On a gusty morning at Jim O’Connor Stadium in West Roxbury, Zach Mitchell ran like the wind, returning a fourth-quarter kickoff 95 yards for a go-ahead touchdown that propelled top-ranked Catholic Memorial to a 19-14 victory over BC High in the Pumpkin Bowl on Thanksgiving morning.
With the win, CM (11-0, 4-0) clinched its first outright Catholic Conference title since 1987 ahead of its Division 1 Super Bowl matchup against defending champion St. John’s Prep at Gillette Stadium a week from Saturday (8 p.m.)
Mitchell’s return with 10:33 left in the fourth quarter came seconds after BC High (6-5) surged ahead by a point on a 32-yard pass from Bobby Wiesenhahn to Jacob Perez. The Eagles, however, failed on the 2-point conversion.
“I got one Hail Mary and one ‘Our Father’ in while he was running,” said CM coach John DiBiaso of Mitchell’s touchdown.
The run game was crucial once again for the Knights. Shiloh White (9 rushes, 79 yards, 1 TD) led the ground attack with a 43-yard score midway through the second quarter.
“Shiloh ran hard . . . He ran tough. He got a lot of tough yards for us,” DiBiaso said.
Later in the second quarter, senior quarterback Barrett Pratt conneced with classmate Jack Lawn on a 19-yard TD strike for a 13-8 lead at the half.
Michael Mullaly got BC High off and running with a 79-yard punt return in the second quarter.
Senior Brendan Cassamajor (24 rushes, 132 yards) was stellar in the ground game for the Eagles.
St. John’s Prep 35, Xaverian 0 — In Danvers, a pair of sophomores provided the early spark for the defending D1 champion Eagles (11-1) as they registered their first victory over Xaverian since 2012.
After Matt Mitchell intercepted Xaverian’s Mike Berluti, fellow sophomore James Guy (3 touchdowns) opened the scoring with a 50-yard scoring run, followed by Liam Fabbri’s point-after for a 7-0 cushion. Senior captain Matt Duchemin followed with another pick, setting up Matt Crowley’s 10-yard scoring toss to tight end Anthony Fagan and Prep was on top, 14-0.
In the second quarter, Guy went 26 yards for a score before Duchemin joined in with a scintillating return. Back deep to receive a punt from Berluti, he raced down the near sideline, breaking one tackle, and amazingly staying on his feet for an 85-yard return and a 28-0 spread.
Guy added a 3-yard run in the third quarter.
Brendan Galvin reported from West Roxbury; Gus Baylow from Danvers.