Austin Prep rushes to first victory
It was John Parziale’s first game on the sideline for East Boston, but it was the Austin Prep ground game that stole the show at East Boston Stadium last night.
The Cougars, making their first appearance since winning last year’s Division 3A Super Bowl, pounded the ball to the tune of 323 yards on the ground, led by 94 yards on 11 carries from senior Adam Fraser in a 24-6 victory. Fraser was one of three AP backfield mates to find the end zone as running back Tyler Finigan and quarterback Ryan Havey also contributed with touchdown runs.
“The second half was really Austin Prep football,’’ coach Bill Maradei said. “Get the ball, drive it, drive it, drive it, waste the clock, and score points. That’s what we do.’’
As big as AP’s offense was, it was defense that turned the momentum in its favor early.
Following a pair of big plays on its opening drive, East Boston found itself with first and goal from the AP 10, prime position to grab an early lead.
However, East Boston failed to cash in on the opportunity, and the drive ended when Whitney was sacked on fourth and goal from the 19. It was the first of three East Boston drives that ended scoreless on a failed fourth-and-goal play.
Following the first goal-line stand, AP needed just six plays, including a 38-yard run by Joe Diaz, to drive the ball 80 yards for its first touchdown. Fraser finished the drive with a 10-yard touchdown and a 2-point conversion — both on the ground — to give AP an 8-0 lead.
The ensuing kickoff was booted off an East Boston first-row defender and recovered by AP, but the Cougars squandered the gift as Jets junior Kyle Jimenez-Fox recovered his second fumble of the game.
On the next play, East Boston scored on a 57-yard touchdown run from senior Jose Herrera, but failed on the 2-point try, cutting the deficit to 8-6.
From there, the AP running game took over, picking up a bulk of its 196 first-half yards in the second quarter, highlighted by a 14-yard TD scramble by Havey and a 2-point conversion that increased AP’s lead to 16-6.
AP scored again in the third on a 10-yard run by Finigan, and after making its third goal-line stop in the first minute of the fourth quarter, the Cougars maintained possession for the rest of the fourth quarter.