Leftover thoughts from last night’s slate of “Super Tuesday” MIAA playoff action:
Hitting the jackpot: Jonathan Thomas gets the game ball for St. John’s Prep after last night’s 21-0 win over Andover, and deservedly so, running for 173 of his 208 yards in the second half, and accounting for all three of the Eagles’ touchdowns. But another crucial aspect to the win was how they defended the pass – specifically, the short passing game.
Cam Farnham is one of the more slippery receivers to cover and plays a Welker-ish role on the team, opening up the deep field with his precise underneath routes. For Prep, Gerald Kahari seemed like the natural fit to cover the slot, and Thomas saw a little bit of action. But for most of the night, it was Alex Moore providing the coverage.
Farnham came into the game with over 1,000 all-purpose yards and 13 total touchdowns, including a team-high 11 TD receptions. But against Prep, he had just two catches for 10 yards, showing once again why the versatile Moore is a Mr. Football finalist as one of the state’s premier two-way players. With the underneath game limited, quarterback C.J. Scarpa ended up with a pedestrian night, throwing for 165 yards and two picks.
Ground and Pound: Brockton’s 33-7 rout of Weymouth last night was statistically the Boxers’ most dominant showing of the season. They attempted just one pass for an incompletion, and ran 45 rushing plays for 432 yards and five touchdowns, yielding century-mark nights for quarterback Austin Roberts and running back Moise Edouard. With the win, Roberts is now over the 1,000-yard mark with 1,050 yards, to go along with 16 touchdowns.
The Boxers’ switch from their traditional multiple look to a full-out Navy-style triple option has clearly paid off. They’ve run for over 3,000 yards and 37 touchdowns as a team, but the real proof is in way they keep moving the ball steadily downfield.
A look at the rushing averages on this six-game Boxers win streak:
Durfee – 30 plays, 9.1 yards per carry, 7 TD
Leominster – 45 plays, 5.9 yards per carry, 2 TD
Catholic Memorial – 36 plays, 7.3 yards per carry, 5 TD
New Bedford – 36 plays, 10 yards per carry, 4 TD
Bridgewater-Raynham – 38 plays, 5.5 yards per carry, 3 TD
Weymouth – 45 plays, 9.6 yards per carry, 5 TD
In losses to Reading and St. John’s Prep, they averaged just under five yards per carry. Against Pinkerton (N.H.), they averaged 7.25 yards per carry and outgained the Astros from scrimmage, but also fumbled the ball away four times.
Prep handled the Boxers easily the first time around, 27-12, behind a monster night from Jonathan Thomas. But in the two months since that loss, the Boxers appear to have fully committed to this rushing attack, and the no-name defense led by Micah Morel appears to have shored up. Can’t wait to see this matchup on Saturday.
Mountain Men: When you’re picking 28 games in one night, there’s margin for error every now and then.
Really, there’s no other way to explain our rationale behind my prediction that Greenfield’s Zak Bartak would “muscle the Green Wave to victory” in their Western Mass. Division 3 playoff game with Mt. Greylock.
Boy was I way off. The Mounties didn’t just pound Greenfield, they delivered the worst shutout loss of the Super Bowl era, blanking the Green Wave by an unheard-of margin of 62-0 –- with 10-minute quarters, no less.
Ethan Ryan had five touchdowns and 224 rushing yards by the half, and finished with 284 and six scores, as the Mounties accounted for 537 yards of total offense. It was a white-washing from the get-go. To find the last time there was a shutout even close to the one Greylock delivered last night, you have to go all the way back to 1980, when the famed Morris brothers of Ayer ran roughshod over Monty Tech for a 50-0 victory in the Division 2 Central Super Bowl.
Hats off to Mt. Greylock. I’m sure some us saw a Mounties win coming, but nobody could have predicted it would be by this margin.