WESTWOOD — The final three video games between Xaverian and Springfield Central — all Central wins — had been about offensive fireworks, and explosive performs.
On Friday evening in a Division 1 quarterfinal, Xaverian was completely satisfied to make it about protection.
The No. 2 Hawks made the most important performs of the sport on that aspect of the ball, and simply sufficient on the opposite, to earn a 21-20 win over No. 7 Central.
Xaverian (8-2) strikes to the Final Four, the place it can play Needham. Central falls to 8-2.
“I don’t want to get in a track meet with anybody,” Xaverian coach Al Fornaro mentioned. “We got some dudes who can run, but not as many as they do. Keep the ball away from their playmakers. It’s simple. I didn’t invent that stuff. It was invented many years ago.”
A couple of performs stood out essentially the most for Xaverian. The Hawks stuffed a Central two-point conversion rush to account for the ultimate margin. Sophomore Dave Chiavegato made an interception, and a move breakup, the latter to drive a turnover on downs on Central’s final possession. Jayce Devine had one other interception. The Hawks additionally recovered a fumble.
Offensively, Xaverian working again Denzil Pierre rushed for 83 yards and a landing on 16 carries. Quarterback Henry Hasselbeck accomplished 8 of 12 passes for 84 yards and a landing, and likewise rushed for a rating.
Down 14-7 on the half, Xaverian turned it round and picked up a Central fumble early within the third quarter. The Hawks went eight performs and 68 yards, the final eight approaching a Hasselbeck landing move to Hunter Molway to assist tie the rating at 14-all.
On the following drive, Chiavegato ripped away an interception and returned it 30 yards to the Central 8-yard line. Hasselbeck then ran it in for an 8-yard landing because the Hawks took a 21-14 lead on Joseph MacDonald’s PAT.
Central answered, as JayCion Cox (47 yards dashing) ran in a 10-yard landing. But the Hawks stopped him brief on the two-point conversion, and Xaverian held a 21-20 lead.
After the groups traded three fruitless drives, Central put collectively a promising collection that reached the Xaverian 6. But Chiavegato batted away a fourth-down move by Central quarterback Jareth Staine (187 yards passing).
Pierre then gained 17 yards on a 3rd and three with from the Xaverian 13 to seal it. Central didn’t contact the ball once more.
“Man, I just believed,” Pierre mentioned. “My coach said, ‘We’re going to feed you’ as soon as the fourth quarter came up. We got the ball back, the defense did a great job. O-line, the guys up there gave us a push, and I just ran through there. They trusted me, and I got it for them.”
Xaverian opened the sport with a terrific drive. It went 62 yards on six performs, the final 35 on a Pierre rush with nobody round him.
But Central responded. Preston Longo had a 5-yard landing within the second quarter, then Mattias Barbour caught an 85-yard landing move from Staine. Barbour caught three passes for 142 yards.
“We made a couple adjustments, stuff that we’ve worked on,” Fornaro mentioned. “We just had to take a risk because of what they were doing offensively to us in the first half. I thought the defense played outstanding. Not happy with penalties, whether they were personal fouls or facemasks. When push came to shove, we were able to push a little harder than they were.”