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High School Sports

St. Peter’s Prep Rolls Past DePaul Catholic 41-22

Tripped up last year by DePaul Catholic (2-3) 16-13, St. Peter’s Prep (5-0) definitely knew not to underestimate a 2-2 Spartans squad this season. On a crisp and cool Friday night at DePaul Catholic High School, the Marauders started with a flourish. A pooch opening kickoff that ended up with sophomore Marc Pretto recovering the ball at the DePaul Catholic 34-yard line.

It just took 37 seconds for senior quarterback Tahj Bullock to find the end zone, plowing ahead on a four-yard run. Late in the first quarter, a roughing the punter call assessed against the Spartans defense allowed the St. Peter’s offense to continue their drive. After a pair of running plays, Bullock connected on a 27-yard touchdown pass to wide senior wide receiver Byron Shipman with 3:24 remaining.

“Always critical in high school football when you are playing on the road against the physical team it gives you a little breathing room, a little room in your playbook and gave our defense to sit on,” said head coach Rich Hansen.

Meanwhile, the Marauders defensive line swarmed the pocket sacking DePaul Catholic quarterback Andrew Butler three times by the seven-minute mark in the second quarter. The defense kept surging ahead, registering a pair of sacks with less than four minutes left and forcing another three and out. Starting out with an outstanding field position at the Spartans 31-yard line after a short punt, Bullock worked some magic with a nifty five-yard touchdown shovel pass to sophomore wide receiver Jaylan Sanchez with a minute and half remaining.

However, DePaul Catholic proved to a scrappy bunch on this night. Aided by a pass interference call against the Marauders defense that moved the ball up to midfield, Butler converted a fourth and three hooking up with a wide receiver Teddy Afful on a 31-yard pass. Facing third and long at the St. Peter’s Prep 20, Butler found Afful again down the middle on the touchdown pass.

In the third quarter, DePaul Catholic capitalized off a fumble by Bullock with linebacker Zachary Relovsky scooping up the ball and returning it to the Marauders five-yard line. Just when it seemed the Spartans were primed to cut further into the lead, the St. Peter’s Prep defensive line stuffed the run twice and forced an incomplete pass, leading to a 23-yard field goal from placekicker Christian Gaviria with less than nine minutes left on the clock.

Bullock managed to recover from the miscue on the ensuing offensive possession, firing a laser pass to Shipman near the sidelines. Shipman did the rest of the work by cutting back towards the middle of the field and bursting into the clear for the 56-yard touchdown. With less than eight minutes remaining, the Bullock to Shipman connection went back to work, with Bullock launching a 59-yard touchdown that put the game out of reach at 34-10.

Bullock finished 14 of 18 for 237 yards, four passing scores and one rushing touchdown, while Shipman caught four passes for 148 yards and three touchdowns. Butler completed 15 of 28 passes for 212 yards and two touchdowns. After rushing for 174 yards in a 39-37 loss to Delbarton last week, running back Sean Kelly was limited to 26 rushing yards. The St. Peter’s Prep defense tallied six sacks.

“DePaul is full of scrappy kids and coached so well. We played up them here and knew it was going to be a dogfight,” said Hansen. “We talked it about all week, proud of our guys and found a way to win. Kept swinging, functioned under duress, physical and our playmakers made plays. It was good to have Shipman back and gives us another weapon. I thought our quarterback did a good job turning some negatives into positives, didn’t look back at his mistakes, kept going and made some plays for us and while tonight it was not his best game but good enough.

“They have some big time players over there and did a really good job of being explosive. We wanted to make them drive the ball and not allow the big plays. I thought our defensive line did a good job for the most part, and kept their QB uncomfortable. We had the lead, found a way to hang on and win. We get to enjoy this for three or four hours and prepare for next week”

“Byron [Shipman] has been injured the past couple of games, he came back last week and today was his coming out party and represented well,” Bullock said of the win. “We knew we had the match-up thing against them and tried to work the outside. I didn’t play as well as I could have, but we came out with the W and that’s all that matters. The offensive line has been getting better every week and showed great passion and heart tonight. We came into this week with the mentality of going 1-0 and did that this week and same goes for next week.”

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Sunil Sunder Raj

Sunil is the Rockland Boulders Beat Writer for DoubleGSports.com and also covers North Jersey High School Sports
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