Haverhill Hillies Football '15

Haverhill, Lowell

HAVERHILL — On a morning in which J.C. Laguerre ground up 247 yards, piling up 1,164 for his junior season, that final yard loomed largest.
Facing a 3rd-and-1 from the Haverhill High 21 with just over a minute to play,
Laguerre plowed off right tackle for his 40th and final carry on the day, lowering the boom and picking up the first down …
By four inches.
That was enough to kill the remaining clock and reward the Hillies with a hard-fought 35-28 Turkey Day win here at Trinity Stadium before about 700 fans.
“There wasn’t much room, but I knew we needed it,” said Laguerre, who took over as the lead back in Week 8 when Pedro Santiago went down with an injury. “I just dipped my shoulder and drove through.”
With the win, Haverhill put last year’s Thanksgiving disappointment, an 8-6 loss to the Red Raiders, to rest and it locked up the fourth straight winning season for the Hillies at 6-5.
The last time the Hillies had at least four straight winning seasons was 1971-75 (five straight).
Laguerre, the busiest of the Hillies’ heroes on this day with 40 carries, scored on TD runs of 2, 7 and 13 yards for Haverhill, which ate clock all day long, chewing up 375 yards on 62 carries.
“There’s a reason we gave him the football all three times on that last possession. He’s our horse,” said Haverhill coach Tim O’Connor. “He showed his toughness there. What a huge yard that was. He’s really grown up this year, emotionally, physically, just in every way possible.”
Still, with Laguerre’s monster effort, the Hillies had to have more.
Trailing by a TD late, the visitors moved to the Haverhill 9 for a first-and-goal.
QB Matt Smith, who had three more TD passes yesterday to finish with 23 on the season, threw a pair of incompletions.
And on third down, Hillie junior defensive tackle Josh Gendron swatted his pass away at the line.
Facing 4th-and-goal, Lowell (3-7) was sure to go to its top weapon, slot receiver Keith Lynch (3 catches, 108 yards).
Hillie corner Aaron Brooks knew it, too.
“He hurt us all day, and they had to look to him,” said Brooks. “I just followed him on the wheel (route) and made a play.”
That play, very similar to Brooks’ game-saving pick in the playoffs against Reading in the 2014 playoffs, denied Lowell for the last time.
“This one is big, just because it let’s the seniors go out winners on our own field,” said Brooks, one of a slew of talented juniors who carried the Hillies as injuries mounted.
Gendron was another, and if yesterday’s effort is a harbinger of things to come, folks had better prep for No. 67 in the 2016 season.
What didn’t Gendron do yesterday?
He excelled on the offensive line — along with classmates Ryan Panici and Kirk Murray who’ll return next year, plus seniors Nehemiah Jerez and Brandon Ray — that decimated Lowell up front.
Defensively, he came up with six solo tackles, that late swat, a sack, and a forced fumble/recovery in the third quarter.
That play in the third, when he basically snatched a draw handoff right out of Smith’s hands before the running back got there, allowed the Hillies to build a 14-point lead. It was just huge.
“We had been scouting that play all week. I just read it and got there a little too early for them,” said Gendron.
Senior Luc Chretien, battered around with a charley horse and a pair of bloodied elbows, ended his career in style, anchoring the defense with Jason Tufts at linebacker and carrying seven times for 50 yards and a TD.
Junior Jacob Dion had 8 rushes for 62 yards, including his 35-yard score.
“All year long this is the way it has been with younger kids stepping up for us,” said O’Connor. “And now we get to look forward to having everyone back. We finished this year with nine underclassmen on offense and nine underclassmen on the defense."

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Football, 11/26/15 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Haverhill grinds out win over Waltham

WALTHAM — The Hillies faced probably their toughest oppenent of the season on Friday night; I-95 during the five o'clock commute.

Despite being hampered by traffic and a slew of injuries, Haverhill was able to muster a 14-7 victory over the Waltham Hawks.

