SHREWSBURY, Mass. -- Two touchdowns, more than 170 yards of offense by himself, and yet Dan Light was left unsatisfied by his first-half performance -- "It was average," he shrugged.
So he did what, well, few quarterbacks are capable of. In the first 5:42 of the third quarter, the St. John's senior lefty threw for two more scores and ran a third in, to give the No. 4 Pioneers a 37-0 lead over No. 16 Longmeadow. St. John's held on for an easy 37-8 win in front of its red-clad crowd; in the last two meetings, the Pioneers (2-0) have now averaged 39.5 points on the Lancers (1-1).
"I was very happy with that," said the 6-foot-4, 235-pound Light, who finished with 296 yards of offense and five touchdowns. "Especially since the first half, like I said, I wasn't happy. When we come out in the second half, and we get that much separation, it feels good. It means your offense is clicking...everything's clicking, actually."
It didn't take long for the Pioneers to take the lead in this one. They needed just four plays to score on their opening drive, capped with a 55-yard touchdown scamper by Light through the middle of the Lancers' defense, sprung loose with a block from senior Austin Riedel.
A well-fielded punt return gave the Pioneers a starting drive at the Lancer 32 yard line on the first drive of the second quarter, and they capitalized immediately. On the first play, Light tossed a fade to senior Richard Rodgers that was underthrown, but one the Cal-bound wideout easily grabbed out of the air with his 6-foot-5, 235-pound frame.
The Pioneers continued the run with a safety on the Lancers' first possession of the third quarter, with John Vassar bringing down Terry Norris. Junior Efrain Montalvo brought the ensuing punt all the way back to the Lancers' 28, and then hauled in a touchdown pass the next play on a go route from Light.
Montalvo brought Longmeadow's three-and-out punt back to the Lancers 45, and the Pioneers struck again with another one-play scoring drive, this time a fade from Light to Drew Ortone. Montalvo closed things out on the next drive, hauling a 44-yard Light pass at the left sideline to set up a six-yard scoring run from Light.
"The big thing (with Light) is just his size," Longmeadow head coach Alex Rotsko said. "He's such a big, strong kid, so you've got five guys in the box, you're playing 5-on-5, and he's going to run the ball, defensively your guy has to get off his blocker and tackle a guy that's 6-4, 235. That's bigger than most of our linemen. He's not especially elusive, but he runs hard and he's a big kid. He's tough to bring down."
The Pioneers needed just four plays to score three times in the third and put this one essentially in the books.
"We were able to take advantage of some of the matchups, and make some big plays today," St. John's head coach John Andreoli said. "Against a team like this, you've got to score quick, and you've got to establish momentum, because when you have momentum -- particularly on defense, and you can create stops and give the ball to your offense and score quickly -- it kinda takes them out of their game plan a little bit, because they have to score fast to catch up."
NO. 4 ST. JOHN'S 37, NO. 16 LONGMEADOW 8
Long 0 0 8 0 --- 8
SJS 7 7 23 0 --- 37
S - Dan Light 55 run (Richard Rodgers kick)
S - Rodgers 32 pass from Light (Rodgers kick)
S - Safety
S - Efrain Montalvo 28 pass from Light (Rodgers kick)
S - Drew Ortone 45 pass from Light (Rodgers kick)
S - Light 6 run (Rodgers kick)
L - Terry Norris 7 run (Ryan Barry pass from Jacob Lazarus)