North Reading Hornets Football '16

Hornets rally to beat Lynnfield

LYNNFIELD — The writing was on the wall for North Reading. 
With the Hornets trailing by four points, area rushing leader Matt McCarthy was lost to a left leg injury on the first play of the third quarter. 
The Hornets were forced to punt and on the ensuing drive, Lynnfield’s Matt Mortellite hit Louie Ellis on a 60-yard touchdown strike down the right sideline.
But the Hornets showed no quit, chipping away at the deficit. A Bob O’Donnell 39-yard field goal with about four minutes left, proved to be the difference in a 21-20 win for the Hornets.
On a day full of heroes, O’Donnell was perhaps the biggest, making the two field goals and finishing with 14 tackles, including one sack, as well as serving a critical role blocking on the right side of the offensive line when John Merullo went in for McCarthy.
“(O’Donnell) never comes off the field,” said North Reading coach Jeff Wall, whose club finished 9-2. “Sometimes he might come close to the sideline to get a water, but he never crosses that white line. He’s amazing, I don’t know how he does it.
“This is a really special group of players. They never quit.”
With McCarthy sidelined for the second half and the Hornets trailing by 11 points, North Reading put the ball in the hand of another senior, Merullo, who rushed for 100 yards on 16 carries, almost all of which came after McCarthy’s injury.
“It was tough seeing Matt go down,” Merullo said. “I just went in there and tried to do my best to win it for him. That’s what we were all trying to do, we were out there trying to win it for him.”
North Reading’s first touchdown came late in the third quarter. On fourth down, Kyle Bythrow scrambled to his right and avoided a sack before finding Jake Bedell, who broke off his route to get open. O’Donnell rushed for a two-point conversion to make it 14-11.
Bob Donohue blocked a punt on the first play of the fourth quarter, setting up a Merullo 3-yard touchdown run to give the Hornets an 18-14 lead.
North Reading forced Lynnfield to punt again on its next possession before storming down field 74 yards on eight plays. O’Donnell took the field on fourth and 10, kicking the 39-yarder.
“You have to block out the noise,” O’Donnell said. “I’ve kicked some like that in practice maybe, but that one was special.”
With four minutes left in the game, the Pioneers had what they thought was a game-tying touchdown with 2:39 remaining when Matt Mortellite hit Louie Ellis on a back-shoulder throw for 30 yards, but the PAT narrowly missed.
North Reading ran down the clock on its next possession, punting on fourth-and-1 with 1:52 remaining, but North Reading safety Ryan Edison sealed the win with an interception.

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Football, 11/24/16 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Unbeaten Marblehead ousts North Reading

MARBLEHEAD — Three months ago, the Marblehead High football coaching staff put the phrase “Next Man Up” on their training camp T-shirts to sum up what they hoped would be the mantra for the 2016 Magicians.
After 10 weeks, the next men are up all right — up and on their way to Gillette Stadium in Foxboro for a state championship game.
Marblehead used a complete team effort on defense and a monster second half from backup running back Sam Frontero on offense to whitewash North Reading, 28-7, and claim the Division 2A North title Friday night at Piper Field.
“It’s the greatest feeling in the world. After coming up short the last few years, this win feels pretty amazing,” Bo Millett, one of the captains of the unbeaten Magicians (10-0), said. “The only thing that’s going to be better is holding up that (state championship) trophy at Gillette.”
A North Reading (8-2) squad that rolled up more than 400 yards of offense in last week’s semifinal playoff win over Danvers was held to just 147 by the Magicians. The Hornets had but two first downs and 36 net yards at halftime.
Offensively, Marblehead pulled away in the third quarter behind two punishing touchdown runs by Frontero, who stepped in for injured starter Jaason Lopez and piled up 60 yards on 13 carries. His 3-yard score after Millett recovered a fumble in the third made it 21-0, and his 12-yard jaunt put the Magicians comfortably ahead, 28-0, with 3:31 left in the third.
Lopez ran for 51 yards and scored the game’s first TD before going out with a bad ankle. North Reading’s defense stopped the Magicians twice inside their territory in the first half, but quarterback Drew Gally (127 yards) put together a quick scoring drive at the end of the first half to make it 14-0 at the break.
Matt McCarthy, who had 125 yards on 25 carries, scored from six yards out with only 6:12 to go for North Reading. Marblehead’s defense held strong the rest of the way to send it to Gillette for the second time in program history, first since 2009. It will face the winner South vs. Central winner for the Division 2A state title on Dec. 3.

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Football, 11/13/16 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

McCarthy runs wild at Hornets advance

NORTH READING — Shawn Theriault knew how talented Matt McCarthy was by watching the North Reading tailback on film.

