Sunday, September 17, 2017

Central Catholic Clamps Down on St. John's Prep

By Matt Feld (@mattyfeld612)

LAWRENCE - In a contest between two of the best that Division 1 has to offer, Central Catholic’s defense stole the spotlight.

Behind a stalwart defensive effort, and a diversified offensive attack, the No. 3 Raiders shut out No. 4 St. John’s Prep, 21-0, on a foggy Saturday night at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

The game was a makeup of Friday night’s contest, which was postponed due to flooding.

All evening long, St. John’s Prep struggled to get into any sort of rhythm against the Raiders defensive unit. The Eagles totaled just 106 yards through the first three and a half quarters, and crossed midfield only once the entire game.

The Raiders front seven, highlighted by linebackers Ryan Burns and Ty Donatio, contained the Eagles' normally potent running game, and applied consistent pressure to star quarterback Mike Yarin.

Mathias Villafane (INT) and Joseph Howshan proved to be ball hawks in the secondary.

“We have some guys in new spots (on defense) and they’re coming along,” Central Catholic head coach Chuck Adamopuolos said. “We knew this was a tough challenge this week. (St. John’s) does a good job with the running attack. I’m really proud of the kids, they attacked and flew to the ball.”

On the other side of the ball, meanwhile, Central Catholic showcased a variety of options.

Quarterback Bret Edwards started the game on fire as, on the Raiders' second drive, Edwards marched the CC right down the field. The three-year starter capped off a six-play drive with a three-yard touchdown run to put Central Catholic up 7-0.

Edwards provided the highlight of the night during the drive as, on third and four, he evaded pressure from the edge, rolled to his right, and fired a deep ball on the run to Jake Delaney for a 45-yard completion, putting the Raiders inside the Eagle five.

After the Eagles made adjustments to improve their coverage in the secondary, the Raiders turned to their prolific game on the ground.

Running back Max Faro and Donatio combined to rush for 142 yards. Faro cashed in on a pair of touchdowns, including one with just over five minutes left to all but ice the victory for Central Catholic

“(St. John’s) put a little more pressure on us in the second half and they did a better job covering us,” said Adamopoulos. “Second half we wanted to turn the run and try to eat up the clock. We got out of our hurry up because we’re usually going no-huddle. They are a good defense and not an easy team to be consistent against.”

While there is still a long way to go until the MIAA playoffs get underway, Central Catholic seems to have emerged as Everett’s prime contender in Division 1 North.

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