Boston High School: Ray Cosenza

MIAA football tourney plan clears another hurdle

May, 10, 2012
5/10/12
7:40
PM ET
FRANKLIN, Mass. -- The possibility of a statewide football championship in Massachusetts took another leap forward this morning.

In what was the second consecutive day of meetings for the MIAA Football Committee and the MIAA Tournament Management Committee on a proposed statewide tournament, voters once again favored the proposition with a 10-4 vote at the MIIA headquarters in Franklin. Combined with a 15-2 sanction by the football committee yesterday, the plan -- which cuts 19 regional winners down to six divisional state champs -- will move to the the board of directors for review in June.

“Every kid or coach who puts the work in wants the chance to get in and you have that opportunity by having a successful pre-qualification period,” said Swampscott football coach Steve Dembowski. “Obviously today's approval plus the endorsing of the finance committee are a big plus. (The board of directors) can decide that they don't like it or they can decide they do like it and want to implement it.”

Concerns were aired about the proposal during the meeting, but no official changes were made . Tantasqua principal Michael Lucas, Dracut athletic director Tim Woods, Malden principal Dana Brown, and Belmont athletic director James Davis all voted against the plan.

Opposition noted problems with the value of the Thanksgiving rivalry, the system assigning divisions and schedules, revenue sharing, the shortening of in-conference games, and the philosophical change of playing regular season matchups during the postseason.

“[Leagues] do not like that they will not know their last three opponents of the year and are sketchy about traveling to East Oshkosh to play teams they have never played before,” said Woods. “Had the football committee spent more time with individual athletic directors they may have overcome some of those fears. If you are going to have a league championship you are going to do it without playing all the teams in your league.”

The intended method would maintain Thanksgiving rivalries, while allowing leagues to schedule their first seven games. A scheduling committee would fill the remaining games for non-qualifying teams based of competitiveness.

Each squad nets revenue from five-and-a-half games, an equal average to the current 11 game regular season. Playoffs run from weeks eight to 13, excluding 11 and 12, with the top two teams in each division facing off at Gillette Stadium in the final week.

The same number of teams will play in the arena as did the previous season.

“If a team knows they are going to be playing in Gillette Stadium the week after, then why are they going to risk their varsity players on the field,” Woods said. “It becomes scrimmage.”

“We have been in the [playoffs] ten times and, even when we played the Super Bowl, it was not the same as the Thanksgiving game against Leominster.” argued Ray Cosenza, Fitchburg athletic director and former football coach.

Similar to other state tournaments, regions will be split into North, South, Central and West, with the later two not competing in Divisions 1 or 3. Leagues larger than five teams will be granted an additional playoff spot, along with available wild cards for all schools based off a regional power ranking system.

“By dissolving Division Three you are going to have schools half the size of other schools playing each other in the playoffs,” Brown said. “They split the third division by moving teams up or down a division and bumped down schools in the first division. Now, you have Division Three teams playing top division schools.”

The four-year plan, which would initiate next season, can be reviewed in two years with the availability of change.

“Two things we are going to keep an eye on are the scheduling committee to make sure they are serving their division and the power rating,” said retiring MIAA deputy director Bill Gaine. “We have already had it tested in the west for a dozen years, but not in the east. We think it is going to work, but we have to make sure it does.”

Fitchburg's Walker: 'It's an honor to take over'

January, 28, 2012
1/28/12
11:21
PM ET
ESPN Boston caught up with newly-anointed Fitchburg High head football coach Dan Walker tonight, to discuss his thoughts on the Red Raiders' program going forward. Walker, 29, was officially named yesterday afternoon as the successor to outgoing coach Ray Cosenza, who steps down after 23 years, 165 wins, 10 Super Bowl appearances and producing numerous scholarship players at both the Division 1 FBS and FCS levels.

Walker was a two-sport star at Worcester State before joining Cosenza's staff in 2006. He has been the Raiders' defensive coordinator the last five seasons.

On his reaction to being named head coach: "It's very exciting. Obviously, Fitchburg has a great tradition, Ray has built a great program, and it's an honor to take over from him. It's such a great program with great tradition and pride."

What it means to replace a coach like Cosenza: "He's been great. Working under him for six years, he allowed me to coach a lot and grow as a coach. I thank him for all he's done for me. He's been a great mentor along with several other coaches. I was fortunate enough to play for and coach with Tom DiGeronimo. At Worcester State, I had the pleasure of playing for two great coaches there in Brien Cullen and Dirk Baker, in football and baseball respectively."

