Ipswich Tigers Football '19

Ipswich rolls past Whittier in non-playoff game

HAVERHILL — With a 4 p.m. start time, Friday’s match with Ipswich wasn’t an official night game, but the Whittier football team finally got a chance to try out the field’s new lighting.
And while the outcome wasn’t what they’d hoped, the Wildcats still felt the significance in the MIAA “non-playoff” game.
“Playing under the lights at home has been a dream of mine since my freshman year,” senior running back AJ Espinal said. “Even for the people who came before me, it was a dream. I’m just blessed to be able to play football.”
Whittier had three scoring drives in which it was successful on all five fourth-down attempts, but Ipswich answered each time the Wildcats closed the gap before leaving with a 36-22 victory.
Ipswich (4-5) took the initial lead, picking up five first downs on a 10-play drive which ended on a Cole Terry 6-yard run with 5:30 left in the first.
Whittier (4-5) responded with a 13-play drive powered by Espinal. He gained 45 of the 55 yards and two of his nine carries converted fourth-down tries. The senior capped the possession with a 6-yard run and the first of his two conversion runs to tie the score at 8-8.
Whitter’s ensuing possession ended with 72 seconds left on a 13-yard punt to the Wildcat 39. And Ipswich needed only four plays to take a 16-8 halftime lead, scoring on a 16-yard pass from James to Ethan Jean-Charles with 10 seconds left.
Although that was James’ only scoring pass, he continually aided drives by completing seven of his eight attempts for 104 yards.
“We’d seen some of their film,” Whittier coach Kevin Bradley said. “They didn’t throw the ball. We were trying to do a couple things and gambled. We wanted to be aggressive, and they caught us on it a couple times.”
David Lonergan provided the Tigers a 22-8 lead midway through the third with the first of his two 12-yard scoring runs. 
That score set off a flurry as the teams combined for touchdowns on each of the ensuing four possessions.
Another fourth-down conversion aided Whittier’s 12-play drive which Joe Iannalfo made successful on a 1-yard run with 4 seconds left in the period.
“We go for it,” Bradley said. “We drill it that we’re going to get it on fourth down. We want to keep that ball going.”
But Lonergan, who gained at least 10 yards on five of his seven second-half carries, once again scored for a 28-14 lead.
Espinal, who had 117 yards on 25 carries, had two fourth-down runs on the next possession. He finished it off with a 1-yard plunge and conversion to cut the deficit to 28-22 with 3:44 left.
A 53-yard Lonergan run and conversion with 1:17 left was the clincher for Ipswich.
“You can’t win them all,” Espinal said. “We didn’t give up until the end, and that’s what teamwork is all about. We’re a family no matter what.”
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Football, 11/08/19 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars