DORCHESTER, Mass. -- It wasn't a pretty afternoon for No. 3 BC High in its matchup with visiting New Jersey power St. Peter's Prep, and that was the point.
The Eagles (2-2) showed some late life in their 35-19 loss to the Marauders (2-2) at Viola Stadium, but on a whole they just couldn't find an answer for West Virginia-bound quarterback Brandon Napoleon (145 offensive yards, 2 total TD) or running backs Jared Crayton (17 carries, 104 yards, 2 TD) and Jonathan Hilliman (7 carries, 80 yards, TD).
And for BC High head coach Jon Bartlett, that's just what they wanted to see.
"This is why we play this game," he said. "Obviously, we're disappointed with the loss, but we want our guys to play at a different level leading up to the [Catholic] Conference. Hopefully this helps. Again, [we're] disappointed, but in the big picture, playing faster, playing stronger, playing at a different level...right now Northern New Jersey is a little ahead of Massachusetts, but this is good for us in the long run."
Napoleon Dynamite: If Napoleon was rusty after not playing the previous six quarters headed into this one (Napoleon suffered a concussion two weeks ago, and New Jersey rules mandate a minimum seven days out from the injury before clearing), he did a good job hiding it. Picture Catholic Memorial's Penn State-bound athlete Armani Reeves, but two inches taller.
The 5-foot-11, 180-pound senior is committed to West Virginia as an athlete, not a quarterback, and after seeing him take off down the sidelines it's evident why. Sure, he throws a crisp ball; but his elite speed has to have the coaching staff in Morgantown excited about mixing and matching him all over the field. Napoleon also plays in the secondary, and returns kicks -- including a 78-yard return for a touchdown today.
"He's going to be playing on Saturdays, guys are going to be watching him some day at West Virginia," Bartlett said. "I thought we did an OK job handling him. That kick return was a killer, but he's a real good player."
Said Marauders head coach Rich Hansen, "He shook the rust off a little bit. We didn't throw the ball all that much with him, but he's got a great arm, and it was good to see him run the offense and get back into the flow. The best thing is we got out of here with him healthy."
Breaking in Bartley: BC High quarterback Bartley Regan started off slow in spite of a 50-yard second quarter touchdown strike to Lincoln Collins (6 catches, 84 yards), headed into the break with two picks. He finished up strong though, going 6 for 8 in the fourth quarter for 72 yards and a scoring strike to John Arons with 17 seconds left for the afternoon's final tally.
Keying that final scoring drive were two seven-yard passes to Collins and Gordon McLeod on fourth down, both times inside St. Peter's red zone, to keep the chains moving. Regan finished up 13 of 24 for 204 yards, two scores and two interceptions.
Facing an imposing secondary filled with a depth of size and speed without parallel in the Bay State, it was evident at the outset this was going to take some getting used to for Regan, who displays polished mechanics and is reportedly fielding Division 1 interest.
"We told the guys, these kids are teenagers just like you," Bartlett said. "Anyway, he settled down, and I applaud the effort of our guys. It's disappointing that we lost, but we played hard."
Catarius out: Junior linebacker Luke Catarius, a Division 1 recruit, missed today's game with an illness, but should be expected back in the lineup next week when the Eagles take on Central Catholic.
"Obviously, not having Luke in there hurts," Bartlett said. "But, you know, as we told the guys, it doesn't matter. Whatever 11 is out there, we need to get the job done."
High marks from Hansen: Hansen noted the respect BC High has regionally, and pointed out Eagles running back Preston Cooper as well as Regan.
"We knew about him, we knew he was the go-to guy," Hansen said. "He's a back that you know can carry a team, because we've watched him do it. The quarterback did have a good day. He's a competitor, and he has those weapons in 80 (McLeod), 83 (tight end Jameson McShea) and 11 (Collins), so that makes them a dangerous team.
"You can't load the box up on them to stop that kid [Cooper], because they can toss it. Their quarterback I thought did a nice job today."
ST. PETER'S PREP 35, BC HIGH 19
SPP (2-2) 0 21 7 7 --- 35
BCH (2-2) 0 7 0 12 --- 19
S - Michael Giacone 7 pass from Brandon Napoleon (Liam Gilmore kick) 10:52
S - Jared Crayton 5 run (Gilmore kick) 7:27
B - Deonte Ramey-Doe 50 pass from Bartley Regan (Jackson Bockhurst kick) 4:51
S - Jonathan Hilliman 7 run (Gilmore kick) 2:20
S - Crayton 3 run (Gilmore kick) 6:00
B - Preston Cooper 4 run (kick failed) 5:51
S - Napoleon 78 kick return (Gilmore kick) 5:35
B - John Arons 11 pass from Regan (pass failed) 0:17