SHREWSBURY, Mass. – St. John’s of Shrewsbury’s offense has been operating at a prodigious pace with an average of 41 points per game.
Saturday’s matchup with Leominster saw much the same from the Pioneers who beguiled the Blue Devils defense all day.
Simply stated, the prospect of shutting down Cal-bound wide receiver Richard Rodgers is a tall enough task. However, the efficiency of St. John’s offense is found in the ability of quarterback Dan Light to distribute the ball to multiple targets. While coolly completing 15 of 18 passes for 204 yards and three touchdowns, the senior signal-caller spread the balls around to six receivers.
Light also took things into his own hands, adding a rushing touchdown in addition to a 35-yard interception for a score to contribute to another lopsided win, 42-12, for the No. 2 team in Massachusetts.
“Danny [Light] was patient back there, we had good protection and we were able to get some secondary reads that enabled us to get the ball down the field,” Pioneers head coach John Andreoli said. “That presents problems for the defense.”
The St. John’s boss credited his players’ ability to focus on the day-to-day tasks in practice as the main reason why they’ve been able to remain so proficient.
“As long as they’ve been in our program — the seniors in particular — they understand that from the time we scrimmage Brockton that anybody on our schedule can beat us. Really what that says is that you have to break down the weeks.
“If we do things right during the week, when we come out here and play on the weekend, things should take care of itself.”
The Pioneers offensive line provided ample time for Light during Saturday’s tilt. The only legitimate pressure the lefty faced came on two first-half sacks from Leominster defensive lineman Cortez Ludden. Otherwise, Light’s jersey remained clean and the pocket remained undisturbed for long stretches, often allowing him five to six seconds to survey the field and find the open receiver.
Once the ball is in their hands, Light knows his wideouts can take care of the rest.
“Rich [Rodgers] gets a lot of credit, which is well due,” Light said. “But Christian [Dulmaine] does a great job. He’s a very good player on that side. He’s a non-selfish player and when it’s his time he always shines.”
After Leominster (3-4) got on the board with Kevin O’Connor’s 10-yard touchdown from quarterback Kyle Ford, Light found Dulmaine (four catches for 54 yards) in the end zone for a 4-yard touchdown with 42 seconds remaining in the first half.
With Richard Rodgers’ successful extra point try, the Pioneers (6-0) took a 28-6 lead to the half.
Rodgers was impressive once again, leading the pack with five catches for 67 yards and a touchdown.
“Bob Bradley — who works with us, and was my coach here at St. John’s, and has coached at every level and is a hall of fame coach — he’s been tremendous with guys like Christian [Dulmaine] and getting them to understand how the defensive windows are going to open and how he can help for Danny [Light],” Andreoli said. “As a result, what you see is that he’s open a lot, but not because they leave him open, it’s because he finds the holes in the defense. That’s how we operate.”
Leominster struck again in the waning moments when sophomore Luis Orellana got into the end zone on a 3-yard carry.
With another win behind them, the Pioneers shift their attention to challenge next week. They’ve been able to maintain focus on the short-term, but their upcoming bout with Xaverian had Light a little excited.
“That’s always a real tough game,” Light said. “We’ve been marking that one since day one. We’re taking it one week at a time, but we’re glad that week’s here.”
Leominster0606 -- 12
St. John’s (S)1414140 -- 42
SJS John Vassar 7-yard run (Richard Rodgers kick)
SJS Dan Light 35-yard interception return (Rodgers kick)
SJS Brendan O’Connor 15-yard pass from Dan Light (Rodgers kick)
Leominster Kevin O’Connor 10-yard pass from Kyle Ford (Kick blocked)
SJS Christian Dulmaine 4-yard pass from Light (Rodgers kick)
SJS Rodgers 15-yard pass from Light (Rodgers kick)
SJS Light 1-yard run (Rodgers kick)
Leominster Luis Orellana 3-yard run (Missed kick)