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By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
St. Sebastian’s started its season with a convincing 21-0 victory at Milton Academy on Saturday, headlined by an impressive showing by senior quarterback and Wellesley resident Billy Seidl (11 of 23, 155 yards, one touchdown, seven carries, 64 yards, one touchdown).
“Really happy with the defense,” said head coach Robert Souza following the victory. “The guys all played hard today and it showed with the result. Billy [Seidl] is an experienced quarterback and we’re glad to have Bryce [Gallagher] back, both of whom we spent a lot of last season without. Things change a lot when those guys are out on the field.”
A pair of consecutive tackles for loss, including a sack on third-and-long on Milton’s opening drive by Needham native Peter Blake, got the Arrows the ball back. Seidl hit Louis Hansen for a 36-yard gain up the near sideline on the first play of the ensuing drive, followed by a 20-yard hookup to Teddy Daniel to put Seb’s in the red zone. Five plays later, Seidl capped off the drive with a one-yard touchdown keeper to give the Arrows a 7-0 lead with 15 seconds to play in the opening quarter.
The St. Sebastian’s defense continued to play shutout throughout the second quarter, holding Milton to just four first downs the entire half. A long punt return by Tim Noone gave the Arrows the ball at the 40-yard line before Seidl hit Westwood native Joe Fiore for a 33-yard gain down the far sideline on a drag route. Seidl then twice hooked up with Princeton-committed receiver Alex Cherry to set up a first-and-goal. On second down, Northwestern-committed running back Bryce Gallagher punched in a two-yard touchdown run with under four minutes to play in the quarter. The Arrows took a 14-0 into halftime.
As if it were possible to be even more dominant on the defensive side of the ball, St. Sebastian’s rose to the challenge and held the high-powered Milton offense, headlined by Syracuse-bound running back Kale Mullings and former Everett quarter Jake Willcox, to just two first downs throughout the entire second half.
On Seb’s second possession of the third quarter, Gallagher simply took over the game, bulling the ball up the middle for several long gains and dragging tacklers with him before Seidl hit Cherry on a 16-yard catch-and-run to move the Arrows inside the 15. On fourth-and-goal from the 11, Seidl dumped off a pass to Gallagher out of the backfield and the future Northwestern Wildcat made a pair of men miss before diving across the pylon and extending St. Sebastian’s lead to 21-0 with 37 seconds to play in the quarter.
The game remained 21-0 late with the Arrows continuing to shut down the Mustang offense. With the ball backed up near their own goal line, Gallagher delivered the dagger with a 65-yard run up the middle to give Seb’s a first down inside the red zone with under two minutes to play, allowing the Arrows to kneel to the season-opening victory.
“We just came out and tried to shut them down,” said Seidl on his team’s game plan following the victory. “The defense played unbelievable, the line did their job, everybody just did their job.”
“He’s awesome,” said Seidl about counterpart and running back Bryce Gallagher following the victory. “He does everything and he’s great to have back there, whether it’s pass-protection or running the ball.”
For funny and incisive sports analysis, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter at @fLAno0.