Whittier Wildcats Football '14

Whittier captures State Vocational Large Schools title

Hector Longo hlongo@eagletribune.com

WESTFORD ­— As a grammar schooler, Jesus Sanchez made the ride to Worcester and watched his big brother, Jay Pena, win a Vocational Bowl Championship on the coldest of cold December nights back in 2005.

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Football, 12/05/14 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Sanchez TD finishes secures Whittier win

HAVERHILL — A day that began with Whittier coach Kevin Bradley and his crew clearing white stuff from the field, preparing for a familiar foe, ended with his Wildcats joyously making snow angels at midfield.

Facing Commonwealth Conference rival Greater Lawrence for an unprecedented third time this season, Whittier wrapped up its trifecta of victories by a 14-8 count yesterday before a hearty crowd of a couple hundred. The victory kept alive the Wildcats' slim chances of earning a berth in the state vocational bowl.

"I didn't think it was going to be this heavy," Greater Lawrence coach Tony Sarkis said of the snow accumulation while wearing his trademark short pants. "So we sort of made some adjustments. We knew it was going to come down to execution and ball handling ... we knew the team that would play without mistakes was going to win."

Well, that wasn't quite the case as the Wildcats managed an 8-0 lead at intermission despite four first-half turnovers.

But a dismal Reggie punt fielded by Jesus Sanchez at the GL 29 set up Whittier at the 20 late in the opening quarter. Four plays later, Connor Bradley's 1-yard plunge and conversion pass to Sidney Taylor provided an 8-0 lead with 10:13 left in the second.

At that point, the Wildcats (8-3) had run 15 more plays (18-3) than the Reggies. The touchdown helped atone for Whittier's first possession that lasted 8:21 and traveled 84 yards on 14 plays only to die on downs at the 6.

During the ensuing two quarters, neither team mounted much offense. Whittier did run one play at the GL 20 after stopping the Reggies on downs, but an interception ended the first half.

The Wildcats grabbed a 14-point lead on a drive powered by Sanchez, who took the ball on eight of the 11 plays while rushing for 44 of the 67 yards, including a 3-yard burst with 4:59 remaining. Sanchez, who finished with 97 yards on 23 carries, did much of the damage in Whittier's three victories over Greater Lawrence, rushing for 337 yards and four touchdowns in those games.

"That was a good senior drive," Kevin Bradley said of the game-clinching possession. "It's been nice to have (Sanchez). He's worked and fought hard all year, and there was nothing better than watching him run. We put it on his shoulders and he took it right down."

Whittier's defensive front of starting linemen Jarod Lawther, Ralph Francesconi and nose tackle Robert Burke, stifled the Reggie attack, allowing 141 total yards. Thousand-yard rusher Jeremy Torres was held to 25 yards on seven carries.

"What we do (offensively) we can do in the rain, sun or snow," Bradley said. "We've proven it ... We probably made more changes on defense because we knew (the snow) would eliminate a couple things from (the Reggies). They just did a great job up front and we were able to pursue outside."

After compiling only five first downs the first 43 minutes, Greater Lawrence (7-4) averted the shutout with a furious three-play, 47-yard drive that included a 32-yard Angel Martin-Yoel Batista pass — the team's first play longer than 9 yards — and culminated with Martin's 15-yard scoring run with 35 seconds remaining.

But Taylor recovered the onside attempt, effectively ending the Reggies season.

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Football, 11/27/14 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Whittier throws major scare into defending state champs

PEABODY — Bishop Fenwick has now won a state-leading 26 straight games, but Friday night’s 20-14 thriller over Whittier Tech in the Division 5 North semifinals may have been the toughest. Whittier, which fell to 7-3, came into the contest unfazed by defending state champion Fenwick’s reputation. “We played our football. It was a good, tough football game. We believed in ourselves that we were gonna come out and play our football. Nobody intimidates us. They weren’t intimidated by their records and they showed it,” Whittier coach Kevin Bradley said. “We were able to stop their big running back. It was just a couple big plays that they broke on us.” That “big running back” is Rufus Rushins, a 220-pound bruiser with over 5,000 career rushing yards. He had to earn every one of those 126 yards. It took 27 carries and the Cats accomplished something few have ... held Mr. Rushins without a touchdown. Leading 14-12, Whittier had the hosts on the ropes. But Fenwick pulled it out on a 1-yard run by Josh Niconchuk with 7:44 left to tie it. If you thought Rushins was big. Niconchuk is 300 pounds! Rushins added the 2-point rush for the 20-14 final. Two plays later, Fenwick forced a fumble and R.J. Libby recovered. The Crusaders then picked up three crucial first downs — all runs by Rushins — to salt the game away. Rushins had a hard time getting going. He was often met in the backfield by Whittier defenders. He struggled his way to 40 yards in the first half, but got rolling after the break. The Crusaders will now play Abington, a 38-20 winner over East Bridgewater, for the second year in a row in the state semifinal. With the rushing game held in check, Matt Renzulli was sharp throwing the ball, connecting on 8 of 13 passes for 89 yards and 19-yard touchdown toss to Brian Fitzpatrick that gave Fenwick a 12-8 lead in the first half. Renzulli added 33 yards on the ground before re-injuring his sprained ankle. He finished the game on the sidelines with senior Mike Campatelli making a memorable return to the field. Whittier took an early 8-0 lead when Connor Bradley hit Sean Thibodeau for a 23-yard TD pass. Jesus Sanchez (16 carries, 102 yards) added the conversion rush. Fenwick cut it to 8-6 less than three minutes later when Cody Mullen took a direct snap and followed Rushins right up the middle for an 8-yard score. Whittier re-tok the lead on a 5-yard Sanchez run in the third. The Wildcats were primed to post perhaps the biggest win of the year in Eastern Mass. but Fenwick wasn’t done yet.

Bishop Fenwick 20, Whittier 14 Bishop Fenwick (7-3):     8 0 6 0 — 20 Whittier (10-0):     6 6 0 8 — 14 Division 5 North Final First Quarter  WT — Sean Thibodeau 23 pass from Connor Bradley (Jesus Sanchez rush)  BF — Cody Mullen 8 run (rush fail) Second Quarter  BF — Brian Fitzpatrick 19 pass from Matt Renzulli (rush fail) Third Quarter  WT — Sanchez 5 run (rush fail) Fourth Quarter  BF — Josh Niconchuk 1 run (Rufus Rushins rush) INDIVIDUAL LEADERS RUSHING: WT — 16-102, Robby Gramstorff 8-44, Sidney Taylor 4-14; BF — Rufus Rushins 27-126 PASSING: WT — Connor Bradley 5-13-0, 56; BF —Renzulli 8-13-0, 89 RECEIVING: WT — Sean Thibodeau 3-41, Taylor 1-10, Gramstorff 1-5

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Football, 11/14/14 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Burke, Gramstorff save day

Robert Burke and Robby Gramstorff combined for the tackle on the 2-point conversion with 41 seconds left and Whittier nipped Greater Lawrence 22-20 in the Division 5 North semis.

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Football, 11/12/14 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Whittier stops late conversion rush, wins in OT

HAVERHILL — In the rain, cold, win and mud, Whittier Tech outlasted St. Mary's of Lynn, 22-14, in a thriller that was decided in overtime.

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

Gramstorff sparks big-play Whittier

TYNGSBORO — When Robby Gramstorff woke up yesterday he didn't know there would be a trophy up for grabs let alone it would be his.

The one thing certain by the end of the afternoon was that he earned the recognition.

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Football, 10/18/14 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Whittier blow out Reggies in rivalry game

HAVERHILL — Whittier Regional ran off four consecutive touchdowns on its first four possessions en route to a 42-16 beating of rival Greater Lawrence Regional yesterday in Haverhill.

On Whittier's run, the Reggies only mustered 50 yards of offense in the first half, trailing 30-0.

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

Bellingham, Whittier

HAVERHILL — With the game on the line, there was no question in Kevin Bradley’s mind.

“We were going for the win,” said the Whittier coach. “We were going for two points.”

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Football, 09/13/14 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars