Lowell Red Raiders Football '17

Thu, Nov 23, 2017 10:00 AM @ Haverhill
Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Lowell 0 0 3 6 9
Haverhill 7 0 0 0 7

Lowell trims Hillies in defensive game

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Thursday, November, 23 By Jeff Hamrick

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.” 

Game Statistics:

First Quarter

HAV – Kyle Bellemore 9 run (Sergio Martinez kick) 4:37

Third Quarter

LOW – 22 FG Michael Menezes, 4:40

Fourth Quarter

LOW – Anthony Duong 3 run (kick failed) 8:17



RUSHING: LOWELL(41-152): Duong 33-135, Curtis Gentles 7-15, Paul Rasakham 1-2; 

HAVERHILL (40-111): Bellemore 11-58, David Carreiro 10-32, Adam Alvarado 6-18, Colum O’Brien 5-16, Brady Skafas 7-(-13)

PASSING: LOWELL – Gentles 3-9-0, 62 yards; HAVERHILL – Skafas  4-9-0, 47

RECEIVING: LOWELL – Brendan Tighe 3-62; HAVERHILL – Carreiro 2-37, Samuel Prescott 1-9, Nicholas Skafas 1-1

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