READING, MA – Against Pope John XXIII, Boston Cathedral converted on two separate two-point conversions that helped the Panthers edge the Knights, 16-12, as well as keep their undefeated season alive.
“Our kids kept their composure [all game],” said Cathedral head coach Duane Sigsbury. “We’ve been an unbelievable offense all year, they’ve been an unbelievable offense all year [too], but offense wins games, defense wins championships, and I thought that our defense was jus unbelieavable.”
Knights quarterback Rob McMaster (13 of 24, 152 yards, 1 TD, 3 INT), began the game with a one-yard score, before Malcolm Brown’s two-point conversion rush failed. The Knights (5-3) then registered their final touchdown of the game during the opening minutes of the second quarter, as McMaster connected with Brown on a five-yard touchdown pass before once again, the team’s two-point conversion failed.
“We just couldn’t get those going,” Pope John head coach Brain Vaughan said. “That’s actually been our thing all year. Our kicking game isn’t where we would like to be, so it forces [us] to go for two, and today, we [weren’t] able to punch [them] in.”
The Panthers (8-0) immediately responded on the ensuing possession, as quarterback Matthew Owens (2 of 5, 46 yards) sprinted past the Knights defense for a 65-yard score, followed by a successful two-point conversion.
Owens then scored the final touchdown of the contest with his feet again, a 46-yard scamper, and connected with Carlos Bermudez on the team’s second two-point conversion giving the Panthers a 16-12 lead, and eventually the game too.
Owens tears up the defense: Owens not only completed two-of-five passes, but also rushed for 183 yards on 17 carries, and finished the game with two touchdowns.
“We all stepped up as a team. We carried each other through it, especially that last three minutes, we battled,” said Owens. “We battled. We’ve been through this adversity before against Pope John Hyannis, [and] we were going through the same thing- nothing new to us, so we played like we played that game. We battled through it.”
“Matt’s unbelievable,” said Sigsbury. “Matt just made unbelievable player after unbelievable play. He’s a heck of an athlete, and he’s going to be a great college football player.”
Panthers Defense Smothers: The Knights passing and rushing game struggled against a physical Panthers defense, especially in the second half.
“The picks probably killed us, we shouldn’t have probably went deep [like we did] on first downs, but [there] were some good chances out there,” said McMaster.
Sigsbury commented about his team’s defensive performance by saying, “The kids are just relentless on defense, we work very hard in ball drills every day. Going to the ball in the air and our kids just do an awesome job of listening to what we tell them as coaches and they execute it.”
No second half momentum: After a rather exciting first two quarters, the second half featured both squads struggling to maintain any sort of momentum. The Knights and Panthers moved the ball into their opponent’s zones, but couldn’t overcome various false starts or holdings, which derailed numerous offensive series.
“One of the things that we talked about at halftime was maintain, and controlling the ball – keeping the ball,” said Vaughan. “Unfortunately, we threw an interception, [and] those things happen.”
BOSTON CATHEDRAL 16, POPE JOHN 12
PJX (5-3) 6 6 0 0 — 12
CTH (8-0) 0 16 0 0 — 16
P – Rob McCaster 1-yard run (run failed)
P – Malcolm Brown 5 pass from McMaster (pass failed)
C – Matthew Owens 65 run (Owens run)
C – Owens 46 run (Carlos Bermudez pass from Owens)