Strong Running Game Carries St. Bernard’s Past Sutton
FITCHBURG -- St. Bernard’s showed off a variety of weapons, rolling up nearly 300 yards rushing, en route to a 41-7 win over Sutton on Friday night at the Bernardian Bowl.
The Bernardians (5-1), coming off a 14-8 setback against Nipmuc Regional last weekend, wasted no time putting away the visiting Sammies (0-6), jumping in front 14-0 in the first quarter and roaring out to a 34-7 lead at intermission.
Senior Dom Valera had a pair of touchdown runs (13 and 55 yards) to lead the St. Bernard’s offense. But Xavier Marty and Jakai Alexandre also scored on the ground, while Nick Mancini scored on a kickoff return and Carteair Cuadrado hauled in a touchdown pass from Dom Cuevas.
The game served two purposes for St. Bernard’s coach Tom Bingham: bounce back after a tough loss and get the offense back in sync in preparation for a critical home game next weekend against Blackstone-Millville Regional.
“We had a few goals that we wanted to work on a few things. And we wanted to get out of here healthy, and we did that,” said Bingham. ”(BMR) is good, they have a really good quarterback. So we’re anxious to turn the page, start doing our film study and get ready for next week.”
Sutton, averaging just 5.6 points per game this season, provided little resistance against a St. Bernard’s team looking to get back on the winning track. Marty sent a loud statement on the Bernardians’ opening possession with a highlight-reel, 81-yard touchdown run and a quick 7-0 lead.
A quick defensive stop gave the Blue and Gold excellent field position, and Cuevas capped the scoring drive with a 6-yard TD pass to Cuadrado to give St. Bernard’s a 14-0 lead.
Offensively, Sutton was content to run between the tackles against a stingy Bernardian defense led by Ben Shaw and Brian Mahoney. The Sammies managed to put together a 10-play, 54-yard scoring drive, with Briant Johnson plowing in from 4 yards out early in the second quarter to cut the Bernardian lead in half, 14-7.
But any momentum Sutton thought it had building was erased in about 15 seconds. That’s how long it took Mancini to return the ensuing kickoff 63 yards for a touchdown. After a 2-point conversion from Max Biegolow, it was 22-7.
St. Bernard’s was just getting warmed up.The defense stopped Sutton on downs near midfield and it took St. B’s just three plays to hit paydirt. This time is was Valera scoring from 13 yards on an end around.
Riding the momentum, the Bernardians caught the Sammies napping and recovered an onside kick with 1:06 to play in the half. That was about 30 seconds more than they needed. Alexandre showed off his speed, scoring on a 26-yard reverse to make it 34-7.
St. Bernard’s capped the scoring on its opening possession of the third quarter. Four plays after a 61-yard scoring run by Mancini was called back on a holding call, Valera showed his breakaway speed and scored on a 55-yard run.