Methuen stunned by Dracut

DRACUT — It looked as if Methuen would finally tie up its Thanksgiving day rivalry with Dracut — which the Middies led heading into Thursday 26-25-3.

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Football, 11/23/17 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Reggies win through the air

HAVERHILL — Midway through the first quarter Thursday morning, Greater Lawrence junior Donnie Croteau grabbed a beautiful spiral from quarterback Jose Caceres in the end zone for the apparent first touchdown of the game.
Only to drop it.
“I had it in my hands and brought it into my chest and it popped out,” said Caceres. “I felt bad. I had to redeem myself.”
Croteau did just that on the next possession, hauling in a long pass from Caceres and outsprinting the coverage for an 85-yard score, sparking the Reggies to a convincing 41-14 before about 350 fans at Whittier Tech.
That opening TD was just the start of a first-half aerial assault for Croteau and the Reggies. He caught another touchdown pass, from 10 yards out with 16 seconds left before halftime, and had four catches overall for 191 yards.
But Caceres, who missed two games in mid-season with a bad knee sprain, had other targets as well and he found them with regularity in the first half as he completed 12 of 20 passes for a whopping 299 yards and four touchdowns as the Reggies took a 28-14 lead at intermission.
Leading rusher David White had four receptions for 98 yards, Ronaldo Arias caught four passes for 41 yards and a score and Steven Polanco scored on a 15-yard catch. Whoever was open, Caceres found him.
The Reggies’ aerial success — at least to that degree — was something that Whittier coach Kevin Bradley had not anticipated.
“We wanted them to pass, that was our goal,” said Bradley. “We wanted to stop them from running the ball so we had guys up there.”
Said Greater Lawrence coach Tony Sarkis: “They had eight guys in the box so we had to take advantage of it and pass the ball. Our coaches did a good job of recognizing that.”
Caceres, who finished the day with 345 yards through the air and also rushed for 33 yards, responded, if perhaps reluctantly, to the challenge.
“I like running the ball more but I saw a lot of guys open and had to help out my guys,” he said.
In the second half, the Reggies (7-5) played it more conservatively. While holding Whittier to just 13 yards of offense, they stuck to the ground and scored once in each quarter, first on a 22-yard run by senior David White and finally on an 11-yard scamper by freshman Vinny Schmidt.
After the Reggies’ third straight Thanksgiving romp over Whittier, White was given the game ball for his both his offensive (189 yards of total offense) and defensive contributions from his linebacking spot. He got plenty of defensive help from the likes of Croteau, Humberfy Contreras and Malib Pastrana.
“This was a good way to end the season,” said Sarkis. “Our kids know the rivalry and they come to play.”
Whittier (6-5) did move the ball in the first half, scoring on a Julio Joubert 10-yard run and a 24-yard pass from Kevin Bradley to Mark Lamele but their first drive of the game, deep into Reggie territory, ended with a fumble. In the second half, they ran only 14 plays and only three went for positive yardage.
“We had a great first half but missed some opportunities,” said Bradley. “But we just couldn’t get anything going in the second half. You’ve got to give them credit.”
Unfortunately for Whittier, Bradley may be saying the same thing next year. Several key players — including juniors Caceres, Croteau, Polanco and Ader Mezidor — will be returning, causing one Greater Lawrence assistant to state that the Reggies should be playing in Foxboro next year in the state finals.
“We should be pretty good next year, but we have to stay focused and keep working at it,” said Sarkis.

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Football, 11/23/17 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Triton roars to 35-0 lead, trips Sachems

BYFIELD — A Thanksgiving victory was exactly what Triton craved as it looked to close out its late-season turnaround.

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Football, 11/23/17 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

North Andover earns convincing Thanksgiving win

NORTH ANDOVER — Quad-captain Joe Roffer had one message for his North Andover teammates as they prepared to take the field in front of an enthusiastic Thanksgiving crowd.

“Before we started I looked at the guys and I said, ‘At the end of this game, I want to be holding that trophy up,’” said Roffer. “I want it in my hands.”

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Football, 11/23/17 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Lowell trims Hillies in defensive game

HAVERHILL— Yesterday's game at Trinity Stadium turned into a "Throwback Thursday" kind of Thanksgiving.

And what worked well for Haverhill in the first half worked out even better for Lowell in the second as the Red Raiders closed the season with a 9-7 victory. It was a far different outcome compared to the previous two seasons when Haverhill outscored their rival by a combined 99-64.

