GROTON — Behind a blend of youthful talent and senior leadership, the St. Sebastian’s football team came up with four key turnovers to spark a 19-14 victory at Lawrence Academy Friday night.
The Arrows (5-0) move into first place in the ISL-7 by handing the Spartans (4-1) their first loss, setting up another crucial test next Saturday (1 p.m.) against two-time reigning ISL champion Milton Academy.
“The culture at our school is unbelievable,” said St. Sebastian’s coach Dan Burke. “It’s all welcome, support, and brotherhood, and that’s also true on our team, and that’s what helps us play a full 48 minutes of football.”
Lawrence quarterback Mike Landolfi (14-for-21 passing, 196 yards, TD; 10 carries, 98 rushing yards, TD), a transfer from Hanover High, put the Spartans ahead by rushing for a 2-yard touchdown on the opening play of the second quarter, but then the Arrows defense stiffened.
Starting at their own 5-yard line in the final minute of the first half, the Arrows used five plays to go 95 yards with sophomore Ty Ciongoli (13-of-25 passing, 194 yards) of Wellesley hitting freshman George Kelly (Scituate) for a 49-yard touchdown right before halftime. In the third quarter, Kelly rumbled for a 21-yard score, adding a key pass deflection in the fourth quarter that was picked off by senior captain Zion Simmons (Mattapan) to deny Lawrence’s comeback bid.
“It’s the dog in us,” Simmons said about the opportunistic defensive play. “St. Sebastian’s football is all grit. That’s our motto. Our team chemistry has been building for months and today it showed.”
With Lawrence threatening in a 13-7 game, Jake Mulrey scooped up the second fumble by Gavin Hatfield (16 carries, 101 rushing yards) and returned it 60 yards for a touchdown. Senior Jordan Atkinson (Dorchester) added two sacks, including a vital stop in the fourth quarter, as the Arrows were able to hold on despite a late 11-yard touchdown pass from Landolfi to Hatfield.
With so many talented freshmen and sophomores on both sides of the line, St. Sebastian’s is in position for a multi-year run.
“I’ve never seen as many really strong underclassmen on a team,” said Burke. “They’re playing confident, they’re ready to go, and the future is definitely bright with those guys.”
Friday’s high school football coverage:
- Central Catholic takes care of business, presents coach Chuck Adamopoulos with his 200th career victory
- Honoring No. 3 in their hearts, Brooks hands Rivers its first loss in ISL-9 showdown
- Duxbury gets back to the basics in Patriot League win over Hingham
- North Attleborough puts its best foot forward in tight win over Taunton
- Roundup: Nick Yanchuk helps Bishop Feehan rally late to hand No. 17 Bishop Fenwick its first loss of season