EASTON — From the opening kickoff, it was a sloppy game between Catholic Memorial and Stoughton. A daring squib kick by Stoughton fell into the arms of the CM returner Jamall Griffin, who immediately fumbled it back to Stoughton.
The play was one of three first-half fumbles for CM. Where the offense faltered, however, the defense came up strong. CM recorded six sacks and limited Stoughton to 100 yards of offense in a 20-7 win at Stonehill College on Friday.
“We did a big step backwards,” said CM coach John DiBiaso. “Usually it’s a big week of improvement from week one to week two. We’re going to have to get back to the drawing board and get ready for next week.”
Lucas Folan had a game-high three sacks for the Knights and was key to the game plan of keeping Stoughton off-balance early in their offensive series. His contribution was crucial after defensive end Quincy Eutsay went down with a knee injury early in the game.
“Last year, we let them get a lot of yards on first and second down,” said Folan. “Starting off getting plays for losses really set us up to get a good pass rush on third downs because we knew that’s where our advantage was.”
Stoughton was offensively anemic in the first half, generating only 1 yard of offense while taking four sacks and two costly penalties. Sixty of Stoughton’s 100 yards came on a late third-quarter drive capped off by a Jeff Grier touchdown run. Aside from the lone hiccup, CM limited the Black Knights’ rushing attack and clinched the win, fittingly, with a Zach Mitchell interception.
“Overall I thought our defense played very well,” said DiBiaso. “That one drive they kind of got tired but overall played well. Our offense was sloppy but we capitalized when we had to.”
The CM offense finally broke through with 21 seconds left in the half. Darius LeClair found paydirt on third and goal from the 1-yard line. The Knights continued to add points on their first two series in the second half, with scoring runs from sophomore Owen McGowan and quarterback Barrett Pratt.
Dan Shulman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.