December 2, 2011

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Dallas Jackson is the Senior Analyst for RivalsHigh. Email him your question, comment or story ideas to DallasJ@Yahoo-Inc.com and follow him on Twitter.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Five interceptions, eight sacks and a blocked punt would be a special evening for most defenses.

For Ramsey (N.J.) Don Bosco, it was routine.

In the last game of its season, the No. 3-ranked Ironmen took advantage of numerous Oradell (N.J.) Bergen Catholic mistakes en route to a 42-14 victory before 16,712 at MetLife Stadium.

The win marked the program's sixth straight Non-Public Group IV title in New Jersey, where Bosco has long been the dominant team. Whether it will be enough to give the school its second RivalsHigh national title in three years remains to be seen.

Quarterback Mike Yankovich stated his team's case.

"We'll take on anybody, anywhere," he said. "We did. We played teams from Florida, California, Ohio. We beat the best in New Jersey. It is just the Bosco tradition.

"We did it, it is an incredible feeling. We won the national title as sophomores, now we are talking about it again as seniors."

The defense, which has led the team all season, started early with a Kyle Sakowski interception on the first Bergen Catholic series of the game.

Bosco then used a 10-play, 27-yard drive, capped by a Yankovich run, to give it a 7-0 lead.

The self-inflicted wounds continued for Bergen Catholic on its second drive. A three-and-out at the hands of a stifling Bosco defense got worse with a botched snap on the punt. The turnover gave Don Bosco the ball on the 18. Soon after, Elijah Shumate ran it in from the 5 for a 14-0 lead.

Bergen Catholic recovered a bit with a touchdown, which cut the lead to 14-7. But after the teams traded possessions, Don Bosco's special teams stood out again, blocking a punt on the Bergen Catholic 44.

Another Shumate touchdown and the second Sakowski interception of the half gave Bosco a 21-7 lead entering the break. It was more than enough to make head coach Greg Toal feel comfortable.

"When we got up 14-0, I thought there was no looking back," he said. "They made it close but I think once we blocked that punt, it was a point where we felt good and thought it would be enough."

Mainly because the Bosco defensive front - as it has all season - just wasn't going to be beaten.

"I think that defensive line was pretty damn good," he said. "I wouldn't want to have to coach against that line.

"They set the tone by being as physical as they are. That is what impresses me the most."

They never took a play off, even when the game got out of hand.

The second half was all defense creating offense.

"They set up all of our points today," Yankovich said.

Don Bosco took advantage of the third Bergen Catholic interception as Shumate took a tipped pass back for his third touchdown, extending the lead for the Ironmen to 28-7.

Bergen was not without a fight as a drive and touchdown pass from Justin Germano to Kyle Quiero cut the lead to 28-14.

It was the closest Bergen Catholic would get as its miscues continued to plague the team.

Don Bosco was unable to mount a drive and was forced into a punt, but on the first play of the next Bergen Catholic possession, Germano fired his fourth interception of the day as Spence Scannell trailed a drag route and made a play on the ball and returned it to the Bergen Catholic 15.

On the next play, Yankovich added another touchdown to push the lead to 35-14.

Bosco added another interception and another touchdown - this time a 36-yard run by Jabrill Peppers - to account for the final score.

But will it be enough, especially on a night when No. 1 Louisville (Ky.) Trinity won its state title, 62-21?

Defensive end Darius Hamilton, who showed why he is the No. 5 overall recruit in the country by recording four sacks, said he walks off the field for the final time in a Don Bosco uniform feeling he and his teammates have done all they can to prove their point.

"It is a great feeling to win it," he said. "Sincerely, here at MetLife, beating those guys, I can't ask for a better ending."

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