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New QB Pereira accounts for six touchdowns, Central wins thriller

LAWRENCE — No one would have blamed Ayden Pereira if his stomach was filling with butterflies.
 
The Central Catholic sophomore quarterback was not only making his first career varsity start, but was doing so against defending Division 3 state champion Springfield Central, which had just blown out legendary power Everett by four touchdowns a week ago.
 
The lights may have been bright, but Pereira wasn’t sweating the pressure.
 
“I didn’t doubt myself,” said the QB. “I had put in the work, my teammates had put in the work. I knew we were good for a big day.”
 
Pereira proved he was more than ready for primetime, throwing for three touchdowns and rushing for three more scores as Central Catholic earned a thrilling 52-42 win in its season-opener on Saturday night.
“It was a great win,” said co-captain Mark Kassis. “It was huge to score fast, and that gave us a momentum boost. And Ayden played great. He did amazing.”
Pereira finished his debut 12-of-16 throwing for 223 yards and added 73 rushing yards, leading a Raiders offense that scored on eight of their 10 possessions of the game.
After not appearing in a varsity game last fall, Pereira was faces with the challenge of replacing 2018 starting QB Jared Silverio, who transferred to BB&N in the offseason.
Was he nervous?
“I was a little nervous,” said Pereira. “But I was more excited. We had prepared so well, and I knew I was ready for it. Confidence was high. Once I got the first touchdown, we were off to a good start.”
The 6-foot, 158-pound Pereira set the tone early.
On Central’s first play of the season, Pereira hit Kassis for a 32-yard gain. On its second, the QB powered in for a 6-yard touchdown.
Kassis added a touchdown a possession later, then Pereira went back to work. 
First, he connected with JJ Mercuri for a 15-yard touchdown, then closed out the half with a 2-yard TD run, set up by a 42-yard Nick Donatio scamper.
Pereira and the Raiders kept rolling in the second half. He opened the scoring with a 3-yard run, then in back-to-back possessions found Mark Cicarelli for a 41-yard touchdown and Jermaine Wiggins for a 25-yard score.
“Everybody did their jobs,” said Pereira. “I feel like I pass a little better than I run, but I think I am a dual-threat  quarterback. That’s a good team, but I knew we could do it.”
Kassis ran for a team-high 78 yard on 13 attempts. Wiggins led the Raiders with four catches for 63 yards,
“We had to keep digging,” said Kassis. “We knew it was going to be a dogfight. We had to keep pushing, because they were going to keep going back. (Pereira) was amazing. He had a lot of confidence. He did a great job stepping up and being a leader. I’ve seen him in practice. I knew what he could do.”
Central needed all of that offense, as Springfield Central scored on all three of its second-half possessions, and five of its final six drives.
“It was an awesome game,” said Central coach Chuck Adamopoulos. “I’m not thrilled with some of our stuff on defense. But we’ll work on that, and this was a very good win.”
The Raiders now face another daunting task, when they welcome rival and defending Division 1 state champ St. John’s Prep to Lawrence Veterans Memorial Stadium on Saturday (2 p.m.)
“This is a confidence boost,” said Kassis. “We have the momentum going right now. We want to keep it going into next week.”
 
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Football, 09/14/19 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

McCarthy does it again!

For the second game in a row, John McCarthy netted a pair of goals to lead the Central Catholic boys soccer team to two straight 2-1 wins. On Tuesday, McCarthy helped the Raiders take down Lawrence, which got its goal from Arodi Rodriguez.

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Boys Soccer, 09/10/19 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Marinello 's big day

Adrianna Marinello netted her first varsity goal as Central Catholic girls soccer opened it season by beating Chelmsford 2-1. Faith Lee added the other Raider goal.

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Girls Soccer, 09/05/19 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

McCarthy nets two

John McCarthy headed home one goal off an assist from Alex Furry, and added a second tally on a penalty kick as Central Catholic beat Haverhill 2-1. Aidan Corcoran scored for the Hillies.

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Boys Soccer, 09/05/19 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Rapaglia, Central roll on

Freshman Hayley Rapaglia kept Central Catholic softball's season going in style, tossing a no-hitter as the No. 22-seed Raiders knocked off third-seeded Medford, 9-0. Rapaglia struck out seven and chipped in a 2 for 3 performance at the plate, driving in a run as well. The Raiders started hot with a five-run first inning, thanks in large part to a three-run homer by Kaitlyn Sawyer, and added to their advantage throughout. They'll take on No. 2-seed Acton Boxboro in the Division 1 North semifinals on Wednesday (7:30 p.m.) at Martin Field in Lowell.

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Softball, 06/10/19 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Raiders moving on

The upset run continued for the No. 22-seeded Central Catholic softball team. On Saturday, the Raiders took out No. 6 Lincoln-Sudbury, 7-2, to advance to the Division 1 North quarterfinals. Haley Merrill had a team-high three RBIs, and Sarah Janco added a pair of hits and RBIs as well. The Raiders will be at No. 3 Medford (Columbus Park) on Monday for a 3:30 p.m. first pitch.

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Softball, 06/08/19 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Magicians down Raiders late

A goal with 19 seconds remaining in the contest pushed Marblehead past Central Catholic, 11-10, in the Division 1 North girls lacrosse quarterfinals. Central ends its season with a 14-6 record.

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Girls Lacrosse, 06/06/19 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Central stays hot

 

Central Catholic's softball team continued its late season surge, stifling Concord-Carlisle 5-1 behind the pitching of Hayley Rapaglia and clutch hitting. Sarah Janco had two hits and an RBI for the Raiders (11-10) and now has 100 hits in just three years. Central will be at Lincoln-Sudbury Saturday at 3:30.

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Softball, 06/06/19 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Raiders roll

The Central Catholic boys lacrosse team cruised into the Division 1 North quarterfinals with a 17-2 win over Cambridge Rindge & Latin. Shane McInnis led the way with four goals, as nine different Raiders scored in the rout. Central will host Lexington on Friday (5 p.m.).

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Boys Lacrosse, 06/04/19 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Raiders make it!

 

Central Catholic's softball team dug deep Sunday and surged past Chelmsford 9-5 to qualify for the state tournament for at least the 16th straight year, ending the regular season with a 10-10 record. Alyssa Fusco had a three-run homer in the fourth for the Raiders and winning pitcher Hayley Rapaglia later added a solo homer. Sarah Janco was 2 for 4 with a pair of RBIs and a run scored. 

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Softball, 06/02/19 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars
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