BRIDGEWATER, Mass. - With two talented playmakers such as Johnathan Thomas and Alex Moore in the backfield, why wouldn't St. John's Prep have its own version of the 'Wildcat' formation ready to go?
It's not a set the Eagles rely on often, but when they spring the trap, it has the tendency to yield major dividends. In the case of Saturday afternoon's nonleague clash with No. 12 Bridgewater-Raynham, Moore turned the Prep's 'Wildcat' into a momentum changer.
On the first play from scrimmage of the second half, Moore and Thomas lined up side by side in the backfield with Moore taking the snap. Tight end Anthony Bongiorno sealed off the defensive end and Thomas cleared a hole with a nice block of his own. Moore followed right through and outran everyone down the left sideline for an 89-yard touchdown.
That was the second of three scores on the day for Moore, who totaled 159 yards on the ground with two scores and another 73 yards and a touchdown on three receptions as No. 3 St. John's Prep took down the Trojans, 20-7, at Bridgewater-Raynham High School.
"I never had any original thought in my life and that's what Everett did to us so I said, 'If Everett can do that to us, we can use that ourselves,' so that's what we did," Prep coach Jim O'Leary said with a laugh. "We've been running it but we've been running it a little differently the last couple weeks. We just put him outside and pitch and get to the edge and see what we can get."
Moore turned in terrific all-around effort, adding a fourth-quarter interception from his safety position to his stat sheet. He scored the game's first touchdown via the air, lining up as the inside receiver in a trips-right set. Moore ran a post pattern through the middle and Eagles quarterback Jack Sharrio lofted a perfect pass to him in stride for a 35-yard score.
Then in the fourth, just after Brandon Gallagher had scored to help B-R (3-2) cut the deficit to 14-7, Moore produced another big play. Lined up as the tailback behind Thomas in the I-formation, Moore took a straight handoff and followed Thomas off left tackle. Thomas created room by blocking the defensive end, allowing Moore to bounce outside and race 62 yards to paydirt.
"I was able to hit the outside and use my speed to my advantage and make it a track meet out there," Moore explained. "It was just off to the races from there."
SPREAD THE FIELD
The Prep's offense has been producing extremely well this season, and a lot of that has been due to the willingness to allow Sharrio to throw more often. The senior quarterback completed 7-of-11 passes for 103 yards and the TD pass to Moore.
Battling a very difficult wind, Sharrio's effort loosened up the Trojans defense enough to allow Thomas to join Moore in the Century Club with 110 yards on 13 carries.
"We have to be able to spread the field to get people out of the box," O'Leary said. "We have to do that and so I think that's what we try to do and what we need to do. We're not as comfortable doing that when we don't have the wind. They threw the ball better with the wind also."
'PREP'PING FOR LEAGUE PLAY
B-R coach Dan Buron has never been afraid to schedule some of the state's top teams in an effort to get his Trojans ready for their Old Colony League slate, and hopefully, a postseason berth.
B-R opened with Duxbury, currently riding a 31-game winning streak, bested perennially tough programs in Marshfield and New Bedford, and still have a date with Xaverian before playing its OCL counterparts Dartmouth and Barnstable.
Brandon Gallagher finished with 92 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries, while quarterback Jordan Cohen finished 12-of-26 for 176 yards.
"I was pleased with our effort, I think our kids played hard," Buron said. "That's a really good football team and I think we're just not quite there. Duxbury and this team, we're battling them for three quarters and we're just a step away. I think we're getting better every week and I think we can take this as a learning experience. I love playing teams like this. It gets us ready for our league games at the end of October and early November."
ST. JOHN'S PREP (4-1) 7 7 0 6 - 20
BRIDGE. RAYNHAM (3-2) 0 0 7 0 - 7
SJ - Alex Moore 35 pass from Jack Sharrio (Stephen Cammaro kick)
SJ - Moore 89 run (Cammaro kick)
BR - Brandon Gallagher 3 run (Kevin Wadsworth kick)
SJ - Moore 62 run (kick failed)