In the second quarter, Catholic Memorial played as it had all year — thoroughly and methodically. Heading into halftime up, 27-0, the game looked like a repeat of the Knights’ eight previous victories, but the Eagles had other plans in the second half.
While CM grew casual, BC High became more aggressive and mounted a comeback before coming up short, 27-16, on Friday night in West Roxbury. The Knights will host Franklin in the Division 1 South final next week.
But what BC High proved on Friday was CM is not as invincible as previously thought.
“It’s a tournament, you lose one game you go home,” said CM coach John DiBiaso. “The record really doesn’t matter at this point, it’s one and done.”
The Knights started the game with a 20-yard gain by senior Darius LeClair, but went nowhere on the next four plays. On BC High’s first possession, two long plays, including a 33-yard completion on third and 24, got the Eagles into Knights’ territory.
“We talked during the timeout and said ‘we’re better than that,’ ” said DiBiaso. “They responded well there.”
CM did flip the switch, forcing a punt to cue a 12-play scoring drive capped by a 3-yard touchdown run by LeClair that sparked the onslaught.
LeClair added a 25-yard scoring run early in the second quarter and Quincy Eutsay snared a 3-yard touchdown pass in the back of the end zone to pad the lead.
But the game really turned when sophomore Devon Marshall returned a punt 89 yards for a touchdown in the dying moments of the first half, breaking a pair of tackles along the way.
“I thought it changed the game from a close game to a game where they had to change everything,” said DiBiaso.
Defensively, the Knights sacked BC High quarterback Bobby Wiesenhahn five times, two by Zach Broderick. The Knights allowed just 31 total yards of offense in the opening 24 minutes.
But Wiesenhahn steadied, firing a pair of late touchdown passes to Jacob Perez and Louis Timmins.
Meanwhile, the Knights’ offense ran just 19 plays in the second half, including a trio of three-and-outs while taking a pair of unsportsmanlike penalties.
“They played better on defense,” said DiBiaso. “We picked up some untimely penalties that put us behind the stakes. We didn’t play a good second half and they’re a good team, well-coached.”
Division 1 North
St. John’s Prep 39, Andover 17 — The second-seeded Eagles (8-1) started fast, when Matt Crowley (9-for-15 passing, 3 touchdowns, 1 rushing touchdown) hit Anthony Fagan for a 78-yard TD on their first play from scrimmage.
Prep went on to open a 25-0 lead after a blocked punt set up a 1-yard touchdown run from Crowley.
‘‘It was a great start, but we’ve got a lot of things to work on,’’ said Prep coach Brian St. Pierre. ‘‘It was good to get off to a good start early and set the tempo, but we’ve got to finish better.’’
Division 2 North
Lincoln-Sudbury 42, Masconomet 21 — Junior Collin Murphy was 5-of-8 passing for 105 yards and two touchdowns, plus he rushed for another score in leading the Warriors (7-2).
Division 3 North
Winchester 42, Danvers 27 — The fourth-seeded Sachems (8-1) erased an early 14-0 deficit with 28 unanswered points, including a 5-yard touchdown pass from Tommy Degnan to Henry Kraft with three seconds remaining in the first half. Up, 35-27, in the final minutes, Degnan broke a 35-yard TD run to seal it.
‘‘The fun thing about this group is we don’t quit,’’ said Dembowski. ‘‘Right now it seems like we’re finding a way and digging down and making plays. It’s fantastic to watch the kids respond to a little adversity. These young men are growing up in front of our eyes.’’
Division 4 North
Melrose 26, Marblehead 14 — Junior quarterback Brendan Fennell passed for 151 yards and two touchdowns, and rushed for 77 yards and a score as the top-seeded Red Raiders (9-0) defeated the No. 5 Magicians (6-3) to advance to their second North final in three seasons. Senior Sean Herbert caught three passes for 71 yards for the Red Raiders.
North Amesbury 30, Lynnfield 23 — Brady Dore rushed for two scores to lead the Indians (4-5) into the sectional final for the second straight year with an upset over the Pioneers.
Division 6 North
Bishop Fenwick 48, Greater Lowell 6 — Junior Chris Wilson was 11-of-13 passing for 185 yards and four touchdowns, adding a 15-yard rushing score and an interception on D to lead the Crusaders (8-1) to the D6 North final.
His twin brother, Andrew, had a fumble recovery and an interception.
‘‘When we play the defense we’re capable of playing, we’re a hard team to play against,’’ said coach Dave Woods.
Stoneham 37, Shawsheen 7 — Senior Deshawn Chase delivered three rushing touchdowns for the Spartans (7-2). Defensively, the reigning Super Bowl champs allowed the Rams (8-1) only one score on a deep pass.
Division 2 South
Mansfield 34, King Philip 6 — Cincere Gill had four total touchdowns for the second-seeded Hornets (8-1), who avenged losses in each of the last two postseasons to the third-seeded Warriors (7-2) with a resounding semifinal victory.
