It starts with an All-Scholastic defensive end, Andres Rodriguez, continues with an aggressive team-wide effort, and gets topped off by a coaching staff who puts together superb game plans with in-game adjustments included.
That’s how the St. Mary’s football team held Abington’s high-scoring offense to two touchdowns, three below their normal output.
While the St. Mary’s offense has been been formidable all season, its defense has also made big plays and held offensive-minded teams like Cambridge to low point totals.
“I think we had a great team effort on defense and that’s what we’ve gotten all year,” said St. Mary’s coach Matt Durgin. “I’ve got to give a lot of credit to coach [Derek] Dana and all the assistant coaches. They worked hard to prepare these kids. The players play hard and rally to the ball.”
Rodriguez and Rodolfo Jimenez were immense all day but the entire defense played very well in the biggest game of the year.
“Andres has been like that all year,” said Durgin. “He’s definitely the heart and soul of our defense. Rodolfo and Luc Zikianda and the defensive line played an excellent game.”
Linebackers Scott Betts, Michael Daly, Nick Lee, and John Gaeta also drew high marks for being involved in several tackles. Defensive backs Jordan Manthorne, Jordan Collier, Connor Sakowich, Austin Harvey, and Jake Cassidy kept the Abington passing game in check.
“I think the biggest thing is that the defense played so hard together,” said Durgin. “We made a huge defensive stop on the 5-yard line in the second half. Everybody was making big plays.”
Abington coach Jim Kelliher praised the St. Mary’s defense.
“They truly shut us down in the second half,” said Kelliher. “They have some good personnel and they work hard and put pressure on teams in different ways.”
Abington senior quarterback Brandon Cawley was also impressed with the Spartans’ unit.
“That’s one of the toughest defenses we’ve seen this season,” said Cawley. “They were very fast on the outside. It was hard to throw on them. They did a great job all game.”