Saturday, September 23, 2017

Cardinal Spellman Still Unbeaten After Route of Bedford

By Nate Rollins (@n_rollins1)

BROCKTON - Through its first two matchups, the Cardinal Spellman High football team has found itself playing catch-up quite a bit.

In Week 1, the Cardinals rallied back from a pair of deficits to knock off defending Division 3 state champion Hanover. The following week was not much different. In the final 3:21, Spellman scored two touchdowns to rally past Sharon, 21-14.

On Saturday afternoon, the Cardinals found themselves in unfamiliar territory, as there was no hole to dig out of.

Spellman put up a 28-spot in the first half, en route to a 30-6 non-league win over visiting Bedford High.

“I like a game like this a lot more,” Spellman head coach Ron St. George said. “They play a bit more relaxed. From a coaching standpoint, we’ve been in two donnybrooks where the kids have had to play all 44 minutes. Today, they only had to play, maybe 28 minutes.”

It took three plays total for Spellman (3-0) to set the tone in this one.

On the opening kickoff, the Cardinals caused a fumbled and Mark Finneran pounced on it for Spellman and it took over the Bedford 20.

Two plays thereafter, senior running back Justin Olowu (15 carries for 86 yards, 2 TDs) was into the end zone via a 6-yard rush. Mark Anastasi’s point after made it 7-0.

“Everybody wants to get off to a good start,” St. George said. “Again, we’ve been preaching the turnover battle. It’s nice when your defense sets the tempo and puts you in great field position and you jump on them.”

After a Buccaneers (0-3) punt, Spellman was back on offense at the Bedford 45-yard line. This time, it took the Cardinals nine plays to drive 55 yards and find the end zone when senior quarterback Rob Maguire (six carries for 62 yards, two TDs) rushed for 11 yards.

Bedford’s possession concluded with a muffed punt and Spellman took over at the Buccaneers 15. For the Cardinals, it was like deja vu on offense as Olowu capped another two-play drive with a score. Maguire’s two-point conversion run made it 21-0 with 10:54 remaining in the second quarter.

“Each week we’ve improved, and that’s been our goal,” Spellman head coach Ron St. George said. “We gave up less big pays defensively. Today, we were able to execute very well and keep them off the field.”

The Buccaneers’ next drive was their most successful of the first half as they were finally able to make it across midfield with 9:18 left in the second quarter. However, Spellman’s Mikey Spencer and Raldge Pierre-Paul combined for a sack on Bedford signal caller Gregory Cormier to end any further advancement.

Maguire would punch it in from seven yards out with 1:46 remaining before the half to help push the Spellman lead to 28-0.

The second half was much of the same for the Spellman defense.

After the Cardinals failed to covert on fourth-and-goal from the one, a high snap from Bedford resulted in a safety.

The lone bright spot for the Buccaneers offense came with under four minutes remaining when Myles Francis took a pass in the flat 30 yards to the Spellman 10-yard line. On the ensuing play, Francis rushed 10 yards for a score to avoid the shutout.

Spellman limited Bedford to just 10 yards of offense before the Francis run.

Bedford will continue non-league action Friday at 7 p.m. at home against Newton South.

Spellman, on the other hand, looks to remain undefeated next Friday, when it plays host to Catholic Central foe Saint Mary’s (Lynn) at 6:30 p.m.

“We have to stop the big play,” St. George said of his team’s matchup next week. “They’ve got big-play people. We have to make them earn it and we can’t be giving up the big ones against an explosive team.”

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