Methuen Rangers Football '11

Fri, Sep 23, 2011 07:00 PM @ Methuen
Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Billerica 7 6 8 2 23
Methuen 0 7 7 0 14
CARL RUSSO/Staff photo. Methuen High School 2011 football team. 9/15/2011.  » Staff PhotographerMore photos

LaSpada, Billerica hold off upset-minded Rangers

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Tuesday, December, 13 By David Willis
Staff writer

METHUEN — Quarterback Eric Lacroix took a moment to pick a large chunk of mud out of his facemask as he pondered the game.

"I thought we were right there," said Lacroix. "But they made the big plays when they had to, and when we needed to we just didn't."

Thanks to an aggressive defense and a few big plays on offense, Methuen was able to keep pace with Billerica for much of the night, but a pair of late drives stalled and the Rangers fell to the Indians 23-14.

"We hung in there right until the end," said Rangers interim coach Tom Tone. "But we didn't make enough plays. We didn't execute well enough."

Methuen kept two-time All-Scholastic quarterback Nick LaSpada in check, limiting him to just 47 yards on 4-of-8 passes.

But LaSpada broke off an acrobatic 40-yard touchdown run on fourth down that proved to be a key score.

"We felt we needed to eliminated the one-play strike," said Tone. "We did a good job of that. But he is a great player."

The Ranger defense was paced by linebacker Ed Wallace, who was all over the field with 14 tackles and a sack. Lacroix and Bobby Blanchard each added seven stops and Gio Rivera and Luis Perez made five tackles apiece.

"We had a very good day on defense," said Wallace. "But it came down to the small plays and small mistakes that hurt us."

Billerica jumped out to a 13-0 lead. But the Rangers struck back when Lacroix fired a dart to running back Ryan Savastano, who ran 65 yards for a touchdown with 2:14 to go in the half.

The Indians countered with a score early in the third, but Methuen bounced back. Lacroix began the drive with 40-yard run, then hit Corey Shepherd for a 10-yard touchdown.

Methuen drove into Billerica territory twice in the fourth quarter, but was turned away on both occasions.

Lacroix was 12 of 28 for 172 yards, two interceptions and the two scores and rushed 17 times for 101 yards against a defense that often packed eight in the box to defense against Eagle-Tribune All-Star Savastano.

A lot of guys are upset," said Lacroix. "I'm upset. This game is going to be riding heavily on my shoulders and a lot of other guys. The defense did a really good job, but they made a couple plays. They're a great team and we weren't there tonight. But we'll get there."

Billerica entered the game No. 20 in EMass. and Methuen was No. 24.

Game Statistics:

First Quarter

B — Byron Ramirez 2 run (Steven Track kick), 7:18

Second Quarter

B — Nick LaSpada 40 run (kick wide), 8:41

M — Ryan Savastano 65 pass from Eric Lacroix (Lacroix kick), 2:14

Third Quarter

B — Matt Clifford 29 pass from LaSpada (Clifford pass from LaSpada), 7:59

M — Corey Shepherd 10 pass from Lacroix (Lacroix kick), 4:48

Fourth Quarter

B — Safety, Methuen intentional grounding in end zone



RUSHING: M (26-110) — Eric Lacroix 17-101, Ryan Savastano 9-9; B (41-278) — Nick LaSpada 16-107, Byron Ramirez 18-82, Matt Clifford 4-68, Jason Ferri 3-21

PASSING: M — Lacroix 12-28-2, 172; B — LaSpada 4-8-0, 47

RECEIVING: M — Savastano 4-86, Corey Shepherd 5-55, Colin Langford 3-31; B — Clifford 3-41, Ferri 1-6

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