With a sophomore QB leading the way, the Raiders are a Division 1 favorite in the North.
Most teams with a sophomore quarterback aren’t true contenders, especially in Division 1 in the MIAA. Central Catholic is not most teams though. Instead of scraping their way to a .500 record this season like many teams with a young QB do, they are 6-1. That has led them to the #1 seed in the D1 North MIAA football tournament.
Ayden Pereira, that same young QB, is one of the reasons the Raiders are so successful.
“He’s a confident quarterback. I believe confidence is the biggest thing you need at that position,” Central Catholic star Nick Donatio said.
“For him to play how he is as a sophomore he reminds me a little bit of Bret Edwards his sophomore year. Calm, cool, and collected.”
That is some high praise for Pereira heading into their first round clash with Lexington. Bret Edwards, a 2018 Central Catholic graduate, is now a QB at the University of New Hampshire.
Ayden Pereira answers questions with more thought and poise than most his age do too. When asked how prepared he is for his first go-around in the playoffs, he was calm, cool and collected, as Donatio says he always is.
“I feel very prepared. Just going to treat it like any other game and go do my thing. This is what we as a team have worked so hard for.”
This QB is all about the team. He is quick to deflect praise to his teammates and coaches, wanting only a win at the end of every week. Pereira says teammates like Donatio, Mark Kassis and Michael Sader are the usual suspects there to cool and calm him on the field when necessary. Coach Sexton is a huge part of that too. Still, Ayden believes it’s rare when he needs for that to be done, as he is confident in his and his teams preparation and rarely gets rattled.
Both Pereira and Donatio were eager to point out how much all of the students and faculty inside Central Catholic were behind them, and how that drives them.
” The school is very excited. They’ve been with us too throughout the season and I know they are ready to get this going,” claimed Pereira.
“Central really is a great place with a lot of great people, so all the students and faculty are always ready to go as usual,” Donatio said.
A captain, Donatio also says that the team is all in, focused on their Lexington opponent.
“The guys are really starting to buy in. Everyone is brining energy to practice and I believe that is a huge thing for us,” he said. ” I believe that we will prepare for every team the same way. No matter who it is, our coaches know how to get us in line and ready to play. The guys know we can compete with anyone. We are having a good week and our guys will be ready to go on Saturday.”
When pushed to see if the Raiders were quietly looking ahead to a rematch with St. John’s Prep, that was quickly shut down.
“Right now we are focusing on just Lexington,” Donatio answered.
Donatio, Pereira and the rest of the Central Catholic Raiders will take the field Saturday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. inside Lawrence Stadium.