After a 37-yard fourth-quarter touchdown pass in Latin Academy's season-opening victory against East Boston Friday night, Latin Academy senior quarterback Kyle Dance only needs 23 more to match his league-leading total from last season.
But any talk of last season’s greatness couldn’t have been more scarce after the 22-0 victory at White Stadium.
“I just try to get good momentum going on offense and focus on the game that’s being played,” said Dance, who passed for 103 yards on the day. “Today the defense played really well, too, so that definitely gave our team some momentum.”
Dance was happy to have back one of his best targets from last year year, DeVaughn Riley, who caught four touchdowns before going down with a season-ending knee injury in the second game of the season last year.
Any doubts about Riley's health were squashed when he caught the 37-yard strike from Dance in the fourth quarter Friday.
“It wasn’t the best throw,” Dance said, “but DeVaughn being a good wide receiver made a play and came back inside to get the ball.”
Dance also showed off his legs against the Jets, logging 107 yards rushing.
Following a scoreless first quarter, Latin Academy started to shake off the cobwebs on both sides of the ball. After Niko Hernandez intercepted East Boston senior quarterback Vincent Lepore with 8:30 left in the half, the Dragons scored their first touchdown of the 2013 season when senior running back Chenedu Ighokue darted 27 yards into the end zone.
With that touchdown, 46 total yards on the ground. and a pair of 2-point conversions, Ighokue garnered praise from his quarterback for stimulating the offense.
“It was beautiful to have the run game going,” Dance said of the 160 yards the team collected on the ground. “Everyone knows the run game opens up the pass game and that’s what Chenedu was able to do today.”
Four minutes after Ighokue’s touchdown scamper, Dance also found room to run through a shaky Jets defense. He took off up the middle for his own 24-yard touchdown run before Ighokue’s successful 2-point conversion run put Latin Academy up, 14-0.
“I was just trying to make a play, I went inside, I saw the hole outside and I just cut it outside,” Dance said.
Latin Academy coach Rocco Zizza wasn't concerned with the slow start because he knew his players would eventually find their rhythm.
“Today was a great win,” Zizza said. “East Boston is always a quality team, [East Boston] Coach [John Parziale] does a great job over there. Fundamentals were solid for us today and we played some real physical and aggressive football.”
Zizza believes this was Latin Academy’s first victory against East Boston in program history, and Parziale gave credit to a tough Dragon team.
“We lost, they deserved to beat us,” Parziale said. ‘Our depth hurt us today. We didn’t have the depth on the offensive line.”
Globe Correspondent Justin A. Rice contributed to this report.
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