Boston High School: Jon Barlett

Recap: BC High 27, Catholic Memorial 14

November, 27, 2014
DORCHESTER, Mass. – Give your rival an inch, and they’ll take a mile.

Boston College High (6-5) jumped out to a huge early lead over Catholic Memorial (5-6) in the 53rd Thanksgiving Day meeting between these programs. The Eagles scored on the first play of their first two possessions, and junior defensive tackle Matt Johnson returned a fumble 55 yards for a third score to make it 21-0 halfway through the first quarter.

But after netting 21 points on just two offensive plays, the Eagles failed to score on their next four possessions (17 plays). Most importantly, they let the Knights back into the game by setting them up with good field position.

First, Catholic Memorial defensive back Christian Samuel flew in to block Jared Mockus’ 28-yard field goal attempt, setting up the Knights near midfield after a long return.

Ten plays later, sophomore quarterback Matt Marcantano found standout wide receiver Gavin Ajoku for a 12-yard touchdown pass on fourth down to put the Knights on the board.

On BC High’s next possession, senior quarterback Sean Holleran got blindsided by Catholic Memoiral’s Frank Cosolito, and his pass fell into the arms of senior captain Aaron Clancy. This time the Knights capitalized quickly, as Marcantano found Curt Bletzer on a 23-yard shake route to make it 21-14.

“It wasn’t the cleanest of games from that perspective,” admitted BC High head coach Jon Bartlett. “A couple of turnovers hurt us, but in the end, the kids fought hard and the run game came through for us."

The Eagles buckled down defensively in the second half, but their ability to control the clock by controlling the line of scrimmage, proved invaluable.

BC High rushed for 166 yards after halftime, and essentially sealed the game with a 10-play, 47-yard drive led by the bruising running style of fullback Sam Friedman (8 carries, 41 yards).

“We wanted to get back to our power run game in the second half, and that last drive was really important for us,” said Bartlett, who is undefeated as a coach on Thanksgiving Day, and just led BC High to it’s tenth consecutive victory over Catholic Memorial in their traditional bout.

“It feels great,” Barlett continued. “I’m very proud of this team, especially the seniors. At the beginning of the year things were up and down, but I thought we got mentally tougher midway through the season, and that carried on throughout the rest of the season.”

Lightning Strike: BC High clearly came into this year’s tilt with the intention of taking some early shots.

On the Eagle’s first play from scrimmage, Holleran hit wide receiver Nick Gill on a 7-yard out route, but before the junior came down, he pitched the ball to classmate Steve Timmins, who blazed down the sideline for a 72-yard touchdown on a classic hook and ladder play.

“We ran that a couple times in practice to get them with a big hitter, and it worked,” said Gill.

Barlett added, “It took about twelve tries before it finally worked in practice. You know it’s Thanksgiving, the end of the year, so we figured we’d try a few things differently, and it worked great.”

Gill (4 receptions, 94 yards, TD) came up with an interception to end the Knights’ next drive, but didn’t take any time to catch his breath as he caught a 61-yard touchdown as soon as the Eagles took over.

“We had analyzed [Catholic Memorial]’s defense and we realized that they only had one high safety, so we thought we’d take a couple deep shots at the beginning of the game,” Gill said.

When asked about the interception, he continued, ““It was definitely a turning point. If they scored on that play it could’ve been a different game, but I was pretty tired on the next play.”

Knights Continue To Fight: Despite the shocking results of the opening seven minutes, the Knights stuck to their game plan and moved the ball effectively throughout the game.

Matt Marcantano (17 of 34, 173 yards, 2 TD, INT) completed five passes on quick screens in the second half alone, and connected with Gavin Ajoku (6 receptions, 75 yards, TD) on a couple of beautiful throws towards the sidelines.

Catholic Memorial earned another chance to capitalize on a BC High mistake when the Knights recovered a fumble late in the fourth quarter.

Marcantano brought the offense down to the doorstep of the end zone, but a holding penalty derailed Catholic Memorials’ desperate drive bid to make it a one-possession game.

At the very least, the Knights demonstrated that if their rivals continue to make costly mistakes during their annual showdowns, they are more than capable of ending the Eagles’ Thanksgiving winning streak.

BC High 27, Catholic Memorial 14

BC 21 0 0 6 --- 27

CM 0 14 0 0 --- 14

First Quarter
BC – Steven Timmins 72 pass from Sean Holleran (try good) 9:10

BC – Nick Gill 61 pass from Sean Holleran (try good) 5:46

BC – Matt Johnson 55 fumble return (try good) 4:33

Second Quarter

CM – Gavin Ajoku 12 pass from Matt Marcantano (try good) 4:36

CM – Curt Bletzer 23 pass from Matt Marcantano (try good) 1:20

Fourth Quarter
BC – Matt Johnson 1 run (pass failed) 6:33

Recap: No. 5 BC High 35, No. 8 Chelmsford 14

September, 24, 2011
BC High School footballJon Mahoney for ESPNBoston.comPreston Cooper ran for 123 yards and returned an 82-yard kickoff to spark the Eagles on Friday night.