What he's learned from Ray that he'll apply: "Ray always had lot of pride in Fitchburg. He's a real hard worker, he really showed me what it takes to get the job done year-round...It takes staying on top of the kids -- academics, behavior, offseason training, and other stuff like clinics, camps, fundraising, everything has built the program to the point it's at."

How he'd describe his own coaching style: "I love teaching. The kids know what to expect, I'm pretty straightforward with them. I expect them to be committed, disciplined, show good work ethic, and really build their character, to have success."

His defensive philosophy: "Defensively, we’ve really tried to focus on fundamentals over the last five years. It's been mostly a four-man front, from 4-3 or a 4-4, and we really want to get good at fundamentals and execute. We've played physical, and we've been pretty good defensively over the last five years. We've made our mistakes, but we've learned lot over the last five years about what works and what doesn’t.

"Defensively, I think we're gonna keep preaching fundamentals and get after it. I think that fits the type of kids we have best. We'll run five-man fronts when we have to, we'll go based on what the team is best at, as long as we're teaching fundamentals."

How he plans to approach the offense going forward: "I think we have to do what best fits our personnel. We have a good quarterback coming back and some receivers, and a handful of running backs. We need to build an offensive line. We have some good, young kids that bring some good size. I think we can keep the same system, but maybe integrate some of the 'I' stuff to it, to be able to be multiple, depending on the other team what we think we're able to do."

On the players coming up: "I think we have good skill kids coming back. In the last month or so, the younger kids have shown great work ethic in the weight room. The upcoming kids have some good size I think coming in, but more importantly good kids with good character and work ethic. They work hard, and they've already shown that in the weight room.

"Our quarterback last year, Connor Lemieux, hes gonna be coming back. A couple running backs, Dmitri Brasilli, Anthony DiPrima. We lose mostly linebackers, some of our tailbacks are only going to be juniors next year. We've got a couple kids up front, couple receivers there that show some good skill. We're fortunate at Fitchburg that we usually have some pretty good skill. We'll see how we can do going forward."

Report: Fitchburg football taps Walker for HC

January, 28, 2012
1/28/12
11:52
AM ET
Multiple news outlets from the Central Mass. region are reporting this morning that Fitchburg High is going in-house for its replacement of outgoing legendary head coach Ray Cosenza.

Yesterday afternoon, Cosenza officially tapped 29-year-old Dan Walker, his defensive coordinator for the last five seasons, as his replacement. Cosenza will remain as the school's athletic director.

“I’m very excited,” Walker told the Fitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise's Chad Garner. “I hope to carry the tradition of Fitchburg football into the future. I’m pumped and ready to go. Fitchburg has a great tradition, and I’m honored to take over such a storied program. With hard work and commitment we should be where we belong: at the top of Central Mass.”

Walker is a 2000 graduate of Narragansett Regional, where he was named to the Mass. Football Coaches Association's Super 26 All-State Team his senior year as a linebacker. He lettered in both football and baseball for Worcester State, graduating in 2005, and spent some time on the Lancers' football coaching staff before joining Cosenza's staff for the last six seasons.

Fitchburg finished 6-6 last season, bowing out to eventual Division 1 Super Bowl champion Leominster in the playoffs. Cosenza steps down after 23 seasons at the Raiders' helm with a 165-95-1 record.

“I think in the next few years we’re going to get our size back, we have some big kids coming up,” Walker told the Worcester Telegram & Gazette's Jim Wilson. “Ray has done a great job. Things aren’t broken, we just have to keep going and work hard and get better.”

Report: Cosenza stepping down at Fitchburg

December, 1, 2011
12/01/11
9:47
AM ET
The Sentinel & Enterprise of Fitchburg and Telegram & Gazette of Worcester are reporting this morning that legendary Fitchburg High head football coach Ray Cosenza is calling it a career with the Red Raiders.

Cosenza, who will continue as Fitchburg's athletic director, hangs it up with a career record of 194-116-1 in 29 years at Fitchburg and cross-town St. Bernard's High. His last 23 years were on the Fitchburg sideline, in which he went 165-95-1 and led the Raiders to 10 Suepr Bowl appearances, winning three (1991, 1996 and 2000).

Cosenza, 53, told reporters that he made his decision to step down over the summer, and told his staff in their first meeting before the season. He asked them to keep the news private, so as not to take attention away from the players.

