WESTWOOD — On a day when the Xaverian defense was dominant, it was fitting that a defensive touchdown sealed the win for the fourth-ranked Hawks. With Xaverian clinging to a 7-0 lead with less than a minute remaining in the game, Kenny Kern intercepted a deflected pass and took it 57 yards to the house as the Hawks (4-1) held on to beat No. 10 Brockton, 14-0, Saturday at the Hawk Bowl.
The Xaverian allowed just three first downs and the Boxers (2-3) were held to less than 100 yards of total offense as they were shut out for the second straight week.
“I thought our defense played really outstanding, they bailed us out today,” said Xaverian coach Charlie Stevenson.
“Coming in we knew it was going to be a tough game,’’ said junior Joe Gaziano. “Brockton always brings a big front five so we knew we had to bring our physicality today. We stepped up, that’s all there is to it. We played as a team and I got to the quarterback, got to the running back and made sure they weren’t scoring.”
Gaziano was a force on defense for the Hawks finishing the day with four sacks and an interception.
“Gaziano had a great game today,” said Stevenson. “He picked off the screen pass they tried, he sacked the quarterback at huge times, not just sacking — he was sacking the quarterback at huge times in the game.”
Xaverian scored in the final seconds of the first quarter. On fourth and 3 from the Brockton 21, quarterback Jake Farrell kept the ball on a bootleg to the right side, juked a defender and found space running across the field for the score.
“I say it all the time, ‘Players make plays,’ and he made a play there that really was a key play and got us off to a good start,’’ said Stevenson. “From then on we really hung our hat on our defense all day long and they played a great game.”
The score remained 7-0 until the final minute of play when Patrick Burke tried to connect with Jamal Williams on a swing pass to the right side. At about the time the ball arrived to Williams, Noah Sorrento delivered a bone-crushing hit that popped the ball into the air. It landed in the hands of Kern who scored untouched to provide the dagger.
“Kenny Kerns is a great linebacker and he made a great play on the ball so I have to give credit to him for running that back, he just turned the jets on and was gone,” said Gaziano.
Xaverian has allowed just 42 points through five games and defensive performances like this one are starting to become routine.
“We expect to play this way every day no matter what the offense is doing,” said Gaziano.