(Video) Yarin Leads St. John’s Prep to Big Win Over CM
by Nate Weitzer for Mass Prep Stars
DANVERS, Mass. – When two tough-minded Catholic Conference teams face off, the ball usually stays grounded and the scoreboard quiet, but that certainly wasn’t the case during an exciting Saturday afternoon tilt between No. 10 St. John’s Prep and No. 9 Catholic Memorial.
These elite programs traded offensive blows throughout the game, but in the end, the Eagles came up with enough big plays to seal a hard-fought 37-27 win.
Unsung heroes such as Liam Tubridy, Cam Weaver and sophomore Trent Tully contributed with key receptions, but Prep’s bread and butter plays came on throws from new quarterback Mike Yarin to his top target, Hayden Rockett.
The younger brother of Colgate wide out Owen Rockett and older brother of current teammate Wes Rockett, Hayden (7 receptions, 88 yards, 2 TDs) set the tone on the Eagles first drive by converting two fourth downs with critical receptions and scoring the game’s first touchdown on a beautiful throw from Yarin.
While Yarin (10-of-18, 192 passing yards, 4 TDs) seemed like a poised veteran in this heated rivalry game, the baseball star only started playing quarterback about six weeks ago when he was prompted to try out for the position during training camp.
That’s [Yarin]’s fifth game playing quarterback in his life, which is very impressive,” said Eagles head coach Brian St. Pierre, who spent several years in the NFL after a storied career as a quarterback at Boston College.
“[Yarin] is a great athlete,” he continued, “But he still does some things at times that make you want to pull your hair out, because he’s young and inexperienced, but he’s a gamer, and I want to coach guys like that.”
Yarin and Rockett paced Prep to an early 14-6 lead, but the Knights came storming back behind a strong effort from senior quarterback Matt Marcantano (20-of-37, 281 passing yards, 2 TDs, 3 INT, rushing TD) and his favorite target Mike Giacobbe (8 receptions, 134 yards, TD).
The Knights trailed 23-12 late in the second quarter, but Marcantano led his team down the field for a touchdown and two-point conversion to keep the game close heading into the break.
In the third quarter, he hit Giacobbe on a bomb over the middle for a 39-yard touchdown to give the Knights their first lead of the afternoon at 27-23. But that advantage would be short-lived, as Yarin responded with a long drive to set up Hayden Rockett’s second touchdown reception of the day.
Each team punted after going three-and-out, and then Eagles linebacker Ryan McNeil picked off Marcantano (video below) to set the home team up in prime field position. With a short field to work with, Prep rode sophomore running back Aise Pream (9 carries, 36 yards, TD) on a clock-killing scoring drive to seal the win.
Ryan McNeil picks off Marcantano on 3rd down. Prep up 30-27 with 6 mins remaining pic.twitter.com/ykSFzC4L3V— Nate Weitzer (@nweitzer7) October 8, 2016
Stars Who Shined
St. John’s Prep
Mike Yarin ‘18 QB – The junior continues to improve as quarterback with more and more repetition. He completed six straight passes in the second and third quarters, and three of those completions went for touchdowns to three different receivers.
“The more experience I get the more comfortable I’m going to feel,” Yarin said about playing quarterback. “I’m looking to learn every day and get better. I still have a lot to work on, I mean, I missed a lot of wide open guys today, so I’m looking forward to getting back to practice and trying to get better every day.”
Hayden Rockett ‘17 WR/DB – Opposing defenses will always focus on the senior wide receiver, but he still finds a way to come up with huge receptions when his team needs it most.
Hayden also recorded six tackles as a safety for the Eagles and helped control the middle of the field defensively.
Hayden Rockett with a 15-yard catch and run to put Prep back on top. 30-27 Eagles early Q4 pic.twitter.com/hWa2yGlP7y— Nate Weitzer (@nweitzer7) October 8, 2016
Aise Pream ‘19 RB/DB – The Eagles were completely stifled on the ground in the first half, recording just seven net rushing yards on seven carries.
Yet in the second half, they were able to break through with senior Mike Rodolisi rushing for 28 yards and Pream adding 35 yards and a touchdown on his eight carries after the break.
“[The Knights] played us tough and they were selling out against the run,” explained St. Pierre, “But Aise [Pream] was huge in the second half and the offensive line turned it up when we needed them.”
Wes Rockett ‘19 WR/DB – Another superb sophomore and a top wide receiver in waiting, Wes Rockett made a couple of game-changing plays on the defensive side of the ball.
After a Rodolisi fumble, the sophomore intercepted Marcantano on a tipped pass and returned it 86 yards to set up Yarin’s passing touchdown to Trent Tully. After the Knights scored on the ensuing possession, Wes jumped a route on a two-point conversion attempt and took the interception 101 yards for a four-points swing that put Prep up 16-12 (video below).
Wes Rockett picks off conversion attempt and returns it for 2. Prep now leads CM 16-12 late Q2 pic.twitter.com/1DZ8mVIIup— Nate Weitzer (@nweitzer7) October 8, 2016
Michael Slattery ‘18 TE/DL – At times, The Eagles were gashed at the back end defensively, but their front seven stood strong against a vaunted rushing attack led by Knights senior running back Peter Scibilia.
Slattery stripped Scibilia on the game’s second play from scrimmage and made several key tackles to keep the explosive back from reaching the second level.
Matt Marcantano ‘17 QB – While game flow led to a somewhat inefficient line from Marcantano and he deserves some fault for throwing three interceptions on the afternoon, he still played a great game.
The Natick native routinely escaped pressure and flashed tremendous arm strength on flows down the field. He also demonstrated toughness on a couple of short runs, including a three-yard score for Catholic Memorial’s second touchdown of the day.
Michael Giacobbe ‘17 WR/DB – The senior wide receiver caught 8 balls in this contest, and nearly all of them involved a high degree of difficulty. He won jump balls in traffic, sealed defensive backs with great technique, and kept the chains moving by averaging 16.8 yards per reception.
Kyle Sonnie ‘17 WR/DL – The Knights 6-foot-3 wide receiver also served as a steady downfield target for Marcantano, as Sonnie hauled in 6 balls for 83 yards on the afternoon. He also played very well on special teams.
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