Dracut holds off the Prep
DANVERS - It was Dracut quarterback Jimmy Ryan’s first varsity game starting under center, but the 5-foot-10-inch junior showed the poise of a seasoned veteran.
With just more than a minute to play, and the Middies clinging to a 6-point lead, he faced fourth and 11.
Ryan took the snap and ran for 12 yards to pick up the first down and secure No. 11 Dracut’s 13-7 win over No. 8 St. John’s Prep yesterday.
“With the spread offense, if the defensive end comes at you, you hand it off, but if he goes at the running back, you pull it,’’ said Ryan, who finished with 113 yards on 13 carries, including a 16-yard touchdown run. “The defensive end was pulling all day so it was an easy read. I wasn’t going to let my team down.’’
As Ryan scampered to the sideline, he took a late hit, resulting in a 15-yard penalty before Dracut ran out the clock.
“Jimmy did a great job with the run game, I have no complaints with him there,’’ said Dracut coach Jason Houston. “But he had a couple wide receivers he missed and a couple reads he missed in the pass game. But, those are problems we’ll get cleaned up in practice this week.’’
Ryan finished 10 of 15 passing for 113 yards.
Dracut led, 13-0, going into the fourth quarter, but St. John’s Prep mounted a 13-play, 75-yard drive that ended in a 1-yard touchdown run by junior Alex Moore.
Trailing, 13-7, with 2:58 to play, St. John’s Prep kicked the ball straight to junior Bryant Tuff, rather than trying an onside kick.
Coach Jim O’Leary said he called for the kick to go toward the sideline, where the Eagles would try to scoop it, but it drifted to the middle of the field. Dracut picked up two first downs before Ryan iced the win.
The Eagles struggled to move the ball throughout the first half. They went three-and-out four times before picking up their only first down of the first half with less than two minutes remaining.
The Eagles were sloppy throughout the game, picking up eight penalties, including two illegal substitutions.
The worst infraction came in the third quarter when the Prep had Dracut at fourth and 27 with four minutes to play. The Eagles held Ryan to a 5-yard run, but St. John’s Prep was called for taunting Ryan, resulting in a personal foul and a first down.
“The kid just made a great play and they start yapping at him and he retaliates,’’ O’Leary said. “They didn’t score any points, but it took time off the clock.’’
Junior Zach Bassett opened the scoring for Dracut in the second quarter on a 2-yard run.