CHELMSFORD, Mass. -- Things went from bad to worse quickly for No. 8 Chelmsford team Friday against No. 5 BC High. Gordon McLeod fielded the opening kickoff at his 17-yard line and took it all the way for a touchdown. From there, the rout was on and the Eagles came away with a 35-14 victory.

Chelmsford’s Eddie Sheridan took the next kickoff back 60 yards down to the BC High (2-1) 30, and it seemed like the game might turn into an instant classic. The Lions went four-and-out however, and BC High proceeded to drive 75 yards for another touchdown.

The Lions (2-1) got on the board in the second when Colby Emanouil hit Matt Rabbito from one-yard away, capping off a long, systematic drive down the field to make it 14-6.

Not to be outdone by his teammate, Preston Cooper took the ensuing kickoff back 82 yards for a touchdown, negating the entire Chelmsford drive in one play.

“Me and (Gordon) always talk and joke around in practice and say ‘Oh if you get one, I want to get one,’ so he got one and I said, ‘I’m gonna get one this time,’ and I got one,” said Cooper.

Cooper was also the leading rusher in the game, with 20 carries for 123 yards and a touchdown.

“Preston is a special player,” said BC High coach Jon Bartlett. “He’s a play-maker. You have to give him the football, whether it’s on a kick return, a handoff, or a pass route, he has to touch the ball.”

BC High took a 28-6 lead into the half and never looked back.

Sheridan was the leading rusher for the Lions, with 18 rushes for 103 yards and a touchdown. He was also his teams leading receiver with three catches for 39 yards. His quarterback, Emanouil, had a difficult night through the air. He finished the game 8-of-20 for 71 yards with an interception and a touchdown. It was hard to tell how much, if any, the wet weather contributed to his struggles.

A few other observations from the game:

Running wild: The ground game was so effective for BC High that Regan attempted only one pass in the second half. He ended the game 3-of-10 for 49 yards and a touchdown. After Chelmsford took 6:44 off the clock in the third quarter driving for its second touchdown, the Eagles answered with a 5:53, 70-yard drive that spanned both quarters. When Luke Catarius punched it in to make it 35-14, that was the final nail in the coffin for Chelmsford.

“We saw that they were tired and Coach wanted us to keep pounding them, so that’s what we did and it worked,” said Cooper. “Being conditioned helps. That’s what got us through that whole drive.”

Bulletin board: There was added motivation in the game for BC High. First, the team wanted to avenge its 49-35 loss to DePaul Catholic last week.

“We went down to New Jersey and really didn’t know what to expect,” said Cooper. “But that’s Massachusetts football and that’s New Jersey football. We just had to come out and play hard and that’s what we did. We didn’t do that last week and that’s what happened.”

There was also talk in the days leading up to the game that fueled the BC High fire Friday.

“We heard there was rumors that their quarterback (Emanouil) was guaranteeing victory and all that, but we just put it aside and used it as motivation and we took it out on the field.”

Weathering the storm: It did not appear that way on the scoreboard, but the elements may have helped the Chelmsford offense during the game. On multiple occasions, Emanouil found himself under immense pressure from the BC High defensive line and had to use his feet to escape. On one particular play, he ran what appeared to be 40 yards horizontally in what ended up being only a one-yard gain. Sheridan also found himself in trouble and had to go horizontally to get away from defensive end Adam Richard and others. It appeared they were being assisted by BC High arm tackles, which might be a result of the wet weather on the field Friday.

“It was a combo of everything,” said Bartlett. “We have to get better, we definitely have to get better. That’s part of (Sheridan) being a good back, but maybe part of it was the weather. I don’t know. But we have to be better tackling.”

Lost in transition: Two particular exchanges proved costly for Chelmsford.

In the second quarter, on the first offensive play following Cooper’s kick return touchdown, there was a fumbled handoff between the quarterback and running back, which was recovered by BC High in Chelmsford territory. Then a Chelmsford player was called for a personal foul penalty, bringing BC High closer. On the next play, a defensive lineman jumped offsides, bringing BC high even closer. That made it very easy for Cooper to run eight yards off left tackle for a touchdown.

Then, after getting the ball back late in the quarter, Chelmsford was driving down to its own 25. Emanouil dropped back and looked to throw to a receiver running an out-pattern. That receiver was double-covered and Richard Roach intercepted the pass, ending any hope Chelmsford had of making it a two-score game going into the half.

B (2-1) --- 14 14 0 7 - 35
C (2-1) --- 0 6 8 0 - 14

1st quarter
B - Gordon McLeod 83 kick return (Jackson Bockhurst kick)
B - Jameson McShea 10 pass from Bartley Regan (Bockhurst kick)

2nd quarter
C - Matt Rabbito 1-yard pass from Colby Emanouil (kick failed)
B - Preston Cooper 82-yard kickoff return (Bockhurst kick)
B - Cooper 4-yard run (Bockhurst kick)

3rd quarter
C - Eddie Sheridan 5-yard run (Matt Rabbito run)

4th quarter
B - Luke Catarius 6 run (Bockhurst kick)