(VIDEO) St. John’s Prep Keeps Rolling Behind Yarin and Rockett
by Nate Weitzer for Mass Prep Stars
BRIDGEWATER, Mass. – Facing a fourth-and-26 on a rainy night with a slim 10-7 lead on the road might seem like a good time for a conservative play call.
Perhaps if his new quarterback Mike Yarin had not recently produced 11 all-purpose touchdowns while leading the Eagles to three consecutive wins over Catholic Conference foes, St. John’s Prep head coach Brian St. Pierre might have played it safe.
Perhaps he would’ve called a draw play, trusted his stout defense, and looked to get out of town with a narrow win.
But because of his meteoric ascendancy from a novice quarterback to one of the most poised signal callers in the state, Yarin was given the opportunity to make a play, and sure enough, he threw a dime to Wes Rockett for a 34-yard touchdown to effectively seal the Eagles 17-7 win at No. 10 Bridgewater-Raynham.
On 4th and 24, Yarin throws a beauty to Wes Rockett for a 34-yard score. Prep leads B-R 17-7 with 7:59 remaining pic.twitter.com/kfKMyv92M2— Nate Weitzer (@nweitzer7) October 22, 2016
"[Yarin] is a lot calmer in the pocket now,” Rockett explained after the game. “He told me in practice the other day that before he was just seeing the receivers, and now he sees the whole defense. He told me now he knows where the blitz is coming from, he knows who is open, and his confidence has inspired more confidence throughout our whole team.”
Bridgewater-Raynham (4-3) snatched the momentum early when Marcus McNeil broke a 77-yard kick return and Shawn Noel (10 carries, 34 yards, TD) rushed for a short touchdown to make it 7-3 just before halftime.
It was gut check time for No. 5 St. John’s Prep, and the Eagles responded in impressive fashion out of the break, as Yarin (9-of-13, 109 yards, TD; 12 carries, 56 yards) engineered a seven-play, 68-yard scoring drive to regain the lead at the start of the third quarter.
“We talked about how it is a mandatory score coming out of halftime,” explained St. John’s Prep head coach Brian St. Pierre. “We try to bookend halves here by ending the first half with a score and starting the second half with one, and it was disappointing to give up a touchdown right before the break, but the kids really responded to the challenge.”
The Eagles defense also responded positively to their coaches’ exhortations, as they held the Trojans to zero net yards from scrimmage on just seven plays during a dominant second half.
Many of those same players contributed on the offensive line as well, giving running backs Aise Pream (16 carries, 80 yards, TD) and Trent Tully (5 carries, 41 yards) all the space they needed to rack up a combined 113 second-half rushing yards to salt away the victory.
With the win, St. John’s Prep (5-2) clinches at least a share of the Catholic Conference title with Xaverian (5-1), as the Hawks were up 10-0 over BC High when that game was postponed due to weather.
Regardless of the regular season results, St. Pierre and his players eagerly await the beginning of the MIAA State Tournament next weekend.
“We have no control over who we see in the first round, but we’re playing our best ball at the right time and we’re ready for a one-game season each week,” said St. Pierre.
Closing time for Prep defense. Declan Burt knocks a pass down at the line of scrimmage here pic.twitter.com/ZKiznT38It— Nate Weitzer (@nweitzer7) October 22, 2016
Stars Who Shined
St. John’s Prep
Mike Yarin ‘18 QB – Since he struggled against Everett’s elite defense four weeks ago, Yarin has been on an absolute roll while leading the Eagles to four consecutive victories.
He set the tone in this contest by making plays with his legs and came out of the locker room focused, as he completed his first six pass attempts out of the break while leading the Eagles to two touchdowns in a comeback victory.
Yarin eludes pressure and runs for another big gain. Prep knocking on the door now pic.twitter.com/U7FqW4jSEX— Nate Weitzer (@nweitzer7) October 21, 2016
Aise Pream ‘19 RB/DB – He’s not your typical closer at 5-foot-6, 135 pounds, but Pream put the Trojans away on a rain-soaked night. The dimunitive running back erupted for 72 rushing yards and a touchdown on 13 carries during the second half, which allowed Prep to dominate time of possession and deny Bridgewater-Raynham any chance to come back late.
Eagles back on top 10-7 after Aise Pream finishes this drive with a 2-yard TD. 7-play scoring drive takes 3:29 to open second half pic.twitter.com/SEqPMWhvvi— Nate Weitzer (@nweitzer7) October 22, 2016
Michael Slattery ‘18 TE/DL – The Eagles defensive line also deserves plenty of credit for denying the Trojans prolific rushing attack. Led by Slattery and senior captain Declan Burt, Prep’s front seven held Trojans running back Shawn Noel to zero yards on two carries in the second half and pressured quarterback Corey Sullivan when B-R was forced to throw.
Slattery also made a great play on an underthrown ball for what appeared to be a 24-yard touchdown reception, but it was called back due to holding, setting up Wes Rockett’s long score on fourth down.
Wes Rockett ‘19 WR/DB – The sophomore only caught three balls in the second half of this contest, but his 34-yard touchdown reception on fourth-and-26 served to quell any notions of a Trojans come back.
Rockett and his older brother Hayden (4 receptions, 35 yards, INT) accounted for most of the Eagles receiving yardage as per usual, while they also played lock down coverage in the defensive backfield, and it was Hayden’s interception in the fourth quarter that officially sealed the victory.
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