SOMERVILLE — Behind a balanced offensive attack and a stifling defense, St. Clement downed defending Division 4A Super Bowl champion Cathedral, 28-8, in a Division 6 North semifinal playoff game at Dilboy Stadium Saturday night.
The Anchormen (7-1) advanced to play Latin Academy next weekend.
In the coach Duane Sigsbury era, the Panthers (6-2) have not lost more than two games in a season in his three-year tenure, and never to the same team twice.
St. Clement snapped that streak, beating Cathedral for the second time this season, allowing only 8 total points in two victories.
St. Clement won its fifth straight, and is on its best postseason run since the 1984 squad went to the Super Bowl.
“This is probably the best I’ve felt as a head coach,” said St. Clement’s Colin Walsh, who is in his 11th season.
“Coach Sigsbury is a great guy and his team is so disciplined and you have to have your best to play against him every time, and that’s what we brought tonight,” he said.
“If our offense isn’t clicking, we know the defense has our back. When our offense is clicking with our defense, watch out.”
Following a scoreless first quarter, the St. Clement’s defense, which has allowed just four touchdowns since Week 2, changed the complexion of the stalemate.
Set up by heavy pressure on Cathedral, defensive lineman Connor Sullivan scored on a 5-yard interception return.
St. Clement had four interceptions in the game.
Then the St. Clement offense went to work.
Set up by runs from senior Deron Hines (117 yards rushing) and quarterback Michael Sullivan, wide receiver Khaneil Bruce finished the drive by hauling in an 11-yard pass from Sullivan to give the Anchormen a 16-0 lead with 1:17 left in the half.
Cathedral cut it to 16-8 on a 24-yard strike from Jermal Brevard-Jackson to Elijah Marcelo as time expired in the half.
In the second half, St. Clement’s constant pressure resulted in another Pick 6, this one from Bruce, who ran it in from 25 yards.
Bruce finished with two interceptions and three touchdowns.
“We came into this game really hungry,” said Bruce, who scored his third touchdown with a leaping grab of a Sullivan pass, then he tiptoed the sideline for a 37-yard score.
“Everybody kept telling us we’re the underdog, even though we were league champions. So we were hungry to prove something tonight,” he said.