ATTLEBORO, Mass. -- Somerset-Berkley won the coin toss prior to Friday night’s Eastern Athletic Conference game at Bishop Feehan and opted to defer to the second half.
On the fourth play after the opening kickoff, Cameron Frye broke through the right side and sprinted 63 yards for a touchdown. Then, three plays after the ensuing kickoff, Tom Flett recovered a Cole Stafford fumble which set up a 10-yard touchdown run by Frye and a 14-0 lead.
For all intents and purposes, the game was over, as the Shamrocks cruised to a 41-7 victory which enabled them to clinch the conference championship and a berth in the Division 3A semifinals against the South Coast Conference champion.
The Blue Raiders (4-6, 3-1) are known for their double-wing, ball-control offense. But they were in trouble because that offense isn’t designed to enable teams to overcome significant deficits.
“The ball bounced the right way for us early in the game and I think that gave us momentum,” said Feehan coach Curt Smith. “I think it’s tough in that offense when you fall behind to come back. That’s what we needed to do, get up early.
“That’s what we talked about all week, trying to get up early on them, and we were fortunate enough to do that.”
“Fortune” had little to do with the next touchdown scored by Feehan (6-4, 4-0) as opposed to execution.
On first and 10 from his 30 early in the second period, quarterback Andrew Murphy ran play action where he faked a handoff to Frye (13 carries, 117 yards) and threw a 69-yard scoring bomb to Flett for a 20-0 lead.
But fortune definitely played a role in in a score that gave Feehan a 27-0 lead. Murphy scrambled from his 30 and appeared to be en route to a sure touchdown –- until he fumbled the ball into the end zone, where the ball was smothered by teammate Jim Corbesero.
Feehan’s defense stopped Mike Garrant for zero yards on fourth-and-three from the Blue Raiders’ 38, and the Shamrocks converted that into a four-yard touchdown pass from Murphy to Zach Forget.
The Shamrocks completed their scoring on another well-executed play early in the third quarter when Murphy threw a screen pass to Christian Cooke, who broke it 50 yards to the end zone.
“We respect everybody,” added Smith. “We prepare and we assume that everyone is better than us. It doesn’t matter who it is. Records are thrown out the window.
“That’s the way we prepare.”
Immovable objects: Against Somerset-Berkley, and throughout Feehan’s six-game winning streak, the Shamrocks’ defense has been rock-solid.
In their last five games, for example, Feehan’s allowed only 15 points –- eight on an 85-yard touchdown run, and seven when the Blue Raiders scored with 41 seconds left of the clock against the Shamrocks’ second- and third-stringers.
Or to put it another way, 68 of the 75 yards in total offense Somerset-Berkley amassed in the second half came on that last drive.
Smith was effusive in his praise of senior Ed Giles, senior Tim McMackin, junior Mitch Martin, junior Chris Barthe, Forget, Flett and senior John Labelle.
“They’ve put the ‘D’ in our defense,” said Smith. “Our defense has been playing well. The kids are disappointed because they wanted another shutout. But it’s not about that. It’s about playing well and doing the right thing.
“The seniors on defense have waited 365 days for this opportunity after last year (when the Raiders rang up 49 points against the Shamrocks) –- much like Somerset did last year. It’s a nice, little rivalry we’ve got going.”
Intestinal fortitude: After the Shamrocks lost their first four games they had every opportunity to mail in the rest of the season. Instead, they did a complete turn-around and won their last six.
“We played some tough teams in the beginning,” said Murphy. “We basically said we’re going to fight and do whatever we can to compete with those teams. Then, hopefully that would set us up to move through our EAC schedule and put us in a good position.
“We we’re in a similar situation last year. We came out and knew what we had to do. We knew we had to get the EAC and we came out and got it.”
FEEHAN 41, SOMERSET BERKLEY 7
SOM (4-6, 3-1) 0 - 0 - 0 - 7 --– 7
FEE (6-4, 4-0) 14 - 20 - 7 - 0 --– 41
F – Cameron Frye 63 run (Matt Allen kick)
F – Frye 10 run (Allen kick)
F – Tom Flett 69 pass from Andrew Murphy (kick failed)
F – Jim Corbesero recovered fumble in end zone (Allen kick)
F – Zach Forget 4 pass from Murphy (Allen kick)
F – Christian Cooke 50 pass from Murphy (Allen kick)
S – Cole Stafford 4 run (T.J. Eisele kick)