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Football, 11/06/16 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

North Reading mauls Bedford in playoff opener

NORTH READING — It was a relatively easy night’s work for North Reading star Matt McCarthy Friday night.
Which, in this case, a 35-0 opening-round 2A playoff rout of Bedford, was a good thing.
McCarthy went over 1,000 yards for the second straight year, gaining 117 yards on the night to reach 1,028, and had a 62-yard punt return for one of his two touchdowns, but he only carried the ball a pedestrian 15 times.
“There have been games, especially last year, when Matty would carry it 30 or 40 times, so this is going to keep him fresher,” said North Reading coach Jeff Wall. “It’s good to give him a break, which we can do with Kyle (Bythrow) at quarterback.”
Indeed, Bythrow rushed for 88 yards on just nine carries and scored on TD runs of 22 and 26 yards.
Whether it was McCarthy or Bythrow, the Hornets (7-1) dominated from the start, scoring on all four first-half possessions, the first of which covered 74 yards and ate up nearly eight minutes, culminating with Bythrow’s 22-yard jaunt.
John Merullo completed another 74-yard drive with a four-yard run and McCarthy followed with the 62-yard punt return and a one-yard plunge to make it 28-0 at halftime.
Three plays after the punt return and five plays before his second touchdown, McCarthy had an interception. One would think that one of those plays would be his highlight of the game, but none of them were.
“The most exciting thing for me was watching everyone, all 11 of us go to the ball,” said McCarthy. “We were working on that during the week so it was nice to see.”
Against a swarming Hornets’ defense, in fact, Bedford managed only 96 yards of total offense, only crossed the 50 twice and never seriously threatened to score.
In addition to McCarthy, Mike Sheridan and Kyle Conley had interceptions, while Bob O’Donnell, Mike Quaratiello, Tom McHugh and Merullo were among those stuffing the run.
In addition to making a slew of tackles, O’Donnell had quite the game overall. He was 5 for 5 in extra-point kicks and had two great punts in the second half, one a 59-yarder and the other a 26-yarder after he retrieved a bad snap and ran around before booting it.
“He (O’Donnell) is so athletic and just does so much for us,” said Wall. “He plays all over the place.
“What I was happiest about today is that we played well in all three facets of the game. We came ready to play.”
The only slight negative for North Reading on the night was its 10 penalties, which included seven illegal procedure calls. 
The Hornets will now face Danvers at home Friday. Danvers blanked Wakefield 28-0 Friday and will likely be considered a favorite, but Wall said: “They’re bigger than we are, but I would never count my kids out.”

North Reading 35, Bedford 0
Bedford (5-3):     0  0 0 0 —  0
North Reading (7-1):     7 21 7 0 — 35
Division 2A North First Round 
First Quarter
 NR — Kyle Bythrow 22 run (Bob O’Donnell kick), 3:33
Second Quarter
 NR — John Merullo 4 run (O’Donnell kick), 8:30
 NR  — Matt McCarthy 62 punt return  (O’Donnell kick), 5:15
 NR — McCarthy 1 run (O’Donnell kick), :31
Third Quarter
 NR — Bythrow 26 run (O’Donnell kick), 1:03
RUSHING: NR (29-222) — Matt McCarthy 15-117, Kyle Bythrow 9-88, John Merullo 2-9, Tommy Patch 2-5, Matt Solecki 1-3; B (32-55) — Jake Eliason 25-45, Cameon Shelmire 4-2, Logan Brust 2-2, Tur Woods 1-6
PASSING: NR — Bythrow 0-2-0, 0; B — Shelmire 2-10-3, 41
RECEIVING: B — Tobin Hart 2-41

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Football, 10/28/16 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

North Reading hands Triton first loss

BYFIELD — A throng of football fans packed the new facility at Triton Regional, but for the Viking faithful, there would be no further cause for celebration.
North Reading spoiled the night, rolling 41-13 over the previously undefeated Vikings in a game that could be the deciding factor in the Cape Ann League Kinney Division race.
The Hornets improved to 5-1.
Senior Matt McCarthy ran for 162 of his 204 yards rushing before halftime. He scored three TDs on the night, runs of 54 and 15 yards and a 45-yard pick 6.
Junior QB Kyle Bythrow also scored three times, one a 48-yard run, in the win.
The Vikings' lone offensive score came in the third quarter when Lewi L'Heureux hit Chris Trotta for a 35 yard touchdown pass to make it 27-13. 

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Football, 10/14/16 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

McCarthy, Hornets win bit

NORTH READING — Matt McCarthy was a one-man wrecking crew as North Reading whipped Somerville 41-22.

McCarthy (10 carries, 174 yards) rushed for four scores, returned the second-half kickoff 83 yards to the house and added a two-point rush. 

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Football, 09/23/16 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars