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Methuen Rangers Football '09

Dracut douses Methuen playoff hopes

Dracut: Dracut's Jared Gauthier stretches into the end zone while returning a punt in the first half of Dracuts 28-14 Thanksgiving Day win over Methuen. Roger Darrigrand The Eagle Tribune8 Photos

DRACUT — Dracut High clearly learned from the mistakes of Turkey Day 2008. Defensive from the first snap a year ago, the Middies rocketed out of the starting blocks yesterday, attacking early and controlling the Merrimack Valley Conference Small winner-take-all clash with Methuen from start to finish, 28-14, before 4,000 fans at Beaudry Field. “Dracut’s very good, no question,” said Ranger coach Pat Graham after his team was denied the MVC Small title and the accompanying playoff berth. “We made some mistakes and had trouble moving the ball early. I don’t know what our first downs were in the first half (4). It wasn’t very good. With an offensive team like Dracut, you have to move the ball on offense.” Jared Gauthier made an amazingly athletic catch-and-return of a 6-yard Methuen punt. His 28-yard return put Dracut on the board first, 7-0. “Not our best punt, and we had a coverage breakdown,” said Graham. “It was kind of a freak thing.” Only some tough red zone defense, turning Dracut away twice, kept the Rangers within striking distance. The decisive drive came at the end of a second quarter. Buoyed by a personal foul call that set up a first-and-goal, Dracut, which is ranked No. 8 in EMass, went up 14-0 with just 25 seconds left in the half on a Matt Silva scramble. Defensively, Methuen, which is ranked 13th in EMass, showed plenty of grit. Outsized in the trenches, Rangers Pat O’Leary (5-11, 200), Mike Lussier (6-1, 200), Jason Doyle (6-1, 205) and Ryan DiZoglio (6-0, 240) disrupted things in the backfield. Meanwhile, John McCarthy and Matt Delmonte slowed down the Dracut short passing game. Dracut had averaged 39.5 points during its six-game winning streak heading into yesterday.  “Defensively, I thought we were pretty good,” said Graham, whose club allowed 327 yards. “It’s a bunch of tough, scrappy kids, and they battled.” Offensively, though, it took nearly the entire first half for the Rangers to spot a weakness. Cal Carroll’s third-down dash for seven yards was Methuen’s first down, and that came with 6:28 left in the second quarter. A later Carroll improvisation for 20 yards moved the Rangers into Dracut territory for the first time but that came as time expired. Dracut game-breaker Rakeem Shepherd, clearly recovered from an early-season ankle problem, landed the knockout shot, darting 72 yards around right end in the final seconds of the third, making it 20-0. The Rangers owned the yardage battle in the second half, outgaining Dracut 165-149, but twice Methuen turned it over in Dracut territory. “I made mistakes on offense and it took us a while to get going,” said Carroll, who nearly led Methuen to its first playoff berth since 1992. “I couldn’t have asked for any more from our defense. They just played the best they’ve played all year against the best team we’ve seen. We held our own on defense, but we just never got comfortable on offense.” The junior Carroll was a horse, lugging the football 30 times for 121 yards and a TD. He also hit on 11 of 24 passes for 115 yards with one TD and three interceptions. McCarthy, who had a 66-yard kickoff return, and Nick Wright, who bobbed and weaved for 22 yards on a punt return, provided special teams sparks in their final Ranger games. All was not well for Dracut, which is slated to play Middlesex League champ Reading in the EMass semifinals on Tuesday. Quarterback Matt Silva left the game with what looked to be a shoulder injury, the result of a bone-jarring hit from McCarthy.

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Football, 11/25/09 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

McCarthy sparks Rangers past Lawrence

 METHUEN — John McCarthy couldn’t have picked a better game to be “Johnny on the Spot.”

The Methuen senior and co-captain, who is usually known primarily for his tackling, scored three touchdowns in different ways last night to spark the Rangers (8-2) to a 43-29 victory over never-let-die Lawrence.

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Football, 11/13/09 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Cal Classic: Carroll, Rangers stun Central with comeback

Methuen's Raudy Minaya is tackled by Central's Andrew Ouellette as teammate Tommy Lacroix follows setting up Minaya to make a game winning catch on the next play during Methuen's 16-12 win over Central Catholic Friday night in Methuen. Roger Darrigrand The Eagle-Tribune13 Photos

METHUEN - Emotion spurs greatness.

The Central Catholic-Methuen athletic rivalry has been forged on that premise.

Last night before a packed house of about 2,000 at Nicholson Stadium, Cal Carroll, Raudy Minaya and the Rangers chiseled out their own chapter in this history matchup, rally from nine points down in a frenzied final 12 minutes.

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Football, 11/06/09 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Cal Classic: Carroll, Rangers stun Central with comeback

Methuen's Sean Whittaker celebrates after Methuen's 16-12 win over Central Catholic Friday night in Methuen.Roger Darrigrand The Eagle-Tribune13 Photos

METHUEN - Emotion spurs greatness.

The Central Catholic-Methuen athletic rivalry has been forged on that premise.

Last night before a packed house of about 2,000 at Nicholson Stadium, Cal Carroll, Raudy Minaya and the Rangers chiseled out their own chapter in this history matchup, rally from nine points down in a frenzied final 12 minutes.

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Football, 11/06/09 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Carroll, Rangers roll over Andover

METHUEN — All Methuen needed was three plays.

Quarterback draw right, left, and up the middle.

Working almost exclusively out of an old-fashion single-wing offense, Cal Carroll and his Rangers dominated the line of scrimmage on the way to downing red-hot Andover 14-7 last night.

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Football, 11/03/09 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Carroll, Methuen on the 'Money'

TEWKSBURY — With some wild wind howling and Cal Carroll's penchant to carve up defenses on the run, Tewksbury coach Brian Aylward stacked the line and dared Methuen to air it out.

Carroll simply dialed up Raudy "Money" Minaya, and the Rangers escaped Doucette Field with a 20-7 victory here yesterday.

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Football, 10/31/09 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Methuen rides Carroll to win over Haverhill

5 Photos

METHUEN — The Rangers of Methuen really do prefer distributing the ball among several offensive players. Against Haverhill, however, Cal Carroll played the ballhawk, which was more than enough to pick up a homecoming victory.

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Football, 10/16/09 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Chelmsford rebounds against Methuen

CHELMSFORD — Rebounding from an upset loss a week ago when it allowed the winning score with 27 seconds left, Chelmsford appears back on track after a dominating 24-7 victory over Methuen last night.

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Football, 10/09/09 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Carroll, defense pave way for Methuen

METHUEN — This one was special for defensive captain John McCarthy and the rest of the Methuen Rangers.

Following an impressive Merrimack Valley Conference 20-0 shutout of Lowell last night, the Rangers huddled in a large group and chanted “Coach Graham, Coach Graham,” in salute of their third-year head coach, Pat Graham.

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Football, 10/02/09 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Billerica slips past Methuen

METHUEN: Methuen football action. Methuen was defeated by Billerica 27-21. Carl Russo photo 9/25/2009. 15 Photos

METHUEN — In a brilliant duel of quarterbacks, which was the story within an excellent Merrimack Valley Conference game, Billerica sophomore Nick LaSpada prevailed last night at Nicholson Stadium.

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Football, 09/26/09 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars
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