"I'm very comfortable with this decision," Cosenza told the Sentinel's Chad Garner. "I have no regrets. I just felt like it was time. It's been a tough couple of weeks emotionally, obviously. I know how much I'll miss (coaching), and I'll miss the kids and the staff. I've been fortunate to coach at the greatest place in the world."

Recap: No. 14 Leominster 21, Fitchburg 14

November, 24, 2011
11/24/11
9:05
PM ET
FITCHBURG, Mass. -- There was not a spot in the playoffs up for grabs Thanksgiving morning. Each team already had one of those. Fitchburg and Leominster played for pure pride and bragging rights, with Leominster holding on for a 21-14 victory.

It was the 128th meeting between the two Mid-Wach A schools, so it is a storied rivalry to say the least. With the two teams so familiar with each other, one could almost expect to see something it had not seen before.

On Fitchburg’s first offensive play, quarterback Connor Lemieux lined up in the shotgun and handed the ball off to Demitri Brasili. He ran left, then pitched the ball to Quinton Perkins for what appeared to be a designed reverse for the speedy wide receiver. Instead of running around the right end, he heaved the ball downfield to a wide open Berny Platel for a 68-yard touchdown.

“We knew it was going to happen, we told them, ‘Don’t bite up on that,’ and we bit up,” said Leominster coach Dave Palazzi. “But it’s a game of what you do after you’re down. I told the kids that’s what this game is all about. There’s going to be plays, there’s going to be big plays, it’s how we respond to those big plays that’s going to be the test of who we are.”

Game on.

After going three-and-out on its first drive, Leominster (8-3) responded with a five-minute scoring drive. The pivotal play came when Palazzi decided to go for it on 4th-and-4 from the Fitchburg 10-yard line. Quarterback Garrett DelleChiaie (5-of-18, 93 yards) took the snap and sprinted off left tackle with his running back to his right, available for the option pitch if needed. Instead, he decided to keep the ball and got into the end zone to put his team ahead 8-7 after the two-point conversion.

The momentum swung towards Leominster on the ensuing drive when it stopped Fitchburg (6-5) on 4th-and-5 around midfield. This gave the Blue Devils short field position, which they capitalized on early in the second quarter when running back Geraldo Rivera (18 carries, 60 yards; three catches, 71 yards) ran in from seven yards out to put his team ahead 14-7.

Fitchburg tied up the score on its next possession, but Leominster came up with a big play when Brandon Herrick knocked the ball out of Perkins’ hands on a running play. Jason Valera picked up the fumble and ran it back 40 yards for the deciding touchdown.

“It’s one of those Leominster-Fitchburg games,” said Palazzi. “It’s always the same thing, same deal. One or two plays here and there is the deciding factor and we just held strong until the end.”

Palazzi reflects: This marked the first Fitchburg-Leominster Thanksgiving Day matchup for Palazzi as the head coach of Leominster. When asked after the game if the game had a special feeling to it, he quickly put the attention back on the players.

“I’m just happy for our 32 seniors,” said Palazzi. “Starting out the season 0-3, and to be standing on this field 8-3 beating Fitchburg on their home field and just letting our seniors take it all in is fantastic. We’re just fortunate to do what we’ve done. My hat goes off to Ray Cosenza and his entire team. That’s a good football team over there. They battled all game and we’ll see what happens in the playoffs.

D1 Playoff field set: The playoff eligibility was already decided for the two teams coming into Thanksgiving, so the result of the game only told the two teams who they would play Tuesday night in the playoffs. Fitchburg will play St. John’s of Shrewsbury, while Leominster is scheduled to face Shrewsbury. This marks a short preparation time for all teams involved.

“We have tomorrow off, then we’ll practice Saturday, Sunday, and Monday,” said Palazzi. “We’ll have a Tuesday night playoff game. Maybe you guys will figure out who we’re playing and when. I know it will be at Doyle Field, I’m just not sure of the time.”

Perkins goes down: In the third quarter, Fitchburg’s Quinton Perkins went down with an apparent cramp and was forced to leave the game. After getting stretched out on the sidelines by the trainers, he gave it another shot and reentered the game later in the quarter. After one running play, the pain appeared again, but this time Perkins left the game for good.

This time, no stretching or hydration could help. It was a big loss for Fitchburg because until that point, he was giving the Leominster defense fits. The Fitchburg offense was noticeably sluggish with him not in the lineup. Perkins was lining up as a receiver, running back, and even a Wildcat quarterback until that point. He ended the game with 9 carries for 74 yards and the 68-yard touchdown pass.

