Haverhill Hillies Football '11

Fri, Oct 21, 2011 07:00 PM @ Haverhill
Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 OT SD Final
Billerica 7 0 0 7 6 8 28
Haverhill 0 7 0 7 6 0 20

LaSpada, Billerica beat Hillies in double-OT

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HAVERHILL — Talk about sending a message.

On the game's first play, Haverhill defensive back Blaine Joia clobbered leaping Billerica receiver Matt Clifford, separating him from the ball and causing Clifford to shuffle hunched over and in pain from the field.

That type of physical play almost was enough to give the Hillies their biggest win in years, but the Brown and Gold fell to Billerica, the 15th-ranked team in Eastern Mass., 28-20 in double overtime.

"We wanted to play physical," said defensive end Taylor Sullivan, who contributed nine tackles and a timely pass interception to a fine night of football for Haverhill. "We wanted to play our defense — 11 guys to the ball everytime and big hits."

The Hillies did that in spades, whether from relentless pressure on star quarterback Nick LaSpada, timely plays from Sullivan and defensive tackle Anthony Morris (two forced fumbles) among others, or the sticky fingers of wideout Joia (68 yards, TDs in regulation and overtime).

Haverhill led 14-7 with 7:49 left in the game after Chance Brady's 14th TD of the season. And the Hillies had the ball at the Billerica 10-yard line in a tie contest with 30 seconds remaining.

In other words, Haverhill had its chances to close things out.

But one key miscue and some LaSpada magic turned the tide.

"We prepped for them all week, we knew (the Hillies) were tough," said LaSpada, who had to work for his 193 yards of total offense. "They have stud linebackers — that No. 5 (Connor Tufts with six tackles) is really tough — and they kept up with us."

That Haverhill did.

Tommy Morgan fired a pretty first-quarter 25-yard TD pass to the gutsy Clifford. The Hillies went on an 85-yard second-quarter march capped by Joia's brawny 6-yard TD catch, snapping through three tacklers in the process to tie the game.

Billerica (6-1) bounced back to tie the game 2 1/2 minutes after Brady's TD run, but Haverhill (3-4) responded to drive 64 yards to the 10 before trouble struck.

A bad third-down snap soared over QB Tommy Morgan's head and the junior had to fall on the ball at the 24. A 41-yard field goal attempt with 8 seconds left fell well short.

The teams swapped TDs on the first overtime on a nice Joia 8-yard tightrope down the right sideline and LaSpada's pressure-packed third-down, 10-yard rumble.

In the second OT, LaSpada called his own number on a 3-yard draw play, then caught a double-reverse option pass from Clifford for the key conversion.

"Coach (Peter Flynn) wanted to use that all night but I just shook my head," LaSpada said. "Cliff has a gun (for an arm) and he threw a nice pass."

On Haverhill's turn, two stuffed runs and an incomplete pass set up fourth down at the 7.

When defensive lineman Martin Owens batted down Morgan's last pass attempt, the upset shot was over.

But who'd have thought the Hillies could go toe-to-toe with Billerica?

This after entering the season on a 32-game losing streak.

"Overall I was proud of our boys on defense," said Hillie head coach Tim O'Connor. "Our program definitely took a step in the right direction. We took Billerica to overtime. It's a tough loss but the program's getting better."

Game Statistics:

First Quarter

B — Matt Clifford 25 pass from Nick Laspada (Steven Trask kick), 6:11

Second Quarter

H — Blaine Joia 6 pass from Tommy Morgan (Taylor Sullivan kick), 2:57

Fourth Quarter

H — Chance Brady 5 run (Sullivan kick), 7:49

B —  Bryon Ramirez 19 run (Trask kick), 6:06

First Overtime

H — Joia 8 pass from Morgan (run failed)

B — Laspada 10 run (pass failed)

Second Overtime

B — Laspada 3 run (Laspada pass from Clifford)




(regulation only)

RUSHING: B (22-129) — Bryon Ramirez 9-40, Nick Laspada 7-36, Cam Slatton 2-31; H (37-189) — Chance Brady 33-197, Connor Tufts 2-19, Tommy Morgan 2-(-27)

PASSING: B — Laspada 16-26-1, 157; H — Morgan 11-18-1, 108

RECEIVING: B — Mark Duncan 5-48, Matt Clifford 4-63, Slatton 4-26; H — Blaine Joia 5-68, Nick Defusco 4-25, Tufts 1-11, Taylor Sullivan 1-4

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