FALL RIVER -- Bishop Stang had two goals for its soggy Thanksgiving matchup with new rival Bishop Connolly: defeat the Cougars for the third time in as many seasons, and stay injury-free in preparation for its Division 2 playoff game with Foxboro.
The Spartans were successful on both counts, capping an undefeated regular season (9-0) with a 30-0 shutout of Bishop Connolly yesterday while avoiding any major injury.
"This was a tremendous win for our program, and our seniors, to finish off the season without a loss," said Stang coach Tim McCarthy. "At the same time, I don't feel anyone on this team is satisfied with what we have accomplished to this point, so we will continue to work hard."
It didn't take long for Stang to get on the board. Two minutes into the game, senior Brandon Sullo's 75-yard run put the Spartans up by 6. Josh Weinstein added a 2-point conversion on a run straight up the gut, expanding the Spartan lead to 8.
"What a great way to kick the game off," said Weinstein. "We really wanted to establish our running game early in the wet weather, so to get a big play right off the bat was a great momentum builder."
A Bishop Connolly drive deep into Spartan territory midway through the second quarter was stymied by a quarterback fumble, cancelling the Cougars' best field position of the day.
It did not take long for the Spartans to capitalize after that. A blocked punt picked up for a touchdown by Sean Redmond was followed by a 45-yard touchdown run by junior Robert Giafrantte. That stretched the Bishop Stang lead to 22-0 going into intermission.
"Getting those two quick ones heading into the half was huge for us," said Redmond. "It was still a very close game until we were able to strike twice quickly, and without those scores, we might be looking at a different outcome."
The Spartans added a 45-yard touchdown pass from Giafrantte to Weinstein early in the third quarter.
As the day's heaviest rain began to come down, the game became a defensive, turnover-filled struggle. With the scoreboard not working, all eyes were on the head referee, awaiting the game's final whistle.
"It just feels so damn good," said Redmond. "It is safe to say that we have just finished the school's best regular season in history, and although no one on this team is satisfied with that, it is something that we will forever have, regardless of how the remainder of this season plays out."