In this era of spread offenses, both teams extensively relied on the ground game. The Hillies (1-4 MVC, 3-8 overall) rode the rush while controlling the opening half and taking a 7-0 lead. But Lowell (3-2, 5-5) used the same philosophy in the final 22 minutes to eke out the win.

Haverhill ran 33 plays in the first half – 24 more than Lowell – and outgained the Red Raiders 144 yards to 25 while picking up nine first downs to Lowell’s one.

“Our game plan was to just run double-tight (end), double-wing,” Haverhill coach Tim O’Connor said. “We tricked them early on with some Wing-T stuff which we don’t usually run. But they adjusted well to it.”

Kyle Bellemore provided the Hillies a lead with a 9-yard run midway through the first period, while Sergio Martinez’ kick made the score 7-0. It capped a 25-yard drive that was set up when Colum O’Brien recovered a muffed punt return following Haverhill’s game-opening drive.

“We felt good with the lead going in (to intermission),” said Bellemore, a senior tri-captain. “We would’ve liked to have scored more points, but our defense was playing well.”

Lowell, however, took command on the second half kickoff, going 63 yards on 12 plays. And although the Hillie defense limited the Red Raiders to a 22-yard field goal by Michael Menezes, the momentum obviously had shifted.

“Our Achilles' heel all year has been (stopping) the inside run game,” O’Connor said. “And they exploited it to their benefit. ... We fought hard, but in the end they were just a little bit bigger and tougher than us up front.”

The Red Raiders closed out the game’s scoring on their ensuing possession, which lasted more than 6 minutes and covered 58 yards. Anthony Duong did the honors from 3 yards out. Duong, who was held to negative 2 yards on three first-half carries, carried the ball on 29 of Lowell’s 41 second-half plays. Haverhill, meanwhile, was limited to 16 plays after intermission.

“We started to get beat up front,” Bellemore said.

Despite the loss and wrapping up a disappointing season, the Hillies, who returned zero starters from the 2016 championship team, should be optimistic about next year.

“There were only two seniors (starting) out there,” O’Connor said. “I’m proud of the kids, proud of the youth. The future does look bright. (The record) is not what we’re used to the past five, six years here, but I can assure you it will be different next year with 20 coming back.”

Even Bellemore was able to smile, thinking of what he’s leaving behind.

“I wish I could (have another year),” he said. “They’re a great group of kids who have practiced hard all year. Hopefully, next year will be a good one.” 
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Football, 11/23/17 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Central rolls to easy win over Lancers

LAWRENCE — Ryan Burns knows full well nothing is guaranteed in football. He watched when his injured older brother, Kyle, had to sit out his senior year at Central Catholic.

So the brawny Irishman from Danville felt blessed. The Raiders took it to Lawrence, 44-20, before about 500 fans on a beautiful Thanksgiving morning. He had family at Veterans Stadium and he was getting hugs left and right from pretty classmates. And in his final football game of his career, Burns was named the Raiders' game MVP (Michael Sullivan Award).

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Football, 11/23/17 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Pinkerton has no answers in title game loss

DURHAM — For a few moments, it looked as if Pinkerton had turned the momentum.

Trailing by two touchdowns midway through the first quarter, Astros QB Aiden Goujon dropped back and floated a perfect pass to wide open Ty Hicks. The speedy halfback did the rest, cruising into the end zone for a 58-yard touchdown.

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Football, 11/18/17 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Muse runs wild over Phillips

GROTON — No matter how hard they tried, Phillips could not stop Tony Muse.

The freshman Lawrence Academy back ran wild for over 300 yards and a whooping six touchdowns, leading the Spartans to a commanding 56-7 victory over Phillips in the Kevin Fleming Bowl.

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Football, 11/18/17 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Assabet Valley, Greater Lawrence


MARLBORO — Assabet Valley scored on its first drive of the game and never trailed Friday night in a 26-12 victory over Greater Lawrence in the state Vocational Bowl Large  division playoff semifinals.

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Football, 11/17/17 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Freiermuth, Lambert go out on top

NEW HAMPTON, N.H. — With the game still in doubt as the clock ran down, Pat Freiermuth made certain that he would end his high school football career on top.

“The coaches send me on an ‘X’ (blitz) and the quarterback made a late read,” said the Brooks senior from Merrimac. “I just went in and stripped it. I knew it was over then.”

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Football, 11/17/17 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars
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