It took a little time for the St. John’s Prep football team to show its championship mettle.
The defending Division 1 champion Eagles started slowly in Saturday’s season opener against visiting Bridgewater-Raynham, but came alive late with three fourth-quarter touchdowns to walk away from Glatz Field with a 28-0 nonleague victory in Danvers.
“It’s a largely new team and we looked like it early,” said Prep coach Brian St. Pierre. “We kind of worked our way through the first half, got things squared away at halftime, and I thought we played pretty well in the second half.”
Prep failed to score on its first possession despite driving to the Trojan 8-yard line. The Eagles faced fourth and 4 on their next drive, but senior captain Matt Duchemin came up with a clutch catch on a pass from Matt Crowley for the sole touchdown of the first half.
B-R used a steady running game and capitalized on a slew of Prep penalties to create opportunities, but a botched field goal attempt and timely sack from junior Collin Taylor prevented the Trojans from registering any points.
“If our defense keeps posting shutouts like that, it’s fine with me,” said St. Pierre. “We’ll figure it out on O. I love what [the defense] did today. It’s not perfect, but it’s good.”
Prep experienced significant turnover at wide receiver, but sophomore Jackson Delaney (3 receptions, 63 yards, TD) and freshman Joenel Aguero made an immediate impact.
Aguero set up Duchemin’s touchdown with a 46-yard reception in the second quarter. The Lynn resident also intercepted Trojans quarterback Austin Hartsell to set up a 1-yard touchdown run from Crowley, and ran open alongside Delaney when the sophomore hauled in a 36-yard score to make it 21-0 midway through the fourth quarter.
“We’re super new [at receiver], but there’s some talent there,” said St. Pierre.
Sophomore James Guy (16 carries, 81 yards) and senior Pat Nistl (7 carries, 61 yards) spearheaded a steady ground attack, with Nistl tacking on a 5-yard touchdown late.
While the Eagles roster is youth-laden, St. Pierre credits the focus of his players in turning the page from last year’s state title run.
“We talked about it the first night and put it to bed,” said St. Pierre. “It’s 2019, it’s a new season, and they’ll put their own stamp on it. To their credit, they’ve taken that to heart and done a nice job of sticking with the process.”
Bishop Stang 36, Roxbury Prep 8 — Andrew DiGiammo scored a pair of second-quarter touchdowns, a 21-yard touchdown from Greg Morales along with a 1-yard plunge, as the host Spartans rolled in their opener.
Cape Cod Tech 30, Bristol-Plymouth 28 — Junior Luke Pineo intercepted Jared Lynds with 41 seconds left to seal the thrilling Mayflower win at Monomoy Regional in Harwich. With 1:23 left, Pineo caught a game-tying 28-yard touchdown from Tech junior QB Leon Lopes. Senior Lorensky Estinvil put the Crusaders ahead with his 2-point conversion. The game featured 10-minute quarters, not the 12-minute quarters that the MIAA has shifted to this season with the adoption of national federation rules. Cape Tech coach Chris Leonard and his counterpart at B-P, John Parris said the Mayflower League is protesting the MIAA’s rules changes and will play 10-minute quarters against league foes. The league’s athletic directors are scheduled to meet next week. “That’s what the MIAA is demanding — 12-minute quarters — but the Mayflower League wrote them a petition and we’re just going to follow what the league tells us to do,’’ said Leonard.
Foxborough 7, Norton 0 — Mike Norvish punched in the lone score of the game early in the fourth quarter to lift the Warriors (1-0).
Whittier 16, Austin Prep 6 — The visiting Wildcats got touchdowns from sophomore Jyzaiah Ferreira and senior AJ Espinal to spoil the coaching debut of Austin Prep’s Billy Tucker. AP cut the margin to 16-6 in the fourth but the conversion pass was picked off and the final Cougar drive also ended with an interception.
St. Johns Prep 3, Xavier (Conn.) 1 — Senior captain Gabe Najim and junior Zach Vlachos scored to give the Eagles (2-0) the Furstenburg Cup win in Middletown, Conn.
Thayer 5, Cushing 0 — Bradford Campbell netted a hat trick for the Tigers (1-0).
Weymouth 2, Marshfield 1 — Junior Dylan Kelley had both goals for the Wildcats (1-1).
Xaverian 5, Bridgewater-Raynham 0 — Junior goalkeeper Justice Ciampa (3 saves) posted a shutout in the win for the Hawks (1-0-1).
Bishop Feehan 4, Cumberland (R.I.) 1 — Junior Francesca Yangchuk had two goals and freshman Sydney Kofton added a goal for the Shamrocks (2-0)
Lynn Classical 4, Lynn Tech 0 — Freshman Ava Thurman scored her first varsity goal and first-year head coach Mike Schena picked up his first win for the Rams in the consolation game of the Lynn Tournament.
North Andover 3, Peabody 0 — Senior captain Olivia Gotobed led the way for the Knights (3-0) with two goals. Senior sweeper Sara Mellody was a steady presence defensively in the shutout win.
St. Marys 5, Lynn English 0 — Tourney MVP Julia Nickolau netted three goals to propel the Spartans in the championship game of the Lynn Tournament.
Wayland 2, Newton South 1 — Abby Gavron netted both goals for the visiting Warriors and Sophia Goldstein was stellar in net.
Melrose 3, Frontier 0 — Senior captain Emma Randolph had 15 kills in the win for the Red Raiders (2-0).