Lawrence Lancers Football '14

Huge comeback falls short, Lowell beats Lawrence in OT

LAWRENCE — After five straight Lowell losses, two of which he missed with an injury, standout senior Shy Cullen was not about to be denied.

The Syracuse-bound back staked the Red Raiders to a 14-7 halftime lead and then, after a gallant Lawrence comeback tied the game in regulation, got the key conversion run that provided a 29-27 overtime victory.

Read More »
Football, 09/20/15 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Toledo's brilliant day helps Lawrence shock Salem

LAWRENCE — In his wildest, most fantastic dreams, Lawrence’s Jacob Toledo never could have imagined his high school football career would end so perfectly.

“Not at all,” Toledo said with a smile from ear to ear. “No way,”

Read More »
Football, 11/26/14 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Lancers struggle against Colonials

LAWRENCE — When the week began Lawrence was disappointed it was relegated to the field of non playoff teams in the Division 1 North ranks despite coming on the heels of two dominating victories.

By yesterday afternoon's end, however, the biggest disappointment were the Lancers themselves.

Instead of demonstrating it belonged among the region's top eight teams, Lawrence proved unable to overcome neither the weather nor Acton-Boxborough as the visiting Colonials walked away with an easy 43-8 victory.

"We just got out played," Lawrence coach Mike Yameen succinctly said.

A Dual County Conference member, A-B certainly didn't resemble the squad that lost three of its final four, dooming the Colonials into the non playoff bracket. A-B (4-4) barely needed 11 minutes before opening a 21-point lead.

Lawrence (4-4) struggled the opening period, losing a total of 43 yards on its six rushing attempts. — a mark a passing attack that netted only 21 yards of its own couldn't overcome.

"They didn't do anything different than what we saw on tape," said quarterback Nelson Valerio, who would be sacked six times on the afternoon. "We just didn't get the job done."

The Lancers did put up two points after A-B's third touchdown when Darryl Munoz blocked the conversion kick attempt, scooped up the ball and raced almost 80 yards. It was the second time this season the Colonials have given up points on a blocked conversion kick.

The Lancers followed up that good fortune, putting together they're best possession. With Valerio connecting on four of his seven attempts and Kenny Richards handling the ground game, Lawrence capped a 10-play drive on a 5-yard Richards run that cut the deficit to 21-8 with 5:09 left before intermission.

But all hope died when A-B took the second-half kick and went off on a drive that lasted 6:47 and consisted of one successful fourth-down conversion and a pair of third-downs as well.

Lawrence picked up only two first downs the final two quarters, and compiled a negative 5 yards on 22 rushing attempts in the game. One week after becoming the region's most prolific career passer, Valerio was harried into a 12-for-24 day that was good for only 103 yards.

The Lancers were hurt in the punting game as one bad snap resulted in a 32-yard loss and another led to a blocked punt. On the receiving end, a muffed return set up A-B with another short field. Three of A-B's seven scoring drives required 12 yards or fewer — in fact, one possession lost 11 yards but still provided a 32-yard Brendan Duhamel field goal.

Despite surrendering 43 points, the Lancers defense had its moments as Manual Vlaun and David Morales both had sacks. Those two also led a front seven that recorded seven tackles for loss.

Read More »
Football, 11/01/14 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Lawrence stuns North Andover

 LAWRENCE — Lawrence High had many opportunities ... to give in.

Two big penalties and fumble inside the North Andover 5-yard line killed any chance of the Lancers putting points on the board in the first half.

Read More »
Football, 10/10/14 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Big plays undo Lawrence

TEWKSBURY — Take away 6 minutes of yesterday's first half, and Lawrence might have had a chance against the defending Division 3 state champs.

But Tewksbury only needed that exact time of possession to score all its points in a most confounding 35-7 victory over the visiting Lancers.

If you skip forward and scan the second half stats, you'd think Lawrence might have taken the Redmen to the wire. But allowing only 73 total yards after intermission was akin to closing the proverbial barn door a tad late.

"We moved the ball offensively a little bit in the first half, but defensively we didn't play well," Lawrence coach Mike Yameen said. "We had a little talk in the locker room and (the defense) responded and played well in the second half. But like I told them we have to have that sense of urgency for 44 more minutes. Not for 22 and the game's out of hand."

Lawrence (2-3) appeared capable of a major upset, going 79 yards on the opening possession and taking a 7-0 lead on a 26-yard scoring pass from Nelson Valerio to Luis Crispin.

But that only seemed to motivate the Redmen, who scored on all five first-half possessions — only one of which actually ran plays in Lawrence territory.

"We've been having problems all years defensively," Yameen said. "That just puts pressure on the offense. You give up that many scores and you have to change your whole offensive game plan."

