FITCHBURG – Unknown opponent, familiar result for the Saint-Bernard football team.
On Friday night, the No. 14 Mashpee made the trip from Cape Cod to the Bernardian Bowl where the third-seeded Bernardians were awaiting the kickoff of the MIAA Division 7 State Tournament Round of 16.
The Bernardians weren’t the most gracious hosts, as the home side didn’t mess around. St. Bernard’s won 42-12 in the spotlight.
St. Bernard’s are now 8-1 this season and advance to the Round of 16 where they host Saturday afternoon’s sixth-seeded winner Uxbridge and No.11 Lunenburg.
“I think our guys came out and played well. They did a great job adapting,” St. Bernard head coach Tom Bingham said. “We were concerned because the last few weeks a lot of our guys haven’t played an entire game, but tonight they stepped up and made big plays on both sides of the ball. Our offensive line communicated so well tonight. I was really proud of them for that.
With Friday’s setback, the Falcons drop to 5-3 this season.
St. Bernard’s and Mashpee last met in 2015 in the MIAA Division 6 Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro. The Falcons cruised to a 28-8 win that day to claim the championship.
“We remembered when we played these guys in 2015 at Foxborough they had an amazing defensive game plan. They’re a great football team and we’ve been saying that since day one, they’re not a 14 seed,” Bingham said. “It’s a great program and we’ve been telling these kids all week that they (Mashpee) are going to come ready to play and they’ll bring it.”
After being forced to a three and the opener, the Bernardians found cash on their next three first-quarter possessions as the hosts enjoyed an 18-0 lead after 12 minutes of action . A pair of touchdowns by senior captain Damien Jones (70 and 46 yards respectively) and a 70-yard touchdown by fellow senior captain Antonio Mancini had the Bernardians in the driver’s seat.
The hosts maintained the 18-point advantage in the third quarter when Mancini again found a seam in the defense and broke up a 64-yard touchdown run. Salvatore Bilotta capped off the practice by connecting with Jordan Burrell for a successful two-point conversion pass to make it 26-0 with 5:27 left in the third quarter.
The St. Bernard defense, which was solid all night, made another big save to force a turnover from Mashpee on deep downs in midfield.
The Falcons couldn’t hide their frustration as two unsportsmanlike penalties on the disc helped move the ball inside the 10-yard line. Two plays later, Jones forced his way across the goal line from six yards out with 1:20 on the clock. Keegan Rose added the conversion run to make it a 34-0 advantage.
With the Bernardians up more than 30 points early in the fourth quarter, NFHS rules state that a running clock is used for the final 12 minutes. The Falcons were able to break the shutout with a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns, but it was Jones who had the fourth-quarter highlight with a 75-yard kickoff return for a touchdown seven minutes into the game. of the end. Bilotta and Burrell connected again on the conversion pass and St. Bernard’s found themselves in next week’s round of 8 contest.