The alarm clock rang loudly – and unpleasantly – in Alex Thomson’s head late in the first quarter of Keyport’s 36-16 Class B Central victory over Mater Dei Saturday.
That’s when the Seraphs’ Tyson White stepped in front Thomson’s pass at the Mater Dei four and raced 96 yards for the game’s first score with 3:42 left in the opening quarter. And that’s when Thomson’s eyes opened wide.
“That pick woke me up,” the Keyport quarterback said. “I knew I had to come back and make some plays.”
That he did. Thomson proceeded to complete six of 10 passes for 109 yards and two touchdowns, scored another on a quarterback sneak and tossed a two-point conversion pass to help the Red Raiders (4-1, 1-1) pull away for the victory.
“We had no real sense of urgency off the bat,” said Keyport coach Mike Ciccotelli. “We spotted them two touchdowns, and were able to get out of that hole. But we’re a young team and we have to realize that there are teams out there that you can’t do that against and think you’re going to come back.”
Fortunately for Keyport, its defense held serve until the offense hit its stride. Mater Dei collected just 30 yards of offense on the day and lost two fumbles.
“Our defense is one of the best in the division,” Thomson said. “They were able to control the game for us until we got the offense in synch.”
After White’s return and Sam Miles’ two-point run gave Mater Dei (3-2, 1-2) an 8-0 lead, Keyport tied matters with a 10-play, 57-yard drive on its ensuing possession. Thomson’s sneak accounted for the touchdown, and Ky’sun Pryor ran in the two-point conversion. Pryor accounted for 29 total yards on the march, en route to gaining 123 yards on 24 carries for the day and another 43 yards through the air. He also scored a pair of touchdowns.
“Ky’sun is a good back,” Thomson said. “He runs hard and gets the most he can out of every play.”
White struck again for the Seraphs midway through the second quarter when he returned a punt 82 yards down the right sideline, with Miles again running in the conversion, as Mater Dei took a 16-8 lead. But Keyport answered on its ensuing possession, moving 46 yards in six plays. Thomson’s 29-yard scramble on third-and-22 kept the drive alive and, three plays later, he found Jeff Sheard for a 37-yard score down the right sideline. Pryor’s two-point run tied the game at 16-all with 2:19 left in the half.
“We saw (the Mater Dei defense) was up on the previous play,” Thomson said, “And they bit hard on the run. So we knew they’d bite hard again and that I’d have (Jeff) over the top.”
Keyport wasted no time taking the lead for good after Brandon Tanglao fell on Mater Dei’s fumble on the ensuing kickoff at the Seraphs’ 38. Thomson found Pryor on a short pattern seven plays later, and the sophomore took it the rest of the way for a 22-yard touchdown. Joe Fronchek’s extra point sent Keyport into the half with a 23-16 edge.
Pryor’s nine-yard run with 1:25 left in the third quarter finished a 12-play, 67-yard drive and increased the lead to 30-16. Chase Bright, who had 60 yards on 12 carries, finished the scoring with a three-yard run a minute into the fourth quarter.
“We came out and gave them a touchdown on an interception and that didn’t help,” Ciccotelli said. “Then we gave them one on a punt return and that sure didn’t help. But we have some good leaders on this team and they helped settle things down.
“In the second half, we came out ready to go and played like we’re capable of playing, But we have to mature. We have to play hard from the start.”