Lowell Red Raiders Football '17

Lowell trims Hillies in defensive game

HAVERHILL— Yesterday's game at Trinity Stadium turned into a "Throwback Thursday" kind of Thanksgiving.

And what worked well for Haverhill in the first half worked out even better for Lowell in the second as the Red Raiders closed the season with a 9-7 victory. It was a far different outcome compared to the previous two seasons when Haverhill outscored their rival by a combined 99-64.

In this era of spread offenses, both teams extensively relied on the ground game. The Hillies (1-4 MVC, 3-8 overall) rode the rush while controlling the opening half and taking a 7-0 lead. But Lowell (3-2, 5-5) used the same philosophy in the final 22 minutes to eke out the win.

Haverhill ran 33 plays in the first half – 24 more than Lowell – and outgained the Red Raiders 144 yards to 25 while picking up nine first downs to Lowell’s one.

“Our game plan was to just run double-tight (end), double-wing,” Haverhill coach Tim O’Connor said. “We tricked them early on with some Wing-T stuff which we don’t usually run. But they adjusted well to it.”

Kyle Bellemore provided the Hillies a lead with a 9-yard run midway through the first period, while Sergio Martinez’ kick made the score 7-0. It capped a 25-yard drive that was set up when Colum O’Brien recovered a muffed punt return following Haverhill’s game-opening drive.

“We felt good with the lead going in (to intermission),” said Bellemore, a senior tri-captain. “We would’ve liked to have scored more points, but our defense was playing well.”

Lowell, however, took command on the second half kickoff, going 63 yards on 12 plays. And although the Hillie defense limited the Red Raiders to a 22-yard field goal by Michael Menezes, the momentum obviously had shifted.

“Our Achilles' heel all year has been (stopping) the inside run game,” O’Connor said. “And they exploited it to their benefit. ... We fought hard, but in the end they were just a little bit bigger and tougher than us up front.”

The Red Raiders closed out the game’s scoring on their ensuing possession, which lasted more than 6 minutes and covered 58 yards. Anthony Duong did the honors from 3 yards out. Duong, who was held to negative 2 yards on three first-half carries, carried the ball on 29 of Lowell’s 41 second-half plays. Haverhill, meanwhile, was limited to 16 plays after intermission.

“We started to get beat up front,” Bellemore said.

Despite the loss and wrapping up a disappointing season, the Hillies, who returned zero starters from the 2016 championship team, should be optimistic about next year.

“There were only two seniors (starting) out there,” O’Connor said. “I’m proud of the kids, proud of the youth. The future does look bright. (The record) is not what we’re used to the past five, six years here, but I can assure you it will be different next year with 20 coming back.”

Even Bellemore was able to smile, thinking of what he’s leaving behind.

“I wish I could (have another year),” he said. “They’re a great group of kids who have practiced hard all year. Hopefully, next year will be a good one.” 
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Football, 11/23/17 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Kwakye leads Methuen to tourney win

METHUEN — Peter Kwakye took a direct snap, faked a handoff, juked to his left and took off right towards the right. In a flash, the Methuen senior had scored a 29-yard touchdown, and Lowell was left with the question it simply could not answer — how to stop Kwakye?

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Football, 10/27/17 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Kwakye enjoys career night as Methuen tops Lowell

