NASHUA – It took a half for the Bishop Guertin High School football team to find its offense Saturday night against Merrimack.
Once the Cardinals did, look out.
BG scored 28 points and racked up almost 300 yards after halftime to pull away from the Tomahawks and run off with a 37-6 win at Stellos Stadium.
While the offensive explosion was certainly something the Cardinals needed, the best part might be who was leading the way.
BG got 214 total yards on offense and two touchdowns from sophomore CJ Boykin, 116 passing yards and two touchdowns from junior quarterback Tommy Vailas and rushing touchdowns from Mike Devereaux, a sophomore, and Dalton Perry, a junior.
“It’s starting to click and the kids are starting to get a feel for it,” BG coach Travis Cote said. “It took time to develop. Now that they’re feeling comfortable, we knew it was just a matter of it. We still didn’t play great in the first half. We made a lot of mistakes and penalties. In the second half, we turned it up a little bit.”
Boykin had 183 yards rushing, including a 67-yard touchdown run that figuratively broke Merrimack, and a 31-yard touchdown reception that almost did literally.
The Tomahawks took the opening kickoff of the second half and marched 65 yards in 10 plays, scoring on Jackson King’s 2-yard touchdown dive. On the drive, Merrimack converted a third-and-7 on a 30-yard reception from Devin Gillis to King, a fourth-and-6 on an 8-yard run by Chaz Myers and a 24-yard pass play from King to Myers that set up the scoring run.
Merrimack missed the extra point, making it a 9-6 Bishop Guertin lead, and that’s when the Cardinals woke up.
Perry ran for 10 yards on first down from the BG 10 and Boykin followed with a 49-yard sprint that gave the Cardinals another first down at the Merrimack 31.
On the next play, Vailas found Boykin for a completion at the Merrimack 10. King and Myers were in coverage on the play and the two collided as they went for the ball, taking each other out and leaving Boykin alone to finish of the 31-yard scoring play.
Myers was slow to get up and King was down on the field for a while before getting off with the help of two teammates. Both eventually returned to the game, although in a limited capacity.
“They collided and they both cramped up,” Merrimack coach Joe Battista said. “It was close. I thought we actually had the ball. I thought we picked it, but they collided with each other and (Boykin) made a nice catch.”
Cote was glad to see that the collision wasn’t worse than it looked.
“At least they’re walking off the field,” he said. “That’s a momentum changer right away. They’re starting to feel good and think they’re back in it, and you turn the momentum in your favor takes the wind out of their sails.”
The Tomahawks were able to hold the Cardinals off the board on BG’s next drive, but with their top two back on the sidelines, they couldn’t move the ball. And then came the figurative backbreaker.
After a Merrimack punt gave BG a first down at its own 33, Boykin went around the right side and raced down the sidelines 67 yards on the first play, putting BG up 23-6.
“When he broke that one down the sideline, that was the back breaker,” Battista said. “We had bad breaks in the second half. Our numbers caught up to us a little bit in the second half and we started losing guys. It was a hot night, we started having guys cramp up and pretty soon, we were far down the depth chart. We just did the best we can at that point.”