WESTWOOD, Mass. -– Xaverian held the lead for only 1:22 out of 44 minutes, but it was the most crucial minute of the game as the Hawks edged BC High at The Hawk Bowl, 21-17. Hunter Taute capped a theatrical 72-yard drive with a 6 yard bull rush that put the Hawks ahead while the Xaverian defense denied BC High the chance of scoring on the final drive.
“We made some big plays,” said Xaverian coach Charlie Stevenson. “We were balanced. Certainly one of out better drives this year and it was a very opportune time to have it.”
Xaverian (3-6, 2-0 Catholic Conf.) started its final possession of the afternoon from their 28 with 8:00 left on the clock after a BC High punt from the Xaverian 34 went out of bounds. Alternating between Shayne Kaminski (10 carries, 40 yards) and Mike Brennan, the Hawks got two quick first downs on four rushing plays. From midfield, Kaminski kicked down to the 46 of the Eagles (3-5, 1-1 Catholic Conference), where Austin DeCarr found Aiden Desrosiers for a 14-yard gain.
Brennan was stopped on the following play for no gain, and the end around to the right ran by Pagliuca netted only one yard before he was collared by BC High’s Brian Robinson. On third down, Pagliuca caught the ball but the play was blown up by Brandon Owens, who sent Pagluica down to the ground and the ball flying straight back, setting up fourth and 9 from the BC High 31. Joe DeNucci, who had fans in the stands wearing t-shirt replicas of his jersey, made a crucial catch for a ten-yard gain and the first down with 3:35 to go.
Kaminski resumed his tugboat duties and rushed for three, three then eight yards on third and four from the 15, setting up first and goal on the 7 with just over two minutes to go. Brennan rushed for a yard, but another incomplete hookup between Pagliuca and DeCarr brought up third down. DeCarr threw the ball and it sailed out of the end zone, but the head referee called defensive holding, allotting the Eagles a fresh set of downs with under two minutes to go.
Kaminski rushed for two, bringing the ball to the one, and Maurice Hurst ran in his second score, but an illegal motion brought the ball to the six. Hunter Taute (9 carries, 39 yards, TD) ran left and with fire and desire, and crossed the plane at 1:22 with a stretch play to take the lead for Xaverian for the first time on the day. Kyle Darrow’s kick gave Xaverian a four-point lead, necessitating BC High to score a touchdown.
Although the Hawks’ defense missed two in-hand interceptions on BC High’s final drive and got a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty on third and long, Xaverian held the Eagles to a one-yard run in the last 1:14, seal a slippery victory.
“Our defense played great during the final possession we had. We did a great job of shutting them down throwing the football.”
Love is Love: Although there were no stories being shared between the first whistle and the last whistle, there was camaraderie after the matchup between the rivals and their players.
“As you can see, [BC High’s] Jack [McDonald] and Mo are down there hugging and kissing, taking pictures for their moms,” Stevenson half-joked after the game. “That’s the kind of game it is when Xaverian plays BC High.”
XAVERIAN 21, BC HIGH 17
BCH (3-5) 7 7 3 0 --- 17
XAV (3-6) 0 7 7 7 --- 21
B – Dan Collins 17 interception return (Jackson Bockhorst kick)
X – Maurice Hurst 1 run (Kyle Darrow kick)
B – Collins 11 run (Bockhorst kick)
X – D.J. Pagliuca 88 kickoff return (Darrow kick)
B – Bockhorst 34 field goal
X – Hunter Taute 6 run (Darrow kick)