If it seemed like the St. Bernard’s running backs were often sprinting downfield all by themselves with nary a defender in sight during Friday night’s win over South Hadley, there’s a reason for that.
They quite often were and did so thanks in large part to the play of the Bernardian offensive line.
There were gaping holes and plenty of real estate out in front of Bernardian ball carriers all night, as the big guys in the trenches more than held their own against a young Tigers team.
Seniors Rocco LaMonica, Darnell Woodson and Stefano Allen and juniors Jeiel Berdicia and Jordan Clifton did the dirty work to get running lanes to open up and the Bernardian running backs kept their uniforms clean for most of the evening.
“I’m very proud of the play up front,” Bernardians head coach Tom Bingham said. “(South Hadley) gave us a funky look (defensively) and it was definitely a challenge. I know we popped a couple big plays, but it was definitely a different look and the kids worked hard in there.”
The Bernardians were without captain and tight end Jordan Burwell, but used a rotating cast in his absence, with Domenic Beaudoin carrying the brunt of the snaps and providing solid blocking early on. The line play helped the Bernardians get out to a 22-0 lead after one quarter, with the hosts taking a 42-0 lead to the Bernardian Bowl clubhouse at halftime.
In all, St. Bernard’s put up nearly 400 yards of offense, including over 300 in the opening half. Only one play went for negative yardage and it came in the fourth quarter on a mishandled snap.
Respect the arm
While the Bernardians’ running attack was undeniably potent and the catalyst for the team’s big win, junior quarterback Salvatore Bilotta was able to showcase his passing abilities in the first half. The southpaw compiled a solid stat line, completing all four of his pass attempts for 57 yards through the air.
“He moved around a little bit and threw the ball well,” Bingham said of his starting quarterback. “He had a good night tonight.”
Bilotta, like the majority of St. Bernard’s offensive starters, watched the second half of Friday’s victory from the bench. Freshman QB Kason Heilon was under center after halftime, getting his first varsity action, though he didn’t attempt a pass.
Believe in the Bulldogs
Sure, it’s just three games, but Monty Tech has looked like an offensive machine in each of its contests.
Want to beat the Bulldogs? You’d better have a stout offense or be ready to put up some serious points.
Thus far, the Bulldogs are averaging 32 points a game. And while Monty Tech has given up some points — 53 in its three games, to be precise — the allowance has gotten smaller every contest, culminating in this week’s 32-13 win at Gardner.
Next up: Bay Path at Bulldog Field next Friday.
Big game for Encarnacion
Quiet and unassuming off the field, Leominster’s Ricky Encarnacion has let his play do the talking this season.
The senior captain had another big game for the Blue Devils on Friday, catching a pair of touchdown passes and running for another score in a 27-0 win over Nashoba Regional. Encarnacion has found the end zone nearly every way imaginable this season: on kick and punt returns, catching the ball or simply receiving a handoff and taking off.
Once the ball is in the hands of Leominster’s dynamic offensive threat, watch out. He’s tough to catch up with in the open field.
As Leominster head coach Devin Gates said regarding Encarnacion earlier this season, “You can’t teach speed.”
And while Encarnacion’s intelligence and determination are among his standout traits, his speed might be second-to-none.