Sunday, September 9, 2018

VIDEO & RECAP: John DiBiaso, Catholic Memorial Get Off to Soaring Start

By Andrew Bowman (Andrew_bowman5), Videos by Matt Siegel (@SportsVideoMA)

Worcester, Mass. -- John DiBiasio's inaugural game as head coach of Catholic Memorial could not have gone any better. It was a fantastic start for DiBiasio and his unit, as the Knights defeated St. John's Shrewsbury, 49-25, on Saturday night at Assumption College.

Ed. Note- For video highlights of the Knights' big win, continue to the bottom of the story.

Khari Johnson highlighted the Knights offensive attack reeling in six catches for 96 yards and three total touchdowns.

 “It was a great first step,” DiBiaso said after the game. “I thought we played very well, and they’re a very good team.”

Leading 26-13, Catholic Memorial got the second half started with a bang as Johnson took the kickoff 90 yards for his second touchdown of the game. 

After turnovers by both teams, the Knights ended up with the ball again backed up on their own 6 yard line. Three plays later, sophomore Darius LeClair provided the Knights with some breathing room with an electric 74 yard touchdown run to give Catholic Memorial a 42-13 lead going into the final quarter.

Saint John’s tried to get back into the game, and got a touchdown from each of its star offensive players in Eamonn Dennis and Jay Brunelle. Dennis scored on a 12 yard catch and run less than a minute into the fourth, and Brunelle added a touchdown on a 6 yard catch with 6:30 to play. Brunelle finished with 103 receiving yards, and Eamonn Dennis was held to only 4 rushing yards and 62 receiving yards.

“They have two great receivers in [Brunelle] and [Dennis],” said DiBiaso. “Even though we were doubling them, and tripling them, they still made the plays. Two real great players.”

The final blow came courtesy of a second trick play out of DiBiaso’s playbook: the flea flicker. After getting the ball back from Griffin, Pratt unloaded a 57 yard bomb Khari Johnson to give Catholic Memorial an insurmountable 49-25 lead.

Saint John’s received the ball to begin, but started the game on the wrong foot. After going three and out, the Pioneers punt attempt was blocked, and Catholic Memorial took over inside the 10 yard line. 

Moments later, junior Jamall Griffin opened the scoring running it in from six yards out to give the Knights a 7-0 lead

The Pioneers second drive ended in similar fashion. 

Just three plays into its second drive, Saint John’s turned the ball over again when the Knights forced a fumble and Quincy Eutsay recovered at the Pioneers 25. 

Colin Deso, however, picked off quarterback Barrett Pratt's in the back of the end zone and the Knights came up empty handed.

Saint John’s got on the board late in the first when quarterback Colin Schofield (27-of-54, 377 yards, 3 TDs) scrambled up the middle for a 34 yard score.  But Catholic Memorial quickly responded courtesy of their first of a couple of DiBiaso trick plays. This time, it all began with Pratt who tossed a back pass to Jack Lawn. Lawn followed up by tossing a 38 yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Daniel Lopes. After a quarter, Catholic Memorial led 14-7.

Early in the second, Saint John’s had a chance to respond, but Knights linebacker Owen McGowan picked off a Schofield pass deep in Catholic Memorial territory. 

Later in the quarter, Catholic Memorial was again backed up, starting at its own 13 yard line. But the Knights marched down the field, and capped off an 87 yard drive when. on fourth and three, Griffin rushed in a 35 yard.

The Knights looked ready to pull away late in the half as, after a muffed punt by the Pioneers was recovered by Catholic Memorial, Pratt tossed a 19 yard touchdown pass to senior captain Khari Johnson. 

On the ensuing kickoff, however, Armanii Jones brought the ball down to the Catholic Memorial 31, and Schofield tossed a 31 yard touchdown to Brunelle leaving Catholic Memorial with a 26-13 lead at the break.

Johnson had a monster game for the Knights, finishing with 94 total yards, and the 90 yard kickoff return. Pratt finished with 247 passing yards.

The Pioneers will look to bounce back next week against Springfield Central, while Catholic Memorial will look to pick up another win against Stoughton.

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