Haverhill Hillies Football '19

Thu, Nov 28, 2019 10:00 AM @ Haverhill
Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Lowell 7 0 0 0 7
Haverhill 7 7 6 8 28

Haverhill, Lowell

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HAVERHILL — For senior quarterback Brady Skafas and the Haverhill High football team, it was a case of all's well that ends well.

Actually, it was more like all's great that ends great.

That was the feeling at noontime Thursday after the Hillies, who began the season with seven straight losses, defeated Lowell 28-7 for their fourth straight win to end the season on a very high note, reclaining the Ryan-Riddick tropy for the first time in three years.

"This feels great," said Skafas. "We really wanted to win the last four games and we did it. To win this like we did will be the most memorable game I've had. I've never felt like this."

Skafas, who struggled at times during the winless drought and would often be reminded of it by head coach Tim O'Connor, had arguably the best game of his career in his finale.

He scored two touchdowns, the first on a 37-yard dart through the middle of the line, rushed for 82 yards on just six carries, completed 4 of 7 passes and directed the offense incredibly efficiently.

For his performance, Skafas was given one of four game balls and a heap of praise from head coach Tim O'Connor.

"I have been tough on Brady at times but he played great today," said O'Connor. "I told him all week that he owed me one and he really delivered."

Said Skafas of earlier critiques from his coach: "You have to shake it off and keep working. In the end, it's all good."

Although Haverhill dominated the game, it was Lowell (4-7) that scored first. The Red Raiders took the opening kickoff and promptly marched downfield, scoring in six plays, capped by a 28-yard run by senior standout and UNH-bound Brendan Tighe. On that drive, Tighe ran or passed for 58 yards.

But Haverhill came right back to tie the game, 7-7, on a 68-yard, six-play drive. Skafas completed two passes on the drive, one on an unusual tackle-eligible connection to 260-pound Brandon Grundy and the other a 22-yarder to JanCarlos Figueroa before he zoomed in on his 28-yard run.

Lowell went 3-and-out on its next two possessions and suffered a critical blow on the second possession when Tighe went down with a knee injury and was unable to return to action. Without him, Lowell's offense couldn't get untracked the rest of the game.

"He's a great player and that was definitely tough for them," admitted Grundy.

The Hillies, meanwhile, made it 14-7 after they got the ball on Lowell's 41 thanks to an interception by Xavier Ramos. Six running plays later, Aiden Alvarado took tha ball in from 11 yards out and Jakob Wimmer kicked his second straight extra point.

Haverhill took control in the second half by scoring on its first two possessions. Skafas had a 30-yard scamper on the first and scored on a 4-yard run and Disani Houston had an 18-yard run and got the TD on the second possession on a 3-yard run.

Houston finished the day with 71 yards on 12 carries and, along with Skafas led a ground attack that rushed for 243 yards.

At the same time, the Hillie defense smothered Lowell, allowing just three yards of total offense in the second half. And, after Tighe went out, the Red Raiders had just 12 yards for the entire game. Quarterback Aidan Finn was sacked three times for minus 32 yards in the second half.

Among those playing well defensively for Haverhill were Carlton Campbell, who had two sacks, Grundy, Sam Colon-Waldron, Teyshon McGee and Derrick Mitchell.

"This was the toughest win for us, because they have a big line, but I thought we showed a lot of heart and were more aggressive," said Grundy. "I thought we wanted it more."

Whatever the reason, the game was particularly satisfying for O'Connor.

"I'm really proud of the kids, that they didn't give up and kept working at it," said O'Connor. "The seniors knew that I really wanted that (Ryan-Riddick) trophy back.

"It's a good way to end the season and the best thing is we have 18 starters back next year."




Game Statistics:

First Quarter

L — Brendan Tighe 28 run (Blake Ramos kick), 9:12

H — Brady Skafas 37 run (Jakob Wimmer kick), 5:34

Second Quarter

H —Aiden Alvarado 11 run (Wimmer kick), 3:19

Third Quarter

H — Skafas 4 run (kick blocked), 7:14

H — Disani Houston 3 run (Jayden Johnson pass from Dryden Fisher), 1:07



RUSHING: Haverhill (42-243) — Jabari Baptiste 17-50, Disani Houston 12-71, Brady Skafas 6-82, Aiden Alvarado 4-31, Carlton Campbell 3-11; Lowell (25-97)  — Keven Yrrizarry 16-80, Brendan Tighe 5-50, Aidan Finn 4-(-33)

PASSING: Haverhill — Brady Skafas 4-7-0, 40; Lowell — Aidan Finn 3-10-1, 11

RECEIVING: Haverhill — Jayden Johnson 1-1, Teyshon McGee 1-8, JanCarlos Figueroa 1-22, Brady Grundy 1-9; Lowell — Jakob-Rivers 1-2, Kyle Shanahan 1-0, Tighe 1-9

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