SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

December 2, 2012

St. John's Prep gets super finish in rout of Brockton

Eagles capture first state title since 1997

By Jean DePlacido
Correspondent

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WALTHAM — The 2012 St. John’s Prep football team can take its rightful place among the greatest football teams to ever come out of the school.

Dominant in all three phases of the game, the Eagles soundly defeated Brockton, 48-28, Saturday night at Bentley University to capture the Division 1 Eastern Mass. Super Bowl. 

It had been 15 long years since their last Super Bowl triumph, with three title game losses in between. But the wait was worth it for this blue collar, senior-laden squad.

“From the No. 1 star to the last guy at practice every day, this was impressive,” Prep head coach Jim O’Leary told his team after they had been awarded the Super Bowl trophy. 

“This senior class is special. They were on a mission to get to this point.”

The Prep offense accounted for four touchdowns, the defense had one and special teams added two more.

After they were presented the winning trophy, captain James Fagan kissed it before passing it on to his teammates. Fans raced onto the field to swarm the team, one by one lifting the starters up on their shoulders to wild cheers.

The Prep offense accounted for four touchdowns, the defense had one and special teams added two more.

The tone of the evening was set early on when St. John's Prep (11-1) scored twice in the first 2 minutes and 51 seconds. On the game's second play junior tailback Johnathan Thomas caught a 33-yard pass from quarterback Jack Sharrio (5 for 8, 124 yards, 2 TDs) for the score. That TD was set up after the Boxers tried an onside kick to start the game, which was recovered by the Prep's Jake Burt at his own 45-yard line. Thomas broke loose for a 17-yard run, and then caught the TD pass.

“I was wide open,” said Thomas. “They had somebody blitzing on the end, and that left me free. We haven’t had a start like that against a good team all year. That gave us motivation to keep going harder.”

Brockton (9-4), which lost to St. John's Prep earlier this season (27-12), couldn’t move the ball on its first possession and was forced to punt. The snap from center was low, however, and punter Austin Roberts had trouble handling the ball. Lucas Bavaro of the Eagles dove to block the kick and teammate Jake Anemoduris, a senior from Peabody, picked up the loose ball and raced 22 yards to paydirt, giving the Prep a 13-0 lead before the game was three minutes old.

“I finally got one,” said Bavaro of his blocked punt. He'd come very close to doing so several times this season. “Anemoduris did a nice job turning it into a touchdown.

"This is an enormous win; the biggest game of my life. All the kids in my class have been working for this night for a long time."

The Boxers answered right back with a touchdown by Moise Edouard, but the two-point conversion failed. Gerald Kahari then returned the ensuing kickoff 85 yards to put the Eagles up, 20-6. 

After the Prep held Brockton on 4th-and-2 they drove down the field again, capped by a 3-yard touchdown by Thomas out of the Wildcat formation.

“Our kids showed great character all game," said O'Leary. "Once it goes bad (for an opponent), things can happen very quickly. That’s what happened to Brockton.

“On games like this field position is very important. Our defense comes in with the expectation they’ll score more point than the other team does on offense.”

By halftime the Eagles were up, 41-12, after Sharrio threw a 58-yard touchdown pass to Alex Moore.

“A big key to the game was being able to score a couple early,” said Moore, who also recovered a fumble on a backward pass by Roberts and raced 19 yards for his second TD of the night. “I’m so glad Jake (Anemoduris) scored; he’s one of our key players, and he works do hard. I’m also happy Lucas finally got one when he blocked that punt.”

Sharrio, who hails from Marblehead, had one of his best games of the season with a rushing touchdown to go along with his pair of TD tosses.

“We’re hard to stop when we have run and pass balance,” said Sharrio. “I was making my reads and doing my job just like everybody else did their job. Coach O’Leary was telling us about the 1991 Super Bowl when Brockton beat us (13-7). I know it’s a long time ago, but this gives us some revenge.

“Right now I’m freaking out inside. This is such a great feeling. All these guys are my best friends. I will never forget this night the rest of my life.”

O’Leary began taking his starters out in the third quarter after St. John’s went up, 48-12 and gave his senior backups a chance to get in the game. 

Roberts, who was injured early in the game the first two these two teams met, wwasn’t a big factor in the game. He completed 3 of 8 passes for 67 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for a team-high 50 yards on 11 carries, but was sacked three times.

“My job was to lock him down, not let him have time to do damage,” said the Prep's Tucker Mathers, who had one of the sacks while Jesse Patterson and Richard Buono had the others.

DIVISION 1 SUPER BOWL

St. John's Prep 48, Brockton 28

at Bentley University

Brockton (9-4) 6 6 0 16 — 28

St. John's Prep (11-1) 20 21 7 0 — 48

SJP-Johnny Thomas 33 pass from Jack Sharrio (Stephen Cammaro kick)

SJP-Jake Anemoduris 22 blocked punt return (kick failed)

B-Moise Edouard 6 run (rush failed)

SJP-Gerald Kahari 85 kick return (Cammaro kick)

SJP-Thomas 3 run (Cammaro kick)

SJP-Alex Moore 58 pass from Sharrio (Cammaro kick)

B-Michah Morel 59 pass from Austin Roberts (pass failed)

SJP-Sharrio 1 run (Cammaro kick)

SJP-Moore 18 fumble return (Cammaro kick)

B-Ricardo Calixte 1 run (Morel rush)

B-Edouard 51 run (Morel rush)

INDIVIDUAL STATS

RUSHING: Brockton: Moise Edouard 3-61, Austin Roberts 11-50, Ricardo Calixte 8-44, Micah Morel 5-11; St. John's Prep: Johnny Thomas 15-68, Alex Moore 4-34, Jack Sharrio 2-24, Ian Kessel 2-(-3).

PASSING: Brockton: Roberts 3-8-67-1-0; St. John's Prep: Sharrio 5-8-124-2-0.

RECEIVING: Brockton: Morel 1-59, D'Andre Brown 1-9, Calixte 1-(-1); St. John's Prep: Moore, 3-74, Thomas 1-33, Lucas Bavaro 1-17.