Methuen Rangers Football '18

Wed, Nov 21, 2018 05:00 PM @ Methuen
Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Dracut 6 0 7 7 20
Methuen 7 7 0 12 26

Methuen, Dracut

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METHUEN — As the wind chill dipped under 20 degrees Wednesday night, the Methuen High fans were bundled and cold at Nicholson Stadium, and many of his teammates were shivering on the sideline.

But Methuen quarterback Connor Bryant wasn't bothered by the frigid temperatures in the least as he showed in the second half while helping the Rangers hold on for a well deserved 26-20 Thanksgiving victory over Dracut.

"I was treating it like any other game," said Bryant. "That's why I wore a short sleeve shirt like usual. I was prepared for this.

"In fact, it's kind of a dream come true. Two years ago, in the mud bowl, I dreamed about playing in a game like this in the cold. It was just awesome."

The victory, before about 375 fans, avenged an upset loss to Dracut a year ago and capped what was supposed to be a rebuilding season with an 8-3 record. 

Bryant completed a tremendous junior campaign with a workhorse performance in the second half, rushing a whopping 22 times for 62 yards including six straight to run out the clock and deprive the Middies of a chance to tie or win the game.

For the game, Bryant rushed for 85 yards and was also 6 for 8 through the air with a touchdown, an 8-yard pass up the middle to Kareem Coleman in the fourth quarter.

What's more, Bryant proved an able prognosticator.

"I told Ricky (Brutus) that they would be keying on me and he could have a big game, that there was an opportunity for him."

Brutus, who changed his jersey from No. 7 to the listed No. 2,  responded in a big way with his best half of the season, rushing for 100 yards and two touchdowns on just five carries. Trailing 6-0 in the first quarter after Dracut scored on a nifty wide receiver pass, he scored on runs of 25 and 36 yards gave the Rangers a 14-6 halftime lead.

"I felt really good out there," said Brutus. "I expected more from myself this year but I'm just happy with this win and the season (8-3) we had."

Brutus only carried the ball twice for 23 yards in the second half but, by that time, the Dracut defense was cognizant of him and not quite as focused on Bryant.

Dracut cut the lead to 14-13 in the third quarter but Bryant led the Rangers on a 65-yard drive that ce finished with a beautiful pass right up the middle to Coleman, making it 20-13.

Five plays later, Methuen got the ball back on Dracut's 48 following a brilliant interception by Wes Correa in which he tipped the ball to himself. A 27-yard run by Zach Bergeron and six running plays by Bryant, the final a-yard plunge, made it 26-13 with 2:48 left.

Dracut  made it interesting, 26-20, with 1:44 to play on a 28-yard pass from Devin Lambert to McCullough, but Bryant ran out the clock with six straight runs, producing two first downs, to ice the win.

"He's been doing it all year so we were going to stick with him (Bryant)," said Methuen coach Tom Ryan. "Ricky opened things up for him a little in the first half."

Among those standing out defensively for the Rangers throughout the game were Jaime Blaisdell and Anthony Romano up front and the entire secondary, which provided excellent coverage against Lambert, who entered the game as the second most prolific passer in Eastern Mass. Division 4.

"I was really happy with that (pass coverage) for most of the game," said Ryan. "This was just a very satisfying game and a very satisfying season. We were in eight games decided by six or less points and we won six of them.

"I couldn't be happier with the way the program has grown. We've gone from 4-7 to 7-4 last year and now 8-3. And I think we've built to last."




Game Statistics:

First Quarter

D — Shawn McGuire 19 pass from Cameron McCullough (kick failed) 2:10

M — Ricky Brutus 25 run (Justin Sheehan kick) 1:03

Second Quarter

M — Brutus 36 run (Sheehan kick) 3:02

Third Quarter

D — Allyn French 20 run (Kyle Durkin kick) 4:44

Fourth Quarter

M — Kareem Coleman 8 pass from Connor Bryant (kick failed) 7:35

M — Bryant 3 run (kick failed) 2:48

D — McCullough 28 pass from Devin Lambert (Kyle Durkin kick) 1:44



RUSHING: Methuen (43-251) — Ricky Brutus 7-123, Connor Bryant 31-85, Zach Bergeron 2-32, Anthony Romano 2-10, Kareem Coleman 1-1; Dracut (27-142) — Allyn French 15-101, Devin Lambert 6-10, Jean Carlos Santiago 4-17, Cameron McCullough 2-14

PASSING: Methuen — Connor Bryant 6-8-0, 38; Dracut — Cameron McCullough 1-1-0, 19; Devin Lambert — 8-19-1 107

MRECEIVING: Methuen — Kareem Coleman 1-8, Matt Martino 1-6, Isaac Frederique 2-4, Caleb Adames 1-10, Wesley Correa 1-10; Dracut — Cameron McCullough 4-56, Allyn French 2-26, Jean Carlos Santiago 1-18, Shawn McGuire 2-26

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