Defense holds: Both defenses showed up when its team needed it to in the second half. However, it was Leominster’s defense that made the bigger impact by intercepting Connor Lemieux three times in the second half.

“I knew once they started throwing the ball and Perkins went out of the game, that really hurt them,” said Palazzi. “Let’s be honest, he’s an unbelievable player. You take our best player away from us and those things happen. They had to change their gameplan a little bit, throwing the ball around, and I had a little more confidence once they started to throw the ball. We defended the pass pretty well all year and we did it in the second half.”


LEOMINSTER 21, FITCHBURG 14
LEO (8-3) --- 8 - 13 - 0 - 0 --- 21
FIT (6-5) --- 7 - 7 - 0 - 0 --- 14

First Quarter
F - Berny Platel 68-yard pass from Quinton Perkins (Eric Comeau kick)
L - Garrett DelleChiaie 10-yard run (Kevin O'Connor pass from DelleChiaie)

Second Quarter
L - Geraldo Rivera 7 run (pass failed)
F - Comeau 33 pass from Connor Lemieux (Comeau kick)
L - Jason Valera 40 fumble return (Pawel Kubiak kick)

Ludden shocks Fitchburg in Double OT

November, 25, 2010
11/25/10
9:23
PM ET
LEOMINSTER, Mass. -- Understand, Cortez Ludden might have missed a few people when he was listing everyone responsible for his game-winning touchdown in double overtime for Leominster High School.

Ludden somehow didn’t mention the cheerleaders, the band, the principal, the custodians, the cops on the sidelines, the vendors hawking hot chocolate on this chilly Thanksgiving morning, his parents, his future wife and kids. But the junior running back had just about everybody else covered, and given enough time, he probably would have gotten around to the others, too.

“It was amazing,’’ said the gracious Ludden, a 5-foot-8, 225-pounder who is built low to the ground and tough to knock off his feet, as he demonstrated while pushing his way into the end zone from three yards out to score the deciding points in Leominster’s 24-18 win over archrival Fitchburg High in Doyle Field.

“We were the underdogs with the newspapers and everybody, and we pulled through. My offensive line, my defensive line, the whole team, the wide receivers, everyone, the specialists, they all did their job.’’

What Ludden didn’t mention, until prodded, was that in the end, Leominster coach John Dubzinski had the confidence to call his number with the game on the line, after a disastrous sequence earlier in the game had led directly to Fitchburg’s first touchdown.

“It was all in my hands,’’ said Ludden, whose winning score came after the Leominster defense stopped Fitchburg on its second series of extra downs, senior lineman David Ferguson recovering a fumble by Fitchburg’s Steph’fon Teague on a third-down play from the five.. “I had to prove myself right there, show them what I was made of. We put all the energy of the mistakes we had made into that touchdown, and that’s how we got it.’’

Fitchburg, whose do-everything backfield star Quinton Perkins missed much of the first half after taking a shot in the head while making a tackle on defense, had been just stopped at the Leominster one, safety Geraldo Rivera making a touchdown-saving tackle of Fitchburg quarterback Kyle Phillips, with Leominster holding a 6-0 lead late in the second quarter.

But four plays later, an anxious Fitchburg crowd -- whose team had come in as heavy favorites in the 127th meeting in this ancient rivalry of two old mill towns in central Massachusetts -- exploded with unexpected joy when defensive back Tyrie Osby ripped the ball out of Ludden’s hands, and went in untouched from 18 yards out for the game-tying score.

It happened so quickly, it took a moment to register. How did Osby wind up with the ball?

“They were a little dirty,’’ said Ludden, who fumbled again later but was bailed out when teammate Josh Caouette fell on the ball. “They were trying to punch me and stuff in the stomach and I was trying to hold onto it. I thought I was down on one knee but two guys pulled it out.’’

Fitchburg, with a chance to take the lead, failed to click on a pass from Anthony Figueroa intended for D.J. Wilson on the two-point conversion attempt, and Leominster took the second-half kickoff 67 yards for the go-ahead score. Senior quarterback Kyle Ford, who threw sparingly during the game, executed some beautiful sleight of hand before connecting with senior Justin Bailey on a 25-yard play-action pass that gave the Blue Devils a 12-6 lead with 3:49 left in the third quarter.

Perkins, who had scored six touchdowns in Fitchburg’s previous game against a good Gardner team, had watched much of the first half disconsolately from the Fitchburg bench while the team doctor hovered, concerned that the 18-year-old junior had sustained a concussion. Without him, the Fitchburg offense sputtered. “Of course,’’ Ford said when asked whether Perkins’s absence had been a big factor. “He’s a huge playmaker.’’

But after he was re-examined in the locker room at halftime, Fitchburg coach Ray Cosenza reinserted him in the game.

“I kind of had a feeling we’d see him again,’’ Dubzinski said. “He’s a great back.’’

In Fitchburg’s spread offense, Perkins lines up as a wide receiver, a slot back, even a quarterback in the shotgun. And indeed, he showed signs of taking over the game upon his return, ripping off gains of 12 and 18 yards as Fitchburg crossed into Leominster territory. Lined up wide to the left, Perkins ran a fly pattern down the sideline as Fitchburg went for it all from the Leominster 48, but junior Shaunsagh Addo made a leaping interception at the eight.

But there was the inescapable sense that Leominster had not seen the last of Perkins. Indeed, after the Red Raiders got the ball back at their own 34 after a short Leominster punt with 5:47 to play in regulation, he took Fitchburg down the field in just six plays for the game-tying touchdown, going in himself from 10 yards out for the tying score with 3:21 to play.

At that moment, Leominster’s two failed conversion kicks loomed large. “I thought our special teams had gotten us in real trouble,’’ Dubzinski said.

But the Leominster defense once again came up with the kind of stop that made you wonder how the Blue Devils had lost five straight coming into this game. The kind of stop a team makes when it knows a trip to the playoffs does not await, and that this would be its bowl game.

With Perkins prepared to work some more magic after taking a handoff out of the slot, junior Brandon Herrick broke through Fitchburg’s line and flung him down for a huge loss on the two-point conversion attempt.

The Blue Devils, faced with a 4th and 2 on their own 47 with 44 seconds left, elected to go for it rather than punting and putting the ball back into Perkins’ hands. With the Fitchburg defense stacked for the run, Ford put the ball in the air, connecting with sophomore tight end Rocco Daigneault for a 26-yard gain. “We’d been working on that play all week in practice,’’ Ford said.

Two plays later, Nicholas Wilford’s 12-yard gain on a draw play brought the ball to the 11, and Ford spiked the ball, bringing on sophomore Leonardo Trento for a potential game-winning field goal. Teague, however, broke through the line to block the kick, and for the second time in three years, this game would require extra time. Four downs for each team from the 10-yard line, with a two-point conversion try required after any score.

Wilford punched through from a half-yard out on fourth down to give Leominster an 18-12 lead, but was stopped by linebacker Eric Myles on the conversion try. It took Fitchburg just two downs to answer, Teague running it in from eight yards, but he, too, was denied on the conversion.

Fitchburg had the ball first in the second overtime, but after two runs by Perkins gained just five yards, Ferguson made his fumble recovery.

Dubzinski had some trickery left in his playbook -- a flanker reverse by Caouette -- though he credited offensive coordinator Roger Mercier with the call. “Coach wanted to go with it,’’ Ford said, acknowledging initially there was some resistance. “But coach said, ‘Let me do what I want to do.’’’

Caouette gained seven on the trickery. In the huddle, Ludden heard his play called.

“I knew he’d come through,’’ Ford said. “I knew he would.’’

And when Ludden sprawled across the goal line, the Leominster students lined up behind the end zone rushed the field. Tears streamed down the face of some of the Leominster seniors who had just played their final game, as parents alternately hugged and comforted them. A skirmish briefly broke out between the teams. An emotional Perkins hurled his helmet to the field. The coaches decided between them that the Fitchburg team should leave without the traditional postgame handshake.

Fitchburg (7-4) will play again, with a first-round playoff game looming against Holy Name.

Leominster (4-7)? Dubzinski, walking off the field with his wife Donna and daughter Jane, laughed when asked if this win meant he’d been taken off dish-washing duty for the day. “A tough season,’’ he said, “but we told our kids that winning this one would be something for them to savor all winter and spring.’’

Or maybe longer. “The rest of my life,’’ said Ford, the quarterback, flashing a beautiful teen-aged smile. “For the rest of my life.’’

LEOMINSTER 24, FITCHBURG 18

FIT 0 6 0 6 6 0 --- 18
LEO 6 0 6 0 6 6 --- 24

First Quarter
L - Geraldo Rivera 2 run (kick failed) 3:25

Second Quarter
F - Tyrie Osby 18 fumble return (pass failed) 1:51

Third Quarter
L - Justin Bailey 25 pass from Kyle Ford (kick failed) 3:49

Fourth Quarter
F - Quinton Perkins 10 run (rush failed) 2:49

First Overtime
L - Nick Wilford 1 run (rush failed)
F - Steph'fon Teague 8 run (rush failed)

Second Overtime
L - Cortez Ludden 3 run

Vassar breaks through as No. 4 SJS rolls

October, 1, 2010
10/01/10
10:29
PM ET




FITCHBURG, Mass. -- Dan Light was the catalyst once again for No. 4 St. John's of Shrewsbury, racking up 279 yards of offense and five touchdowns, but quietly having a solid night himself was the tailback in the Pioneers' no-huddle, shotgun spread offense, senior John Vassar.

The Pioneers rolled easily 56-12 Friday night at Crocker Field to improve to 4-0. But it was the 5-foot-10, 200-pound Vassar who gave St. John's the initial cushion, plunging from 4 yards out for a 14-0 lead, then ripping off a nifty 31-yard scamper for a 21-0 lead just 10 minutes into the first quarter. Coming around the right sideline on an off-tackle run, Vassar made two quick jukes back to the inside, made a quick jump-cut on a Fitchburg defender at the 15, stiff-armed another at the 10, then glided into the end zone.

St. John's led 42-6 at the half over Fitchburg, the No. 3-ranked team in Central Mass.

When asked about the second touchdown scamper, Vassar deferred credit to the offensive line.

"That was the line, they opened up the hole pretty well so I could make a good move on the linebackers," said Vassar, who finished with 70 yards on eight carries. "One on one with [Fitchburg safety Quinton] Perkins, I mean he plays hard. But I guess, I don't know, I think I got pretty lucky on that one. I went low, he went low, and I was surprised I kept my balance."

With the win, the Pioneers are now averaging 42.2 points per game and have outscored the opposition 169-27. Just what kind of statement does this make for the rest of Central Mass.? Head coach John Andreoli wouldn't go there -- "Next week [against Shrewsbury] is all we're caring about right now," he said -- but Vassar said he thinks it made a resounding one.

"We'll play you hard, doesn't matter what you do," Vassar said. "They [Fitchburg] came out and they beat St. Peter-Marian, 24-0 [last week], we just come back and smash them back."

Light, of course, was Light. In the first half, he racked up 151 yards passing with scores of 30 (to Drew Ortone) and 53 yards (to Cal-bound Richard Rodgers), and added 75 yards and two scores on the ground.

"In our spread offense, when you've got five on seven -- they came out in a 3-3, looked like six guys in the box," Andreoli said. "But Danny, we create our offense by spreading guys out and creating the run -- which, you know, he's a bruising runner, and he makes very good decisions with the ball."

Early on, however, Fitchburg's speedy junior Perkins (134 yards of offense, two touchdowns) got into the teeth of the Pioneers' passing game, breaking up several long balls with his coverage over the top at free safety (including a nice breakup of a potential Rodgers touchdown). He made arguably the best run of the night late in the third quarter, taking an option pitch at the right sideline, turning 90 degrees to the opposite field, cutting up right and putting on his 4.5-40 burners, stiff-arming the last defender at the Pioneer 35 and marching to pay dirt.

"Our game plan on defense was to get in his face quickly, not give him any space," Andreoli said of Perkins. "I think our outside linebackers did a really good job, Shaun Burlinson and John Vassar, on the other side when he went in motion. We didn't want to give him the ball in space."

Said Fitchburg head coach Ray Cosenza, "We had some chances, but things just didn't go our way early, and we didn't react well to it. They played awesome. They were clearly better tonight, and we'll have to go back to work."

ST. JOHN'S 56, FITCHBURG 12

SJS 21 21 7 7 --- 56
FIT 0 6 6 0 --- 12

First Quarter
S - Drew Ortone 30 pass from Dan Light (Richard Rodgers kick) 8:32
S - John Vassar 4 run (Rodgers kick) 6:15
S - Vassar 31 run (Rodgers kick) 2:40
Second Quarter
S - Rodgers 53 pass from Light (Rodgers kick) 8:14
S - Light 29 run (Rodgers kick) 6:09
F - Quinton Perkins 5 run (kick blocked) 3:05
S - Light 2 run (Rodgers kick) 0:03
Third Quarter
F - Perkins 63 run (pass failed) 3:02
S - Light 14 run (Rodgers kick) 1:14
Fourth Quarter
S - Sean Wilson 7 run (Sean Gavin kick) 4:31

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