By Evan Freedman, BPSsports.com Correspondent
CHELSEA – Latin Academy took their talents on the road against a Pope John squad that had won their last two games by a combined score of 86-0. It was close all the way, but the Dragons succumbed to the Tigers 21-14 Saturday at Chelsea Field.
The determined Dragons (4-2) battled tough, but they could not overcome two fourth quarter fumbles and a potent Tigers passing game which accounted for 232 yards and two touchdowns.
The first score came on the last play of the first quarter, a 61 yard catch and run by senior captain Malcolm Brown. Brown did the bulk of the damage for the Tigers (4-2), with 8 catches for 151 yards and two touchdowns.
Down 14-6 at the half, the Dragons started the second half strong. They held Pope John on fourth down in their own end, and it looked like momentum was changing. On the ensuing possession, a pass interference on 4th down gave Latin Academy new life, and sophomore quarterback Kyle Dance ran 29 yards up the middle to the end zone. A successful conversion tied the game 14-14.
Dance was 12/20 for 148 yards and 1 passing touchdown. His primary target was junior wideout Alex Guerrer, who caught six balls for 117 yards, most of it in heavy traffic.
A clean game turned a little messy, as each team had two turnovers at the start of the fourth, and the ball stayed between the twenties. A fourth down offsides penalty against Latin Academy lead to another Brown strike for Pope John, this time on a 19 yarder from McMaster with 3:51 left.
Latin Academy had a chance to tie or take the lead in the last two minutes, but a fourth and four pass at midfield was deflected at the line.
Dragons’ Head Coach Rocco Zizza said that missed tackles and turnovers could have changed the outcome, but he seemed pleased with the effort.
“A couple of things didn’t go our way,” said Zizza. “Turnovers hurt us, a couple of calls could have gone either way, but in the end, they outplayed us.”
Evan Freedman is a freelance writer based on the North Shore. He also teaches at Catholic Charities North. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org