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Football, 11/06/15 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Haverhill wears down Methuen

METHUEN – Throughout the regular season, Haverhill coach Tim O’Connor has tasted just about every offering on the offensive menu.
Friday night at Nicholson Stadium, looking to lock down a spot in the Division 2 North playoffs, he chose the steak and potatoes – a toe-to-toe, double-wing, up-the-gut running attack.
The meat-grinder attack kept Methuen’s explosive playmakers off the field just long enough for the Hillies to pull out a 27-15 decision in a battle of 3-3 conference rivals.
“We looked across at them and saw some pretty tough matchups,” said O’Connor. “So the goal was to turn this one into a rock fight in a phone booth. And that’s what we did.”
Both teams will next head to the North sectional playoffs – Methuen in Division 1 and Haverhill in Division 2 – and each will likely be on the road.
With a 20-play, 97-yard march that devoured 11:05 on the clock, the Hillies grabbed a 7-0 lead midway through the second on Pedro Santiago’s 8-yard TD run. It was the first of three scores for the junior, who rushed for 100 yards on 20 carries before leaving late in the fourth after taking a helmet to the shins.
The lead went to 14-0 before the half, one that was dominated by the Hillies, not just on the scoreboard, but the stat sheet in plays (30-12), yards of offense (160-41) and time of possession (15:43-6:17).
All that quality work disappeared in an blur out of halftime.
Eddie Guzman’s interception put the Rangers in business at the Haverhill 27, and on a first-down flea-flicker, Kendrick Denose found an open Michael Bodenrader for a score.
Sophomore Peter Kwakye turned in a special-teams gem, scooping up the Ranger onside kick in stride and Methuen was on the move again at Haverhill’s 34.
Brian McAndrew broke off runs of 5 and 23 yards, followed by Denose, who would not be denied, scoring from the six. Methuen went bonkers as Bodenrader hit Nick Ramirez on one more piece of razzle-dazzle for the two-pointer.
Just 2:47 into the third it was 15-14 Rangers.
“We just couldn’t keep that going,” said Methuen coach Tom Ryan.
Haverhill, whose three losses are to Billerica, Central and Mansfield (they are a combined 18-3), responded.
The Hillies went 69 yards on 10 rushes and one huge Broghean McGovern chain-moving connection on 4th-and-8 to Santiago, grabbing the lead for good on a 9-yard plunge late in the third.
Down 20-15, Methuen moved it well, but was turned away once on a Jake Dionne interception and another time on downs at the Hillies 15.
J.C. LaGuerre, trying to run out the clock, added an insurance TD in the final minute with a 43-yard dash, giving the Hillie junior a game-high 166 yards on 19 carries.
“We’re right there,” said Ryan. “We’re a little banged up and I’m just so proud of the way this team keeps battling.”
It looks like at 3-4, the Rangers could be staring at a playoff opener with St. John’s Prep or Central Catholic.
“Whoever it is, we’re going to show up and we’re going to fight,” said Ryan.
Santiago’s late injury is the latest in a long line for Haverhill, which played last night without starting linemen Elias Gaetano and Ryan Panici among others.
O’Connor is hoping both will be back for what could be a playoff opener with Reading or Newton South, a pair of teams the Hillies disposed of last year in the postseason.
Haverhill 27, Methuen 15
Haverhill (4-3): 0 14  6 7 — 27
Methuen (3-4): 0  0 15 0 — 15
Second Quarter
H — Pedro Santiago 8 run (Cameron Lynch kick) 6:35
H — Santiago 13 run (Lynch kick) 1:59
Third Quarter
M — Michael Bodenrader 24 pass from Kendrick Denose (Jordan Perdomo kick) 9:27
M — Kendrick Denose 6 run (Bodenrader to Nick Ramirez pass) 8:13
H — Santiago 9 run (rush failed) 1:59
Fourth Quarter
H — J.C. LaGuerre 43 run (Lynch kick) :45
RUSHING: Haverhill (50-297) — Luc Chretien 11-31, Pedro Santiago 20-100, J.C. Laguerre 19-166; Methuen (24-116) — Brian McAndrew 12-63, Kendrick Denose 9-25, Kevin Denose 3-28
PASSING: Haverhill, LaGuerre 1-1-0, 11; Broghean McGovern 1-2-1, 12; Methuen, Kendrick Denose 7-15-1, 104
RECEIVING: Haverhill, McGovern 1-11, Santiago 1-12; Methuen, McAndrew 3-28, Bodenrader 3-38, Nick Ramirez 1-28, Kevin Denose 1-10

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Football, 10/24/15 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Haverhill gets blasted by Billerica


 HAVERHILL — A few muffed punts here. A few fumbles there. Four failed fourth down conversions in the opponents territory. Four  more dropped passes. And its quarterback was sacked seven times.

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Football, 10/16/15 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

With Good out, Haverhill steamrolls Knights

HAVERHILL — Two North Andover High football teams hit the turf at Trinity Stadium here last night:
One led by senior Ryan Good, bursting to a 14-0 early lead.
The other severely missing the fullback/linebacker.
Good's exit in the second quarter with a knee injury sparked a furious rally from host Haverhill High, which ran off 35 straight points to steamroll the Knights, 35-14, and rise from the ranks of the winless.
Off to an 0-2 start and  trailing 14-0 on your home field in your league opener. Could things have been worse for Haverhill?
"We were trapped and we knew it," said Hillies coach Tim O'Connor. "We knew we couldn't go to 0-3. There's nothing more dangerous than a trapped rat. We held them accountable. And we righted the ship."
The Hillies did what they do best. Fight.
Defensively, O'Connor's gang simply filled all the gaps and wouldn't allow the chains to move.
A North Andover offense that rolled up 197 yards on its first 19 plays — with Good in the game — was limited to 45 yards on the 19 plays without him.
"I'm not one to make excuses for injuries, but losing Ryan Good was just a massive blow," said first-year North Andover High coach John Dubzinski. "To lose a kid like that, losing your best player like that ... you just become a different team."
Good (11 carries, 90 yards) and Jukka Morales ignited the Knight faithful in the place with early TD runs of 22 and 43 yards, respectively.
But Haverhill has a big-play threat or two on its side, too.
And the Hillies clawed back on the legs, not the arm, of junior QB Broghean McGovern.
Pulling the rock from Pedro Santiago on a read-option handoff, the 6-5 McGovern burst 75 yards, nearly untouched to slice the margin in half, 14-7, midway through the second quarter.
Santiago was next, picking off a pass to put the Hillies in business again at their own 40 with 5:38 left before the half.
McGovern hit Navin Cruz on a key 35-yard hookup to the Knights' 16 then scrambled to the 10.
It took Santiago a pair of runs to make it 14-13 heading to the half.
The bad news for the Knights, Good wasn't coming back, and Haverhill had no sympathy.
Santiago (21 carries, 119 yards) put the Hillies on top with his second score, a 16-yard dash up the gut. McGovern rolled and zipped a strike to Luc Chretien for the two, making it 21-14.
Minutes later, McGovern tossed his second TD pass of the year, to Santiago, who made a nice sliding catch.
"(Good) is an incredible player, and I knew he was going to bring it," said the junior Santiago. "I knew I had to bring it harder than him, and it showed."
By this time, the Haverhill defense smelled blood and finished the deal with a four-and-out. Chretien closed out the scoring with a 14-yard run, again right up the middle to end it.

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Football, 09/25/15 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Mansfield drubs Hillies

MANSFIELD — Mansfield, which was coming off a lopsided 42-14 season-opening loss to St. John's Prep, bounced back in a big way with a 27-0 drubbing of Haverhill.

Both clubs came in highly-regarded with the hosts No. 13 and the Hillies No. 15 in the ESPN Boston statewide poll.

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Football, 09/20/15 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars