...and still No. 1; Rodgers, Light lead Pioneers over Mountaineers.

Byline: Tom Flanagan

HOLDEN - Decades from now, fans will talk about Richard Rodgers in much the same way folks discuss Paul Bunyan or Bo Jackson.

It was another big performance in a big game for the super-talented St. John's High senior last night. Rodgers made several big plays to lead the top-ranked Pioneers to a 42-21 victory over No. 4 Wachusett Regional at Hal Lane Field, leaving little doubt as to which is the best team in Central Mass.

St. John's improved to 8-1, and 4-0 in Division 1A, while bouncing back nicely from last week's disappointing loss to Eastern Mass. heavyweight Xaverian.

The Mountaineers fell to 7-2, 3-1.

Rodgers set the tone early, hauling in a 66-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Dan Light on the second play of the game. Before the night ended, he had 139 receiving yards, a 21-yard touchdown reception, six PATs, and a 30-yard pass completion. Just for good measure, Rodgers also fired up his teammates before the game by breaking a baseball bat over his knee.

"We knew they (Wachusett) were going to play man, but we didn't know if they were going to play it with nobody over the top, and that's what they did," Rodgers said of his first-quarter score. "We came out and we saw it right away, we went over the top and I caught it, then I just did what I do."

The Rodgers-Light connection got the rest of the Pioneers fired up in a hurry.

"That was great," senior running back John Vassar said of Rodgers' touchdown grab. "When that happened, I knew we were in for a fun time."

While Rodgers' playmaking stood out, Vassar's ability to pick up huge chunks of yardage on the ground was crucial in what was, for most of the game, an 11-on-11 brawl between heated rivals.

"I think we played one of our better games tonight," said St. John's coach John Andreoli, whose team lost to the Mountaineers the last two seasons. "I was impressed with our running game, quite frankly. When it comes right down to it, that was a smash-mouth, toe-to-toe running game. Vassar stepped up and...

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