, Salem, MA


September 7, 2013

New QB Geaslen, St. John's Prep ready to begin season today

When St. John’s Prep opens its 2013 football season this afternoon at Cronin Stadium against Bridgewater-Raynham (1:30 p.m.), there will be a new quarterback calling the signals.

Senior Michael Geaslen has been playing the backup role and waiting for his turn to take over. He saw action in the second half of many games last fall after the Eagles had built a healthy lead — but not in situations where he threw the ball.

“He took every snap in practice the week before the playoff game with Andover last year,” said St. John’s Prep coach Jim O’Leary. “If (then-starting QB) Jack Sharrio couldn’t go (because of an injury), we had complete confidence in Geaslen. He knows the system and is well prepared. That wasn’t the case two years ago when (returning starter) Tommy Gaudet was injured in the first game of the season and Sharrio had to step in unexpectedly.”

The wide receivers Geaslen will be throwing to have looked very impressive in preseason; they are some big targets in an offense that intends to put the ball in the air more than in previous years to force teams out of the box. Opponents know senior tailback Johnathan Thomas, who gained over 1,800 yards a year ago and is regarded as the best back in the state by many, is always a threat to break loose.

Junior tight end Jake Burt (6-foot-5, 230 pounds) and senior wide receiver Logan Mahoney (6-2, 200) have looked good early on. O’Leary said Burt will be a Division 1 player and had a great summer in 7-on-7 action.

Junior receiver Owen Rockett (5-8, 150) is a real speedster with good hands — and a perfect football name. Rockett could also see action at cornerback while his younger brother Hayden Rockett is a freshman defensive back.

The Eagles are ranked No. 1 in the state in most polls, but their schedule is filled with top 10 teams week after week. Expectations are high coming off last year’s Super Bowl championship season, especially with Thomas back in the fold. However, the Eagles’ defense will have an entirely new look with almost all the players from last year gone. How quickly it comes together could determine how well the Prep does.

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