ALLSTON, Mass. -- Buckingham Browne & Nichols got the football back with 7:56 to go in the fourth quarter, clinging to a 31-28 lead. St. Sebastian’s had scored 14 unanswered points to pull within three, re-energizing the crowd in Harvard Stadium.
The Knights drove down the field with a heavy dose of running plays behind their massive offensive line. They had knocked almost six minutes off the clock and found themselves facing a 4th-down and 12 on the St. Sebastian’s 30-yard-line. BB&N coach John Papas decided to go for it on fourth, feeling it was too far for his kicker and too close to punt. His quarterback Chris Coady threw an incomplete pass, giving the ball back to the Arrows.
St. Sebastian’s put themselves in prime position to score when Patrick Healy hit Brian O’Malley with a short pass as he was running to the right across the field. O’Malley got a block from one of his fellow receivers and ran 64 yards up the sideline. That put the Arrows in scoring range with about one minute left.
Dropping back to pass, Healy was pressured from all sides from the BB&N defensive line, which forced him to leave the pocket. Running to his right, he spotted an open receiver five yards from the end zone. He threw the ball up, but cornerback Adam Bakopolus jumped in front of the receiver and came down with the interception. With that, the Knights held on for the victory.
“That’s a heck of a football team, with a lot of skill, and they’re big up front,” said Papas, in reference to St. Sebastian’s (1-1). “I thought we played our game tonight. Offensively, I thought we did a great job. We bent but we didn’t break in the end.”
By the thread: BB&N (1-1) had to pull out all the stops to get the victory Friday. It started on its first possession of the game. In an effort to keep his team’s drive alive on 3rd and short, Coady kept the ball on a quarterback sneak and pushed the pile, expecting to get stopped for a short gain. Instead, he burst through the linemen and kept running 31 yards for the first touchdown of the game.
Later, in the third quarter, the team was driving again inside St. Sebastian’s territory. Up until this point, BB&N was relying heavily on the run. Knowing that, Coady took the snap and pitched it to his running back Nick DiChiara. He sprinted to his right, looking like he was going to run it. Then, he changed his grip on the ball, and threw a pass to Chad Kohler in the end zone. While in the air, Kohler hit the ball into the air, rather than catching it. The defensive back saw this, and appeared to give up on the play, assuming the ball would fall on the ground. Instead, the ball fell into the waiting arms of Kohler, who was on his back.
Clear night: It was a completely different game for BB&N from the one they played last week against Belmont Hill. After scoring only 14 points in the entire game last Friday, the Knights were able to put up 17 in the first quarter alone Friday.
“I don’t think the weather was great for us last week,” said Papas. “I think this week we came out possessed. We really wanted to prove that last week was not the BB&N team that we think we are. We came out and kind of got after it pretty early.”
Coady echoed those sentiments.
“I don’t want to say the rain but that definitely had something to do with (last week),” he said. “We threw the ball, I think it was five times, last game. We were able to air it out a lot more this week. I don’t want to make excuses or anything but I think we did what we did best this week in running up the seams and between the tackles.”
Healy hurts Knights D: The BB&N defense did not have an answer for Healy, who finished with 97 yards rushing. More than half of that came in the second half. The Arrows’ quarterback appeared to be at his best on long down-and-distances and when his receivers were not getting open, forcing him to make plays with his feet. In the first quarter, on 3rd-and-8, he broke off a 24-yard run. Later in the game, he broke off runs of 11, 23, and 19 yards, keeping drives alive for his team. He was also 12-of-20 for 180 yards, 2 touchdowns, and an interception through the air.
“He was very special tonight,” said Papas. “Defensively, when a team has great athletes out there, you choose whether you want to put six defensive backs in the game or play with four or five. The one play where we played with four, the receiver ran right by our guy. We tried to make him work the whole field and Bakopolus ended up making that great play in the end.”
Dual threat: Chris Coady, the BB&N quarterback who made the transition this year from running back back to quarterback, lead his team in rushing with 165 yards and 2 touchdowns on 19 carries. He was also 7-of-13 passing for 109 yards, one touchdown, and an interception through the air. The interception he threw was an accurate ball that hit off the hands of his receiver and deflected to a defender.
“What I was impressed with was that every ball he threw tonight was right on the money,” said Papas. “He ran for over 160 and through for 109 yards. That’s a lot of total yards for a quarterback. We were thrilled with his performance.”
What Coady was not thrilled with was his defense on the last St. Sebastian’s touchdown that brought them within three points. He was playing linebacker on the play, and it was between he and Brian O’Malley to find out who was going to come down with the ball. He could not jump high enough, and O’Malley came down with the ball. It was not a great way to get avenge the interception he threw a series before. On the kickoff coverage following the St. Sebastian’s touchdown, Coady fielded the ball and almost fumbled it, which would have been a less than wonderful trifecta for the quarterback.
“It was just a coincidence that it was bad play after bad play after bad play,” said Coady. “I just really didn’t want to lose the game for my team.”
BB&N 31, ST. SEBASTIAN’S 28
BBN (1-1) --- 17 7 7 0 --- 31
SEB (1-1) --- 7 7 7 7 --- 28
B - Brendan Daly Safety
B - Chris Coady 31-yard run (Matt Rega kick)
S - Samuel Hodgson 4-yard run (Samuel Washburne kick)
B - Coady 1-yard run (Willie Peoples rush)
B - Willie Peoples 21-yard pass from Coady (Rega kick)
S - John Connolly 1-yard run (Washburne kick)
B - Chad Kohler 32 pass from Nick DiChiara (Rega kick)
S - Kendall Dardy-Jones 33 pass from Patrick Healy (Washburne kick)
S - Brian O’Malley 16-yard pass from Healy (Washburne kick)