Lynnfield Pioneers 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

Reggies break down, fall to Lynnfield Reggies break down, fall to Lynnfield Reggies fall to Lynnfield

WEST ANDOVER – When momentum finally swung on Greater Lawrence Tech, it wasn't messing around.

The Reggies, so dominant over Lynnfield and carrying a 14-0 lead to the two-minute warning before halftime, had no answers the rest of the way, allowing 34 straight points as Lynnfield took this Saturday matinee playoff tussle going away, 34-14.

“Just a couple of big plays against our defense and it took all the momentum we had, away from us,” said Reggies coach Tony Sarkis. “The small stuff gets amplified against a team like that, and we really shot ourselves in the foot.”

A Greater Lawrence offense that rolled up 200 yards the first 18-plus minutes of the game was held to only 98 the rest of the way.

Meanwhile, Lynnfield QB Matt Mortellite (13 of 19, 237 yards, 4 TD passes) found the range through the air and rallied his troops.

Scoring a pair of TDs in the final two minutes before the break was huge for the Cape Ann League small division champs.

“In the end, that just killed us,” said Sarkis, whose 6-4 Reggies will finish up the year by hosting rival Whittier Tech on Thanksgiving morning.

When senior Leyton Barr hauled in his fifth TD grab of the season, the morning burst with Reggie optimism.

Double-covered, Barr just wanted the football a bit more than the Pioneers he had draped on each shoulder. He ripped the 27-yard bomb out their arms and tumbled to the ground securely for the 6-0 lead.

A stop and subsequent 15-yard O.J. Belliard (16 carries, 116) TD dash had Greater Lawrence in high gear at 14-0.

Greater Lawrence simply couldn't sustain. After holding Lynnfield to just 9 yards on its first three offensive possessions (9 plays), the defense proved vulnerable through the air, and the Pioneers pounced.

“We didn't run out of gas, we just didn't capitalize on opportunities,” said Sarkis. “Now, we've got to put it behind us, rally around each other, and get ready to go for Whittier.”

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Football, 11/12/16 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars