DANVERS - Neither Tropical Storm Hanna nor the Masconomet defense could deter St. John's Prep yesterday, as skies stayed clear throughout the afternoon and the Eagles rolled to past the Chieftains, 36-19.
All-purpose back Brendon Felder ran for 78 yards on eight carries, caught four passes for 38 yards, and scored three touchdowns. He gave credit to his offensive line for his two rushing touchdowns.
"You follow your blockers," he said. "We have a big line, so it's not hard to follow them."
St. John's dominated the opening quarter, striking first when James Fahey, who transfered from Prep to
"Fahey had a nice game. His interception set the tone early," said Prep coach Jim O'Leary.
The Eagles extended their lead to 14-0 on Felder's first touchdown, a 4-yard sweep to the pylon.
Masconomet struck back early in the second quarter on a 36-yard touchdown pass from Chris Splinter to Kevin Anderson. The wide receiver caught the pass on a slant and then sprinted 20 yards untouched for the score.
The Chieftains looked as if they could close the gap before halftime after they forced a punt and marched to the Prep 23. But on a momentum-shifting play, Andrew McHugh forced Splinter to fumble in the backfield and the Eagles recovered at the Masco 41
St. John's took advantage of the mistake in the final two minutes of the half, storming down the field and scoring on a sneak from Felder, who lines at quarterback in short yardage situations.
The Eagles cruised from there, adding two more touchdowns in the fourth on a pass from Greg Donahue to Felder and a 14-yard run by Tyler Coppola (52 yards on 10 carries).
Masconomet countered with two touchdowns in the fourth - a 25-yard run by Splinter and a diving catch by Evan Bunker as time expired.
O'Leary said he was pleased with his team's performance but stressed that lack of experience is still a concern. Prep lost many of its top skill position players to graduation, including Derek Coppola and Scott Darby, and will turn to less-seasoned players such as Felder, Tyler Coppola (Derek's younger brother), and Donahue to propel its offense.
"I think we do have a little bit of athleticism, but we're inexperienced," he said. "[Felder] had a great game, but he's inexperienced. Greg Donahue managed the game well, made some good choices."