CM fends off late surge by St. John’s
SHREWSBURY - A collective sigh of relief could be heard all the way to West Roxbury.
For the first three quarters of yesterday’s nonleague tilt, Catholic Memorial’s defense threw a blanket over the St. John’s of Shrewsbury offense.
But St. John’s scored 20 points in the final 11 minutes and the Knights held on for a 28-20 victory at Pioneer Field.
The Pioneers (2-1), who managed two late comebacks to come away victorious in their first two games, couldn’t rally this time. St. John’s reached the CM 25, but turned the ball over on downs and the Knights (1-1) ran out the clock.
“We knew we would have our hands full,’’ said CM coach Alex Campea. “St. John’s is a terrific football team and are well-coached. In the end, my four captains [Armani Reeves, A.J. Doyle, Cam Williams and Donovan Henry] made plays for us.’’
The Knights dominated the opening half, jumping to a 14-0 lead on Reeves’s 6-yard scoring catch from Doyle (8 of 18, 72 yards), and early in the second quarter Doyle scored on a 1-yard keeper. But it was the CM defense that took center stage. CM held St. John’s to 76 first-half yards and only four first downs.
Things didn’t change much in the third quarter, save a sustained drive by the Pioneers, who went 55 yards before failing to convert a fourth-and-goal on the 7-yard line.
“They were taking away some of the throws we had been making the last couple of weeks,’’ said St. John’s coach John Andreoli, whose team finished with 321 total yards.
But early in the fourth, St. John’s finally clicked. A 31-yard pass from Connor Kurtz (12 of 33 for 200 yards) to Micah Cummins set up a Kurtz 1-yard dive over the goal line to make it 14-6 with more than eight minutes remaining. Reeves darted 42 yards on a jet sweep to increase the lead to 21-6.
St. John’s marched downfield to set up a Sean Wilson (117 yards on 32 attempts) 1-yard dive into the end zone.
Just a minute after the score, CM called the same jet sweep with Reeves (4 carries for 99 yards), who sprinted down the left sideline for a 52-yard touchdown to make it 28-13 with 3:30 left.
The Pioneers scored quickly as Kurtz hooked up with receiver Taquar Stewart for a 55-yard TD and St. John’s was within 8 points. St. John’s recovered the onside kick at its 42, but the CM defense held.