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Central Catholic Raiders Football '19

Sat, Sep 14, 2019 04:00 PM @ Central Catholic
Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Springfield Central 7 13 6 16 42
Central Catholic 21 7 14 10 52

New QB Pereira accounts for six touchdowns, Central wins thriller

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Saturday, September, 14 By David Willis
Staff writer

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.”
 

Game Statistics:

First Quarter

CC — Ayden Pereira 6 run (kick blocked), 10:04

SC — Shamall Collins 31 pass from William Watson (Marcus Crawford kick), 9:28 

CC — Mark Kassis 9 run (Nathan Hebert pass from Pereira), 8:35

CC — JJ Mercuri 15 pass from Pereira (Nick Mazzie kick), 4:50 

Second Quarter

CC — Pereira 2 run (Mazzie kick), 7:04

SC — Angelo Diaz 57 pass from Watson (Crawford kick), 5:42

SC — Crawford 3 run (kick failed), 1:00 

Third Quarter

CC — Pereira 3 run (Mazzie kick), 6:20

SC — Diaz 59 pass from Watson (pass failed), 4:42

CC — Mark Ciccarelli 41 pass from Pereira (Mazzie kick), 1:25 

Fourth Quarter

SC — Crawford 1 run (Diaz pass from Watson), 10:37

CC — Jermaine Wiggins 25 pass from Pereira (Mazzie kick), 6:10

CC — Mazzie 38 field goal, 3:50

SC — Watson 20 run (Shamall pass from Watson), 3:08 

 


INDIVIDUAL LEADERS

RUSHING: Central Catholic (39-206) — Ayden Pereira 16-74, Mark Kassis 13-78, Matthias Latham 8-10, Nick Donatio 1-42, Aiden Charles 1-2; Springfield Central (20-170) — Marcus Crawford 15-147, William Watson 5-23

PASSING: Central Catholic — Ayden Pereira 12-16-0, 223; Springfield Central — William Watson 9-16-1, 272

RECEIVING: Central Catholic — Jermaine Wiggins 4-63, Nick Donatio 3-24, JJ Mercuri 1-24, Kassis 1-32, Kevin Higgins 1-34, Mark Ciccarelli 1-41, Nathan Hebert 1-5; Springfield Central — Angelo Diaz 4-196, Crawford 2-22, Shamall Collins 1-31, Andre Ellison 2-23

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