Division 3 South
Duxbury 38, Stoughton 12 — After uncharacteristically fumbling three times in the first half, Duxbury senior quarterback Will Prouty (two TDs rushing, one passing) had a monster second half to carry the Dragons (7-2) past the Black Knights (7-2) at Duxbury High. Duxbury scored 31 unanswered, turning a 12-7 halftime deficit into a decisive win. Prouty finished with 17 carries for 138 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, and he was 6 for 12 for 97 yards and one TD in the air.
“He has a very, very short memory,” senior Seamus Johnston said of Prouty. “He’s a great teammate and a great guy, but he knows when to shut out the mistakes. Amazing, that’s really all that comes to mind.”
Tim Landolfi added 14 carries for 101 yards and two scores, helping the Dragons earn a spot in the sectional final at rival Hingham Friday at 7 p.m.
Division 4 South
Milton 28, Silver Lake 7 — Junior QB Kevin Radley entered the second half in place of injured sophomore Chase Vaughan (hand) and threw a pair of touchdowns on a 10-yard strike to Andrew Lynch and a 24-yard toss to Luke Botsford to help the top-seeded Wildcats (9-0) advance to the D4 South final for a third straight year.
Plymouth South 35, Nauset 14 — Nick Siegelman had three touchdowns for the Panthers (8-1) in the semifinal win.
Division 5 South
Canton 15, Foxborough 0 — Owen Lehane booted field goals of 23 and 32 yards while the Bulldogs (9-0) produced their fifth shutout of the season.
Holliston 48, Somerset Berkley 6 — The Panthers (8-1) got touchdowns from six players to advance to the sectional final. Christian Schneeloch had a 60-yard rushing score in the second quarter, a 21-point period for the team, and added a 70-yard kick return touchdown in the fourth.
Tristan Benson ran 2 yards for the game’s opening score, plus notched a two-point conversion on the ground. Matt Arvanitis had the game’s only passing touchdown, a 30-yard toss to Mitch Gimblett.
Division 6 South
Ashland 33, Rockland 16 — On the game’s first three drives, QB Dom Cavanagh produced a 2-yard blast for a TD, a diving interception on D, and then a 1-yard keeper as the Clockers (9-0) rolled to a semifinal win over the Bulldogs (8-1).
Division 8 South
West Bridgewater 23, Randolph 22 — Senior Matt Lavoie ran for a TD and 2-point conversion in the final minute to lift the Wildcats.
‘‘They almost blocked our first PAT attempt,’’ coach Justin Kogler said on the decision. ‘‘I just thought we had a better chance to go for the win, we had the momentum.’’ After a difficult game, West Bridgewater was able to halt the explosive Randolph offense for one final drive to secure the win.
Apponequet 35, Case 0 — Senior Collin Harrison had touchdowns of 90 and 48 yards, and junior Kevin Hughes scored on runs of 20 and 4 yards to lead the Lakers (6-3).
Belmont 28, Malden Catholic 7 — Chad Francis led the Marauders (4-4) with 206 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 28 carries, the longest 21 yards. Zeke Bragg ran 2 yards for the lone touchdown for the Lancers (1-7).
Burlington 34, North Reading 26 — Four touchdowns from Jack Keller powered the Hornets past the Red Devils.
Dennis-Yarmouth 42, Cardinal Spellman 15 — Geoffrey Jamiel scored five touchdowns, one on the ground and four through the air from quarterback Mark Pawlina.
East Bridgewater 21, Dover-Sherborn 14 — Junior Shane Graham tossed touchdown passes of 16 and 46 yards to lead the Vikings (5-4).
Ipswich 36, Whittier 22 — David Lonergan scored touchdowns of 12, 53, and 12 yards, and AJ Espinal added two rushing scores to lead the Tigers (4-5).
Marshfield 6, Barnstable 0 — Junior Preston Van Fleet had the lone score for the Rams (6-3).
Medfield 22, Medway 20 — Ryan Murray tossed second-half touchdown passes of 27 and 14 yards to lead the Warriors (5-4). Cam Giunta had a rushing score and two extra-point conversion rushes in the win.
Salem 27, Essex Tech 6 — Senior Wayne Holloway threw two touchdown passes, and senior Devin Tolbert ran for 78 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Witches (1-8).
Scituate 36, Whitman-Hanson 2 — Senior Will Sheskey ran for three touchdowns and 175 yards on 20 carries to lead the Sailors (5-4).
Wakefield 49, Dracut 14 — Sophomore Aidan Sweeney scored five touchdowns for the Warriors. Wes Pierre, Tucker Stikeman, and Liam Cosgrove each made an interception on defense. Danny Hurley drilled seven extra points.
Westwood 41, Norton 22 — Colin Fay rushed for 100-plus yards and two TDs and racked up another 100 through the air for the Wolverines, hauling in a 60-yard scoring pass from Connor Danieli. Fay’s brother, Brendan, also scored a 35-yard touchdown on the ground.
Wilmington 31, Gloucester 12 — Senior Bailey Smith led the Wildcats (4-5) with two touchdowns and 190 yards on 24 carries.
Brandon Chase reported from Melrose, Brandan Hall from St. John’s Prep, Jake Levin from Mansfield, and Steve Sousa from Rockland.