The assault began with a 53-yard scoring pass from Brett Morris to Adam Gajjaoui, and continued with a 68-yard James Sullivan run.

On its third possession, Tewksbury ran the only five plays required on Lawrence's side of the 50 to up its advantage to 21-7 on another Sullivan scamper. The fourth possession resulted in a 52-yard James Hirtle touchdown and was followed by a 53-yard Morris-to-Hirtle pass.

When the dust settled on the first two quarters, Tewksbury had compiled 317 yards offense on just 16 plays (19.8-yard average). And it's five possessions averaged only 72 seconds.

Lawrence showed its offensive skill on several occasions, but despite starting its first three second-half possessions at the 50 or better, were unable to find the end zone.

"We had some breakdowns in the line, and against a team that good, you can't have that," Yameen said. "This league is good. You can't make mistakes like that and expect to win these games."

Despite losing each of its past two division games, Lawrence still remains active in the playoff chase with games remaining Friday against North Andover, which amassed only 135 yards total offense to Tewksbury a week earlier, before closing the regular season at Billerica.

"I just told the boys next week essentially is a playoff game," Yameen said. "We have to win two. That will put us at 4-3, and I think we can get in with a little help at 4-3."

Despite their difficult opening, the Lancers did make an impression on at least one coach.

"That (first-half production) is pretty good," Tewksbury coach Brian Aylward said of his squad. "But at the same time, it speaks to what Lawrence can do on offensive. We've played some teams that may get more respect than Lawrence, but at the same time, they pose a lot of problems.

"They have good skills. Obviously, the (Valerio) is the leader of the pack but they have plenty of good receivers and good schemes. They did some really good things against us in different sets. I give (the Lancers) some credit."

Read More »
Football, 10/04/14 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Haverhill uses running game to roll past Lawrence

HAVERHILL — Samie Al-Ziab’s face showed the wear and tear of a tough afternoon, as he took a moment to wipe away the blood running from the gash above his nose.

“This was a long, hot, tough game, but it was sure worth it,” said Al-Ziab with a smile. “We wanted this one so bad after getting embarrassed two weeks ago. Today we got to show the team that we are.”

Read More »
Football, 09/27/14 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Lancer defense arrives at halftime

LAWRENCE — Kicked, mangled, eviscerated.
The Lawrence High defense hit rock-bottom last night.
Ahh, the resilience of youth.
After allowing 118 points in its first 10 quarters of action — including 35 to Dracut High in the first half last night —  the Lancers lifted themselves from the depths and put up 22 glorious, scoreless minutes.
 The second half whitewash of the Middies proved just enough as Lawrence High move to 2-1, 2-0 in the MVC Small, by rallying for a heart-pumping 38-35 victory before about 400 fans here at Veterans Memorial Stadium last night.
"We have good coaches, who wouldn't allow us to get down on ourselves," said junior Eddie Cabrera, whose first two career interceptions denied Dracut drives into Lancer territory last night. "We stepped it up. I'm proud of this defense for what we did."
Remember, this is a Lancer team that gave up 42 points to winless Methuen last week.
And you have to wonder what they were thinking when Tyler Bassett broke off back-to-back kick returns for TD in the second quarter as the Middies built leads of 28-14 and 35-21.
"Kickoffs killed us, we'll need to make some changes on that," said Lancer coach Mike Yameen. "But in the second half, the kids played well. Bassett is so good. We'll take it."
Lawrence simply kept fighting.
The offense, teeming with weapons, was bound to wear down the Middies, who dress only 35 players.
And they did just enough.
Bill Belichick would have been proud of the strategy as the Lancers cut the Dracut lead to 35-29 with a score in the waning seconds of the first half then came out and seized their first lead on the opening possession of the third quarter.
Nelson Valerio (19 of 26, 226 yards) dove in from the 1 with 18.5 seconds left in the second quarter. Cabrera came on for the PAT kick and ended up getting twice the return on investment.
"I kicked the ball into my own guy's back and it came right back to me," said Cabrera. "So I just ran into my own guy, but as I did that he helped push me into the end zone."
If the Middies thought that one a bit odd, the winning TD was one for Youtube.
Jacob Toledo swept left and broke downfield for a huge gain, but a Middie jumped on his back at the Dracut 40, stripping the ball loose. In a scramble, the ball went forward and bounced free, when Toledo got up, scooped the football up at the 31 and raced to paydirt for the score.
Cabrera's kick made it 36-35, a number that would stand until late when the Lancers' put the finishing touches on the defensive masterpiece with a safety.
"That's a pretty good offense, (Bassett)'s a fast dude. He can throw it, too," said Cabrera. "The whole week I've been saying that this secondary is a no-fly zone. They completed some passes, but we made the plays when we needed to in the second half."
Read More »
Football, 09/19/14 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars