DARTMOUTH — Bishop Stang ran into a buzzsaw on Saturday evening at Cressy Field.
Playing at UMass Dartmouth, the Spartans displayed their effective passing game — especially the nearly unstoppable mindmeld between Justin Lopes and Eric Camacho — but a defense that couldn’t get off the field against an overpowering Cohasset squad left the Spartans with their second-straight defeat, a 42-20 loss.
“They’re a better football team than we are right now,” Bishop Stang coach Dennis Golden said. “They don’t mess around. They’re an excellent team. We’re going to continue to play very, very good teams. We have to play up to it. We have to work to get to their level.”
The Skippers and their I-formation misdirection offense scored on their first six possessions, riding a size advantage at the line of scrimmage, a 216-yard, two-touchdown performance from junior running back Thomas Gray and a 188-yard passing day from senior quarterback Matt Lund, who connected with senior Mark Mahoney for 121 of those yards and two scores.
“We’ve got some good skill kids and our line, right out of preseason, has been really our strongest point,” Cohasset coach Pete Afanasiw said. “It starts and finishes with the line. They executed tonight.”
Lopes was efficient and took care of the ball, throwing for 157 yards on 15-of-22 passing, connecting with Camacho on eight of those balls for 119 yards and a score.
“They have some really good skill kids,” Afanasiw said. “They’re not the biggest team, but they have athletes. I give them all the credit in the world. They really fought hard. For a team that was undersized against us, they really brought it. I was very impressed with how they competed.”
The turning point came just before the half. Down 21-7, the Spartans drove the ball 68 yards, highlighted by a 40-yard catch by Camacho, before Lopes was stuffed on a fourth-down run from the 1.
“That defensive stop was huge,” Afanasiw said. “We felt we could stop them and we used our timeouts to give us some time on the clock.”
Moments later, Stang had a chance to get the ball back with good field position and a minute to play, but Cohasset connected on a 67-yard pass from Lund to senior Jackson Fitzgerald on 3rd-and-9 while backed up on its own 2. Three plays later, Lund scored on an 11-yard run to increase the lead to 28-7.
“We knew they didn’t have a safety and they weren’t covering our tight end when we ran him to the flats,” Afanasiw said. “It’s something that was there for the taking. The question was: ‘Is he going to catch it?’ It was like a fly ball and you almost have too much time and are too wide open.”
Cohasset had success all night on third and fourth down. The Skippers converted on two third downs and a 4th-and-7 on their game-opening drive, which chewed up 79 yards on 15 plays and resulted in a 5-yard touchdown run by Gray, a slippery, quick-footed undersized back with great lateral movement.
“He’s shifty, he runs hard,” Afanasiw said. “He’s not the biggest kid in the world, but he’s got some excellent vision and really good feet. He’s not running a 4.4, but he has speed.
The Skippers added another touchdown on the last play of the first quarter when Jake Sullivan barreled in from 5-yards out.
Stang answered with an 11-play, 68-yard drive that included a 37-yard pass to Camacho on 3rd-and-9 and concluded with a 2-yard Lopes keeper and a Doug Chicca point-after to create a 14-7 deficit.
Cohasset added the final two touchdowns of the first half, the first on a 14-yard slant by Mahoney and the second on Lund’s 11-yard keeper.
After Stang went 3-and-out to open the second half, the Skippers sealed their victory with Mahoney’s 54-yard touchdown catch on a deep crossing pattern.
Tim Manley Jr, who finished with a team-high 69 rushing yards, scored from 3-yards out late in the third and Lopes hit Camacho on a 9-yard screen pass for the Spartans’ final touchdown with 2:25 to play.
“We can do a lot of good with them,” Golden said of his quarterback-receiver combination.
Cohasset’s final touchdown came on an 18-yard run by Gray early in the fourth.
WHAT IT MEANS: Bishop Stang fell to 4-2 after opening the season with four consecutive wins. The Spartans are currently sitting sixth in Div. 6 South, just behind Dover-Sherborn (4-2). … Cohasset improves to 5-1 and is fourth in Div. 7 South, trailing undefeated Mashpee (6-0) and Case (6-0), as well as Southeastern (4-1).
NEXT: The Spartans (0-1 Eastern Athletic Conference) host Bishop Feehan (3-3, 1-0 EAC) at 7 p.m. on Friday. “We’re not thinking about the playoffs right now. We’re thinking about getting better. When we wake up, we’ll be thinking about Bishop Feehan and getting ready to play our best game on Friday," Golden said.
STANG STATS: In addition to his 157 passing yards, Lopes added 40 rushing yards and a touchdown on 12 carries. Manley Jr. finished with 69 yards and a score on 12 carries, although 58 of those yards came in the fourth quarter as Stang struggled to run the ball in the first half (23 yards). … Jake Ferrarini caught three balls for 25 yards. … Ben Gowell recovered a fourth-quarter fumble. … Justin Ajami and Gowell teamed up for a third-quarter sack. … The Spartans finished with 263 yards of offense and 12 first downs.
COHASSET STATS: Gray ran for 216 yards and no other Skipper totaled more than eight on the ground. … Mahoney sacked Lopes in the third quarter, while the trio of Thomas Chenette, Thomas Dockray and Jack Mahoney teamed up for a first-quarter sack. … The Skippers totaled 432 yards of offense and collected 15 first downs, eight of which came in the first quarter.
NOTES: Cohasset capped every possession with a touchdown until it fumbled with seven minutes left in the fourth quarter. … Vittorio Consoletti did a great job with a bad snap in the third quarter, managing to get a 36-yard punt off despite the ball nearly sailing over his head. … Stang junior Emma Pimentel sang a lovely rendition of the National Anthem.
Follow Brendan Kurie on Twitter @BrendanKurieSCT
COHASSET 42, BISHOP STANG 20
C: Thomas Gray 5 run (Stephen Martell kick), 4:12
C: Jake Sullivan 5 run (Martell kick), 0:06
BS: Justin Lopes 2 run (Doug Chicca kick), 5:09
C: Mark Mahoney 14 pass from Matt Lund (Martell kick), 3:41
C: Lund 11 run (Martell kick), 0:25
C: Mahoney 54 pass from Lund (Martell kick), 7:18
BS: Tim Manley Jr, 3 run (kick failed), 3:00
C: Gray 18 run (Martell kick), 10:12
BS: Eric Camacho 9 pass from Justin Lopes (Chicca kick), 2:25
Rushing — BS: Tim Manley Jr. 12-69-1, Justin Lopes 12-40-1, Matt Pauliks 1-(-3); C: Thomas Gray 23-216-2, Jake Sullivan 3-8-1, Stephen Martell 2-7, Bobby Allen 2-7, Matt Lund 3-4-1, Joe Losordo 2-2
Passing — BS: Justin Lopes 15-22-157-1; C: Matt Lund 7-12-188-2
Receiving — BS: Eric Camacho 8-119-1, Jake Ferrarini 3-25, Justin Hankins 1-14, Matt Pauliks 2-3, Tim Manley Jr 1-(-4); C: Mark Mahoney 6-121-2, Jackson Fitzgerald 1-67