Friday Night Wrapup

Short one tonight, as all the information from tonight’s games is up on the main site of http://www.telegram.com. All the game stories and recaps you can handle.

Wanted to talk about the big game up in Leominster tonight, as Holy Name surprised quite a few people with a 42-14 shellacking of the Blue Devils. I must have gone back and forth about 20 times last night when I was picking the game, but while I thought HN would win a tight one, I never thought Leominster would get handled like that on their own field.

Billy Derosier gained 124 yards on 15 attempts as Holy Name rolled up a staggering 314 yards of offense on a tough Blue Devils’ team.

Holy Name put it away at the half, going up 29-0. I cannot remember the last time that happened IN Leominster. The Blue Devils broke up the shutout in the fourth quarter and, really, the Naps just served notice to the rest of the league tonight. What a statement.

“Leominster is a great team, and you don’t know what to expect when you come to Doyle Field,” Naps coach Mike Pucko said. “The kids rose to the occasion again. Sometimes it’s great to be a high school coach. The kids really stepped it up tonight.”

Talk to Pucko for more than a few minutes and he’s raving about his freshmen players. He can’t wait to see players like Quron Wright and Dan Kegbah carry the team for the next few years – I can’t think of any other team that has freshmen contributing so much.

Wright told Leominster it was going to be a long night with a 75-yard punt return for a score just three minutes in.

“Quron, who is just a 14-year-old, takes that punt, and he looks like Gayle Sayers going down the sideline,” Pucko said. “What can you say? We put a freshman in that situation and to perform like that is really something. All you can say is wow.”

Derosier scored from 25-yards out to make it 14-0 and Ben Whitney found Kegbeh for a 37-yard score. Joe Walsh recovered a blocked extra point in the end zone to make it 22-0. Holy Name’s defense kept the pressure on all game and right before the half, they forced an interception that led to a Derosier TD.

“The offensive line did a nice job,” Pucko said. “It really helped our offense move the ball. Leominster is our benchmark game. They’re a great football team and well-coached. But I couldn’t happier for my kids to play that well tonight.”

All in all, it was a tremendous game for Holy Name.

“They outplayed us,” said Leominster coach John Dubzinski, whose team finished with 190 yards, with running back Malik Daniel leading the way with 66 yards on 11 carries. “Holy Name was by far the better team tonight. But our kids showed a little bit in the second half. We challenged them a little bit at halftime and I thought they came out and played much better. Holy Name is a very good team and we made too many mistakes to win this game. That team executes their offense to perfection and they’re just a solid, well-coached team.”

I am not going to lie, I’ve been banging Holy Name’s drum for a few years now. I love the job Pucko is doing with the program and the players they get out will do anything for him. It always was a little irritating to hear people say over the years that Holy Name’s Super Bowl titles and playoff appearances were a sham. It seemed they always had to take a credibility hit with every run.

“It’s all because of that rugby-style offense”

“It’s all because of Emil Igwenagu and Dominique Price… or Billy McGuirk and Wally Derosier… or Billy Derosier and Sean Kelly

“They’d never win in Division 1”

Each time Holy Name always proves them wrong. They love to read those message board comments and shut people up.

I talked to some of their players when I was up there this week to work on the Game of the Week video.

“We compete every year and that’s not because of the offense we run because we have tough kids,” Kelly said. “We’re not the most talented kids, but we will come out and hit you in the mouth every play. We don’t take a play off, we play our hardest constantly and don’t stop.”

“We like having to prove ourselves, that’s who we are,” Derosier said. “We just come out and do our jobs and hopefully get a win this weekend.

If this playoff system wasn’t so faulty, we might be in line for a Holy Name/St. John’s rematch down the line. If the Naps keep playing like this, I don’t see anyone else stopping them.

Check out the front page for all the game recaps and quotes and all that goodness. I’ll be back tomorrow night with coverage of the Millbury/Auburn game.

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