METHUEN — Peter Kwakye picked the right evening to have the game of his career.
Leading a determined group of Methuen veterans on senior night, Kwakye impacted both sides of the ball, scoring three touchdowns and piling up three tackles for losses, including a pair of sacks to lead the Rangers to a 28-21 victory over visiting Lowell in Friday night's regular-season finale.
The senior saw action at receiver and running back and played in both the secondary and on the line for the defense. His first scoring reception tied the score while his second provided Methuen (5-2, 4-1 MVC) a lead. But it was Kwakye's 80-yard kickoff return that gave the Rangers the lead for good late in the third quarter.
"I might have had (three scores) in Pop Warner, maybe," Kwakye said. "I'm not sure if I've had that good of a game in high school. This was Senior Night and we knew it could be our last game at home, so we weren't going to lose on our field."
Lowell quarterback Curtis Gentles, who entered the game leading Division 1 with 14 touchdown passes, took advantage of a 55-yard return on the opening kickoff. He needed only two plays for a 7-0 advantage on a 26-yard scoring pass to Aquantise Byard.
The Rangers needed only two plays themselves to tie the score on a 73-yard hookup from Jordan Perdomo to Kwakye. Two possessions later, Kwakye capped a nice 12-play drive with a 29-yard pass from Perdomo on a slick double flea-flicker early in the second quarter.
Lowell (4-3, 2-2) used a 71-yard pass from Gentles to Byard to tie the score with 48 seconds left in the half, but Kwakye immediately responded with an 80-yard return on the ensuing kickoff for a 21-14 advantage at intermission.
"I fumbled the ball a little bit, then I looked up and saw the hole and I was gone," Kwakye said.
Late in the third, David Kelly gave Methuen a 28-24 lead on an 8-yard run, finishing off a 10-play, 74-yard drive.
"This was big, it was huge but wasn't our biggest win yet," Kwakye said. "The biggest win will be in the Super Bowl."
Gentles finished with 277 yards through the air, but was harassed all night by Methuen's strong pass rush, completing only 14 of his 35 attempts. More than half of his yardage came on the touchdowns.
"Our defense stepped up tonight," said Methuen coach Tim Ryan, who rotated defensive linemen throughout the game in the absence of senior Bryce Smith, who will return next week. "We played tremendous defense and were really disruptive. We threw their passing game off."
The victory sends the Rangers into the postseason with momentum.
"Based on what I know — it isn't official — but we'll play Lowell again here," Ryan said. "I heard St. John's lost, so we'll likely play Lowell. We have to quickly recover because (the Red Raiders) can really run. They have some speed. Playing a playoff game at home was one of our goals to start the season."

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Football, 10/20/17 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Central's Edwards dominates Lowell in homecoming

LOWELL — Bret Edwards remembers watching from the stands as his older brother, Kyle, played quarterback for Lowell High.
Years later, the younger Edwards has returned to hometown Cawley Stadium twice, and has left with a victory both times — just with the one caveat of being the quarterback for visiting Central Catholic. 
During his latest trip home on Friday night, Edwards threw for 162 yards and two touchdowns on 8 of 12 passing as Central, the second ranked team in Eastern Mass., throttled Lowell, 49-7. 
For Edwards, it’s always special playing against the kids he grew up with, even though he’s on the opposite sideline. Plus, it makes for some fun conversation with his brother.
“He’ll talk all that smack before the game. But win or lose it’s still fun to play here,” said a smiling Edwards.
“It’s always good coming back here. I mean, it’s my hometown and I get to play against all my friends. I grew up with a lot of those guys, going to school with them and to the gym with them. Win or lose it’s always a good experience.”
The UNH recruit was efficient and the defense dominated for 6-0 Central Catholic.
Lowell, now 4-2, had averaged a whopping 41.4 points per game heading into Friday. Star senior back Anthony Doung, the Red Raiders’ top weapon, was averaging 129.4 yards on the ground.
But, for all intents and purposes, Central’s defense pitched a shutout. It wasn’t until late in the third quarter when Lowell rushed in a score off the backups. As for Duong, well, he was kept in check for just 17 yards on seven carries.
“They’ve been putting up points all year so it was a good test for us tonight,” said Central coach Chuck Adamopoulos. “I like the way our kids responded defensively. I thought they recognized well and I thought they competed well.”
Central helped itself out by causing four turnovers. Joe Howshan had two interceptions, Gregory Desrosiers had a pick and the Raiders also forced a fumble.
Howshan also broke off a 23-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter, and Desrosiers led the team with 104 receiving yards and a juggling 21-yard TD reception. Mathias Villafane continued his hot stretch with six catches for 58 yards and a touchdown, and also ran back the second half kickoff 90 yards for another score.
After Villafane’s kickoff return, Anthony Caggianelli broke off a 78-yard TD to make it 49-0 early in the third. The Raiders called off the dogs shortly after.
For Lowell, Friday night ended a two-game stretch that started with last week’s beating from Everett, the No. 1 ranked team in the Eastern Mass.
Central had 14 different rushers Friday night, and eight in one drive. The red-hot offense is now averaging 40.5 points per game.
“We just followed our game plan,” said Edwards. “We just did what we practiced all week. Our game plan was to just do what we do and get better every week, and that’s what we did.”
That game plan will make its way to Andover on Friday for a 7 p.m. kickoff.

