Week 7 high school football preview: St. John’s Prep-Catholic Memorial battle figures to be a dandy

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Something will give on Saturday when the team with the state’s longest winning streak squares off against a team which hasn’t lost against in-state competition since 2019.

Defending Div. 1 state champion St. John’s Prep (6-0) has won 13 straight game since a 28-17 loss last Oct. 15 to the team it will host this weekend, Catholic Memorial (4-1). The last Massachusetts team to knock off the Knights were the Eagles (21-14) in the 2019 Div. 1 state championship game.

There may be no love lost between the programs, but the level of respect they have for one another is off the chart. St. John’s Prep coach Brian St. Pierre and his Catholic Memorial counterpart, John DiBiaso, know this is going to be a gridiron battle.

“They’re so talented on both sides of the ball as well as special teams,” St. Pierre said. “They’re tremendous up front and so well coached. They have players who are capable of putting you in a bind.”

St. John’s Prep might not have the same explosiveness as Catholic Memorial, but the Eagles have had no issues putting points on the board. Their ability to execute certainly has caught the eye of DiBiaso.

“They are big up front on both sides of the ball and they run the ball very well,” DiBiaso said. “They have a very good offensive scheme, they are very fundamentally sound and they don’t make mistakes.”

Catholic Memorial has been able to withstand the loss of several key components, something which has surprised their coach.

“Considering what we have lost, the kids have been fantastic, extremely resilient,” DiBiaso said. “It would have been easy for them to use excuses, but they come to practice every day and work hard.”

Like the Knights, the Eagles have had to overcome the injury bug and judging by the record, they’ve succeeded to date.

“We think the program is in a good place right now. The kids work hard and trust the process,” St. Pierre said. “Now, we are nowhere close to being perfect, but we are making steps and growing every single week.”

Elsewhere on Saturday, Natick (4-2) travels to Wellesley to face a Raiders’ team which has won three in a row after an 0-3 start.

The Hockomock League has a pair of interesting matchups Friday night, starting with the showdown between No. 6 Milford (6-0) at No. 4 King Philip (4-0). Foxboro coach Jack Martinelli will take his second crack at joining the 300-win club when his 5-1 Warriors travel to Canton.

A resurgent Central Catholic team seeks its third straight win when it hosts No. 13 Andover (5-1). Tewksbury is looking to improve to 6-1 when it travels to No. 12 Methuen (4-2).

Weymouth (5-1) is looking to move up in the competitive Div. 1 landscape and a victory over No. 10 Needham (5-1) would certainly help the cause.

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