard run down to the Bulldog 4-yard line. Two plays later, Jermal Bervard-Jackson rushed his way in from a yard out to give the Panthers the lead just four minutes into the game. Jackson would add a 4-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
“That was our game plan,” explained Cathedral head coach Duane Sigsbury, who hoped to see his Panthers score first. “We wanted to take the ball and get out front first to make them (NST) have to play from behind because their offense wanted to do what we did — get up and eat the clock.”
Hickman scored back-to-back touchdowns on runs of 55 yards and then 51 and the Panthers nearly scored a fourth time before the half but the Bulldogs dug their heels in with a nice defensive stand.
Ross Murphy scored a 1-yard touchdown run at the end of the third quarter as Worth opted to go to the pass in the second half which opened up the middle some for Murphy.
Murphy would add a late, 2-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter after a spectacular 43-yard run by Dan Bailey. Bailey and Skane (four rushes for 51 yards in the second half) were strong on both sides of the ball for North Shore Tech. Bailey, who nearly tackled Hickman in the backfield on the latter’s 51-yard score, did have three tackles for a loss including a big stuff of Hickman on fourth down in the fourth quarter.
Bailey, Skane and the rest of the defensive unit played with pride in the second half allowing Hickman to rush for only 30 yards rushing.
The 12-man senior class isn’t moving on to the Super Bowl, but the group did accomplish something worth bragging about — turning what had been a 2-9 team last year into a playoff contender.
“They (the seniors) had a great season. I’m proud of them,” noted Worth. “It stinks going down like this and losing, but there is only a couple teams (in the state) that end up winning in the end. The season was still a successful one. We turned a corner and I’m pretty proud of the way we played.”
Cathedral 30, North Shore Tech 14
at Varsity Field, Burlington
Cathedral (10-2) 16 6 0 8 — 30
North Shore Tech (8-4 0 0 6 8 — 14
C-Jermal Brevard-Jackson 1 run (Kejonte Hickman rush)
C-Hickman 55 run (Brevard-Jackson pass from Kadeem Edge)
C-Hickman 51 run (pass failed)
NS-Ross Murphy 1 run (pass failed)
C-Brevard-Jackson 4 run (Elijah Marcelo rush)
NS-Murphy 2 run (Dan Bailey rush)
RUSHING: North Shore Tech — Tyler Skane 6-57, Ross Murphy 13-44, Dan Bailey 1-43, Chris Sudak 4-20, Jared Farese 1-13, Tim Anderson 5-11, Jordany Sanchez 1-6, Jasmany Sanchez 2-5, Ian LeFavour 2-(-3); Cathedral — Kejonte Hickman 20-205, Jermal Brevard-Jackson 17-108, Bryan Cedeno 2-20, Sage Philippe 1-0.
PASSING: North Shore Tech — Anderson 2-12-27-0-0; Cathedral — Hickman 4-9-33-0-0.
RECEIVING: North Shore Tech — Bryan Jackson 1-20, Farese 1-7; Cathedral — Kadeem Edge 3-26, Trehme Haney 1-7.