SHREWSBURY, Mass. — St. John's High School coach John Andreoli said he always wants his team to score more than 40 points a game. Saturday, it turned out they needed every one of them in the Pioneers' 47-40 victory over Holy Name of Worcester.
"We want to get those kind of numbers on the board. It goes with the territory with a spread, no-huddle offense," said Andreoli. "You want to be able to score every time you touch the ball. If we touch the ball six times, we should score 42 points."
A game that was tied 20-20 at halftime and featured more than 600 total rushing yards was back and forth until sophomore Sam Norton recovered a fumble on a Holy Name fourth-down conversion attempt late in the fourth quarter. St. John's was then able to gain first downs and run out the clock.
Before that point, however, the game was an offensive clinic, highlighted by the dynamic showdown between Pioneers' Shadrack Abrokwah and Holy Name's Quron Wright.
"I felt real good about my performance. ... I saw the cutback lanes and I just took them. I broke a few tackles on my way, too," said Abrokwah, who started the scoring with a 57-yard touchdown run on the first play of the game.
Even with Abrokwah's big day, the statistical battle was won by Wright. The 5-foot-7 senior netted 282 yards on 28 carries and four touchdowns, compared to Abrokwah's 202 yards and three touchdowns on 22 carries. But Abrokwah, first-time starter Andrew Smiley and a defense that came up with a huge stop when it was needed most will be just fine with a 1-0 start.
"We knew we had to get a couple of stops defensively to get our guys the ball back," Andreoli said.
"[Andrew Smiley] did a heck of a job today. ... We've got him in a position where he has a run-throw option, and he's pretty fast when he turns the corner."
The start went to Smiley because incumbent starter Connor Kurtz is expected to miss 4 to 6 weeks with a knee injury. After an interception to close the first half, the 6-foot-5 junior settled in and took the fight to the Holy Name defense.
Smiley racked up 226 passing and 127 rushing yards — most of which came after halftime. Smiley started the game 1-for-3 through the air, but hooked up with Micah Cummins on a short screen pass that he broke for an 85-yard touchdown late in the first half.
Smiley settled in and led the Pioneers on four consecutive scoring drives in the second half, throwing two touchdown passes and running for another. In the third quarter, Smiley accounted for 74 yards of an 80-yard touchdown drive.
"Having Shad back there, he's a threat to take it to the house every time. That's going to open up the passing game," Smiley said. "After the first couple series, I felt like we really got it clicking."
St. John's will next face Longmeadow at home Saturday at 1 p.m.