Central Catholic 49, Lowell 7
Central Catholic (6-0):     14 21 14 0 — 49
Lowell (4-2):      0  0  7 0 —  7
First Quarter
 CC — Max Faro 5 run (Zach DeBay kick), 8:23
 CC — Ty Donatio 2 run (DeBay kick), 4:43
Second Quarter
 CC — Joe Howshan 23 run (DeBay kick), 8:14
 CC — Mathias Villafane 9 pass from Bret Edwards (DeBay kick), 3:51
 CC — Gregory Desrosiers 21 pass from Edwards (DeBay kick), 1:28
Third Quarter
 CC — Villafane 90 kickoff return (DeBay kick), 10:49
 CC — Anthony Caggianelli 78 run (DeBay kick), 5:59
 L — Justin Villanueva 3 run (Mike Menezes kick), 2:49
RUSHING: CENTRAL (32-182): Anthony Caggianelli 2-80, Ty Donatio 5-32, Joe Howshan 2-26, Matthew Shaw 3-16, Mark Kassis 3-12, Jared Gillis 2-10, Jared Silverio 1-7, Max Faro 3-6, Aidan Gordon 1-3, Lewy Baez-Troncoso 1-3, Jose Armando Binet 1-3, Deven DeBay 1-0, Michael Finneran 2-(-2), Bret Edwards 5-(-14); 
LOWELL (31-145): Curtis Gentles 11-74, Justin Villaneuva 9-54, Anthony Doung 7-17, Thomas Cannon 1-1, Richmond Kwaateng 3-(-1)
PASSING: CENTRAL — Bret Edwards 8-12-0, 162, J.J. Mercuri 0-1-0, 0; LOWELL — Curtis Gentles 6-19-3, 87
RECEIVING: CENTRAL — Gregory Desrosiers 2-104, Villafane 6-58; LOWELL — Brendan Tighe 5-77, Cannon 1-10

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Football, 10/13/17 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Andover loses heartbreaker

ANDOVER — Cedric Gillette should have been the hero in a dramatic victory for Andover last night.

Gillette outfought a defender for a 23-yard TD reception with 1:16 to play Friday night, capping what seemed like a stunning fourth-quarter rally which saw the Warriors rally from a 45-20 hole to take a 48-45 lead. There was only one problem. Andover left unbeaten Lowell a few seconds too many on the clock and, despite being pinned back on their 1-yard line, the Red Raiders drove downfield 99 yards to score with no time left on the clock for a dramatic 51-48 victory. “That’s as good a two-minute drill as you’ll ever see,” said Lowell coach John Florence. “We always have great games against Andover and this was another one.” On that final drive, Lowell quarterback Curtis Gentles was 5 for 6, which included a 44-yard bomb, and four completions wound up with the receiver running out of bounds. After a pass to the Andover 1-yard line with three seconds left, Justin Villanueva went the final yard as the game ended.

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Football, 09/29/17 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Lawrence shows promise in season-opening loss

LOWELL - The start of Lawrence's season was straight out of a Stephen King novel.

Two muffed snaps led to a safety just two minutes into the Lancers' traditional season-opening game against rival Lowell, and it looked as if the woes of last season's winless campaign didn't go far.

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Football, 09/08/17 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars