Boston High School: Dillon Gonzalez

Prep downs BC High in 10 innings

May, 28, 2011

BOSTON – Justin Peluso’s game-winning hit almost never was.

In the top of the 10th inning, he dug into the box with a man on first and nobody out with No. 3 St. John’s Prep and No. 7 BC High tied, 3-3. Peluso got a bunt sign from coach Pat Yanchus. After working the count to 1-1, Peluso wasn’t looking to advance the runner. He was looking to end the game.

“I had two hits and I was feeling pretty confident,” Peluso said. “So I said, ‘Coach, let me hit.’”

Peluso delivered, ripping an RBI triple down the third base line and scoring Anthony Capuano from first. Prep held on to take a 5-3 win over BC High, meaning the teams will share the Catholic Conference title this season.

BC High (11-6, 5-3 Catholic Conference) came out swinging against Prep starter Pat Connaughton, plating three runs against the Notre Dame commit in the first. BC High catcher Bobby Melley drove an RBI double to center before Ryan Tufts and Melley scored on passed balls.

After falling behind 3-0 in the first, Connaughton bounced back to throw seven straight scoreless innings in a no-decision before giving way to Brandon Bingle, who picked up the win with two shutout innings in relief.

“I think I just got comfortable,” Connaughton said of his in-game adjustments. “Sometimes I seem to have trouble in the first inning. I actually have to figure out why that is. After I settled down in the first inning, I felt like things were working. We got the win, that’s all that matters.”

Prep (13-5, 5-3) tied the game with a three-run third. Capuano scored the first Prep run on a Peluso single to center, rounding the bases from first after a miscue in the outfield. Prep scratched across another unearned run against BC High’s Neal Horan on Dillon Gonzalez’s fielder’s choice before catcher Jake Bedrosian drove in Connaughton with an RBI single.

Neither team found the go-ahead run, even after Prep had the bases loaded with no outs to start the eighth.

That all changed in the 10th when Peluso took matters into his own hands.

Sean Patrikas added a sac fly for Prep’s fifth run.

Gorman starts conference-opener right for CM

April, 14, 2011

DANVERS, Mass. — The last thing Catholic Memorial head coach Hal Carey wanted to do was drop the league opener with a big break until its next Catholic Conference tilt.

Thanks to John Gorman’s work on the bump and at the plate, Carey doesn’t have to worry about that anymore.

The BC-bound Gorman scattered two hits and overcame five walks in six scoreless innings, and collected three RBI at the plate to give the Knights (3-0) a 5-0 win over host St. John’s Prep (3-1) on Thursday afternoon.

“We didn’t want to be sitting at 0-1 for the next 10 days waiting to try to bounce back," said Carey, whose team won't play another league opponent until May 25. "Last year we started 0-2 and still won the league, but it’s not something we want to make a habit of.”

Gorman has had his struggles at the plate to begin the season, but he broke out with a couple of key at-bats in the late stages of the game. In the top of the fifth, with CM up 2-0, Gorman ripped an opposite-field double to the gap to plate Steve Pike and Nick Barker.

Barker, who hustled all the way from first on the play, made a heads up play to get on base in front of Gorman. With the third baseman playing even with the bag, the left-handed hitting Barker put down a perfect bunt and beat out the throw to force the issue with no outs in the inning.

“He’s a good base-hit bunter,” said Carey. “Worst case it’s sacrifice bunt, best case it’s kind of what happened. He beats it out or a throw gets away and we get first and second with (Gorman) up.”

Barker summed up his job as the Knights’ lead-off hitter: “Anything I can do to basically get on base, run the table and score runs,” he said.

In the top of the sixth, Gorman delivered again with hard-hit ground ball that just got under the third baseman to bring home Pike for the 5-0 cushion.

“He just puts so much pressure on himself,” Carey said of Gorman’s early offensive struggles. “It’s tough in baseball when you are a very good player. Everyone knows you are good and thinks you are going to get hits every time you get up. … He hit two hard hit base-hits, which will get him on track a little bit.”

Getting on track on the mound hasn’t been an issue in the early season for Gorman. His first time out he tossed a no-hitter, and although his command was off a little bit today, he showed that he is able to still dominate a game without his best stuff.

Gorman struck out six, with the biggest one coming in the bottom of the fifth.

After getting two ground ball outs to begin the frame, Gorman gave up a single and issued back-to-back walks to load the bases, but he regrouped and got Dillon Gonzalez looking with a nasty back-door breaking ball to end the threat.

“Me and (Barker) were on the same page on that,” said Gorman. “We both knew what I wanted there. My curveball had been up a little bit, so I really wanted to make a good pitch with that. I knew I needed that pitch and it was a big spot for us.”

Moore takes wind out of Whalers' sails

November, 30, 2010

TAUNTON, Mass. – The winning equation for St. John’s Prep this season has pretty much gone as follows: Give it to Tyler Coppola.

While the talented running back did tear off 212 yards -- eclipsing the 2,000-yard rushing mark -- and a touchdown, it was another of the Eagles’ running backs who left his immediate imprint on a 35-7 win over New Bedford in their Eastern Mass Division I semifinal.

On the first series of the game, Alex Moore promptly read the eyes of New Bedford quarterback Myles Medeiros, coming over the route of a Whalers receiver and returned the pick 61 yards for an instant 7-0 lead with Connor Shaw’s point after try.

“I dropped back into my deep quarter and I saw the ball come a little high,” the sophomore said, “I ran behind the receiver and it came to me.”

After forcing the Whalers three and out on the ensuing possession, Dillon Gonzalez spun off one tackler and got a de-cleater of a block from Nate Cyr while rumbling 84 yards on a punt return for a touchdown. However, Shaw’s following kick was blocked for a 13-0 Eagles’ lead.

“I didn’t really see what happened,” Gonzalez said about the monster block that set him free. “All I know is that I was looking downfield and seeing who I had to beat.”

Then, Moore got back in the act in the second quarter, ripping off a 20-yard touchdown run to give the Eagles a 21-0 lead heading into the half.

“That’s really my one running play.”

Moore added, “It’s really designed to score a touchdown every time.”

The Eagles (8-4) kept things going in the fourth quarter when quaterback Tommy Gaudet hit tight end Ryan Delisle in the flat on a 21-yard touchdown pass. Gaudet was a perfect 4 of 4 for 44 yards, as head coach Jim O’Leary sprinkled in the pass here and there.

“Coach has all the confidence in the world in our offensive line, that’s what got us here,” Gonzalez said. “As a wide receiver, it’s nice to see a little bit of both. We’ll take it anyway it comes.”

Coppola put the exclamation point on the win with a 70-yard score in the fourth.

New Bedford (6-5) got on the board late on Marcel Depina’s 6-yard touchdown catch from Medeiros, who finished 15 of 27 for 145 yards.

“We’re proud of them,” Whalers head coach Dennis Golden said of his Big Three championship team. “We’re proud of them for not quitting on one another and becoming a team. That’s something we feel is significant, very significant.”

The Eagles will face Everett for the Eastern Mass Division 1 Super Bowl Saturday at Gillette Stadium.

SJP 13 8 0 14 -- 35
NB 0 0 0 7 -- 7

First quarter
SJP Alex Moore 61-yard interception return (Connor Shaw kick)
SJP Dillon Gonzalez 84-yard punt return (Kick blocked)

Second quarter
SJP Moore 20-yard run (Tommy Gaudet to Gonzalez)

Fourth quarter
SJP Ryan Delisle 21-yard pass from Gaudet (Shaw kick)
SJP Tyler Coppola 70-yard run (Shaw kick)
NB Marcel Depina 6-yard pass from Myles Medeiros (Justin St. Pierre kick)

St. John's Prep takes CM to the wire

October, 30, 2010

DANVERS, Mass. – According to St. John’s Prep’s players, their season just began on Saturday in the eighth game of the 2010 season.

“Coach said we have the longest preseason in high school football,” Eagles running back Tyler Coppola said.

The Prep had played to a 4-3 record, entering their Catholic Conference opener with Catholic Memorial. But after registering a 42-29 win over the Knights, with a frenetic fourth quarter when 48 points were scored, the Eagles felt their new season was off to a good start.

It was an emotional Senior Day in Danvers from beginning to end, as the Prep’s fourth-year players had their final game on home turf. Brandon and Jared Coppola, who both had their Eagles gridiron careers cut short by spinal column injuries, joined their brother, Tyler, for on-field introductions and provided an uplifting moment. The Eagles have also been dealing with the loss of assistant coach David McHenry’s wife, Terry, who died last week and was a longtime head of the boosters at the Prep.

Emotions aside, there was a still a game to be played — an important one at that — and the Eagles responded.

“When we first got out there, we were definitely ready to go,” senior offensive guard Nate Cyr said. “But with the introductions with our parents and everything, it was a little emotional. It was a little hard to get ready to go out there and hit some people. But we got it done.”

Catholic Memorial (5-2, 1-1) was the first to strike in the first quarter on the first of three field goals by Tom Byrne.

St. John’s Prep took its first lead of the game with 4:40 remaining in the first half on Dillon Gonzalez’s 8-yard touchdown run. The score came on an end around that the Eagles ran to perfection on two occasions with Gonzalez running for 62 yards early.

“It’s something new that we put in this week,” Gonzalez said. “We know teams are looking for Tyler [Coppola], so we were trying to mix things up a little bit.”

After taking a 7-6 lead to the locker room, Coppola got things going in earnest during the second half. The senior back finished with 25 carries for 246 yards and two touchdowns, both of which came in the pivotal fourth quarter.

“There weren’t any surprises,” Knights head coach Alex Campea said. “We just didn’t stop them the way we should have or could have. But they’re a good football team and Coppola’s a heck of a back.”

Still, despite Coppola’s offensive outburst, Catholic Memorial remained engaged in a one-possession game at 29-22, following A.J. Doyle’s 8-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Hamel with 1:24 remaining in the game.

What happened from there was a flourish of activity.

The Knights recovered the ensuing on-side kick, with a recovery by Josh Charles (who also had a fumble recovery on defense earlier in the fourth). However, Catholic Memorial’s drive was cut short when Alex Moore grabbed a tipped ball and raced 65 yards with an interception return for a touchdown.

On the following Prep kickoff, the Knights’ sublime returner, junior Armani Reeves, again made it a one-score game with an 86-yard return for a touchdown.

The ensuing Catholic Memorial on-side attempt rolled out of bounds, but with 20 seconds remaining, Campea still had three timeouts at his disposal. After the Eagles took three knees in the V-formation, they were forced to punt with Reeves set to return and seven seconds to go.

Hearts were surely fluttering on the Eagles’ sideline.

“I’m a stubborn old guy and said, ‘We’re going to kick it deep,’” Eagles head coach Jim O’Leary said on his decision to kick to Reeves earlier. “I was so frustrated, I didn’t want to give them the ball at the 40 and have them throw it up to those kids. I wanted to get them back down here and make them earn it from a further distance.”

There would be no such luck the second time around despite Reeves’ best efforts. After a lateral and a Catholic Memorial fumble, Eagles senior Pat Shunney took a scoop and score 25 yards to seal the deal — for good.

“As I said to our kids before the game, every game in our league is the league championship,” O’Leary said. “We were fortunate to win this one. We find ways to win.”

Catholic Memorial 3 3 3 20 -- 29
St. John's Prep 0 7 7 28 -- 42

First quarter

CM Tom Byrne 33-yard field goal

Second quarter
SJP Dillon Gonzalez 8-yard run (Connor Shaw kick)
CM Byrne 22-yard field goal

Third quarter
SJP Tommy Gaudet 9-yard run (Shaw kick)
CM Byrne 23-yard field goal

Fourth quarter
SJP Tyler Coppola 4-yard run (Shaw kick)
CM Armani Reeves 57-yard run (Byrne kick)
SJP Coppola 43-yard run (Coppola run)
CM Brandon Hamel 8-yard pass from A.J. Doyle (kick blocked)
SJP Alex Moore 65-yard interception return (Shaw kick)
CM Reeves 86-yard kickoff return (Byrne kick)
SJP Pat Shunney 25-yard fumble return

No. 18 St. John's Prep squeezes by No. 21 CC

September, 18, 2010
DANVERS, Mass. – No. 18 St. John’s Prep headed to the locker room down 14-6 to No. 21 Central Catholic Saturday. The Eagles had been without their best running back, Tyler Coppola, for part of the half and head coach Jim O’Leary thought the Raiders were being tipped off on their runs. Their option attack wasn’t yielding much either.

So O’Leary did what any good football coach does: He adjusted.

First, he put in a couple plays on play-action to get the ball into the hands of receiver Dillon Gonzalez.


Next, he changed up the Eagles’ blocking scheme in the run game to throw off Central Catholic’s keys on fullback Chris Ryan.


Those small changes added up in a big way for Prep on two second-half touchdown drives in a thrilling 22-21 comeback win.

“When the defense is keying in on the run, those passing lanes open up,” Gonzalez said. “We made some changes to our running game, too. Those were all adjustments that we made at halftime.”

Eagles junior quarterback Tommy Gaudet grabbed a botched snap, composed himself and snuck in for a 4-yard touchdown run — his second of the game — to bring Prep (2-0) within a point at 21-20. Gaudet then finished what he started by taking in the 2-point conversion on the keeper.

The Raiders (1-1) got the ball back with two minutes to play, but their drive was dashed when Ryan picked off a Matt McDermott pass over the middle in Eagles’ territory.

“Did you really think I would kick it there?” O’Leary said, grinning about his decision to go for two and the win.

Coppola, who finished with 15 carries for 136 yards, was knocked out of the game for part of first half after he was clipped by an opponent’s helmet on the chin. Eight stitches were required to close the gash.

The senior running back returned in time to led the Eagles back in the third quarter.

Coppola led Prep on a 79-yard touchdown drive that spanned more than eight minutes of the third. The drive culminated with his 32-yard touchdown run (the game was then tied 14-14 after Gaudet took in the 2-point try) to open the fourth quarter. Coppola accounted for 49 of the Eagles’ yards on the drive.

“I want the ball in those situations,” he said. “It gets you pumped up.”

Both of the Eagles’ second-half touchdowns were in no small way aided by Gonzalez’s efforts in the passing game.

The 5-foot-11 wide out skied over the Central Catholic secondary to haul in a sensational one-handed reception over the middle for a 21-yard gain and helped to set up Coppola’s touchdown run.

Gonzalez also put his imprint on what would prove to be the winning Prep drive. Once again, this time on a go-route down the right-hand sideline, he went up for a jump ball and came down the ball over a Raider defender.

“They were just flying up to our option so we put the pass to Dillon [Gonzalez] in,” O’Leary said. “Tommy [Gaudet] threw a nice ball and he got us down the field.”

Central Catholic was not without its bright spots though.

The new look Raiders offense was efficient under the direction of McDermott, who completed 11 of 18 passes for 109 yards and a touchdown in shared time with Ben Onett.

Bruising running back Trae Musumarra contributed 10 carries, 56 hard-fought yards and a rushing touchdown, which temporarily reclaimed the lead, 21-14, for Central Catholic in the fourth quarter.

“They ran the ball between the tackles and we didn’t do a great job of stopping them,” Raiders head coach Chuck Adamopoulos said. “We scored the go ahead touchdown with [three] minutes to go. You’ve got to be able to win the game there. They went for two, which was a good move because we looked awful on defense at that point.

“They made the plays.”