Central Catholic Raiders Football '08

Fri, Oct 31, 2008 07:00 PM @ Central Catholic
Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Methuen 0 7 14 0 21
Central Catholic 0 7 0 7 14
Lawrence: Methuen's, quarterback, Matt Bartlett is sacked by Central Catholic's, (#79) Michael Garcia and (#55) Zak Adamopoulos as he attempts a pass allowing Central to recover the ball near the end of the first half. The Rangers came back to defeat Central Catholic 21-14 for the first time in 12 years. 

 » Carl Russo, Staff PhotographerMore photos

Methuen ends 12-year hex

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Friday, October, 31 By Hector Longo
Staff writer


LAWRENCE — With all the strides Methuen High football has made in less than two seasons under Pat Graham, legitimacy would always elude the Rangers if they couldn't deal with Central Catholic.

Last night at Veterans Memorial Stadium, Methuen tended to that piece of unfinished business in style, outlasting the Raiders in an old-school thriller, 21-14.

The Ranger student body obviously understood the magnitude of the victory, piling over the chain-link fence and mobbing their heroes on the field for breaking the school's 12-year grid drought against the Raiders.

With the victory, this once-fierce rivalry was rekindled, at least in the players' eyes.

"Finally! It's awesome and I think all of us seniors deserve every bit of this," said one many Ranger heroes, halfback Mike Bartlett. "We've been playing together for such a long time. It means everything to beat Central.

"I know an awful lot of those kids. A couple of my best friends are on that team, and I've got a couple cousins there, too. Like I said, it's awesome."

Matt and his twin Mike made a killing against the Raider defense.

On the ground, Matt crept closer to the 1,000-yard mark, churning out 93 yards (922 for the year) with a pair of short touchdown runs.

Mike, despiting tweaking his elbow near the end of the first half, hit 11 of 16 passes for 168. The bulk of his tosses went to Pat Phillion, playing the Wes Welker role underneath with seven grabs for 97 yards, while Joenrry Acosta delivered the Randy Moss-like home run ball, clicking on a 40-yard bomb which proved to be the game-winning score.

After senior Sean Cairns kept Central off the board with a gigantic interception at the Ranger 15, just before the break, the teams played to a 7-7 draw into intermission.

"That was a big play. He's a senior, a returning, all-conference kid, and we needed one from him," said Graham. "He really lifted us up on that play. One play can change a game."

This one definitely did. Methuen escaped at least the threat of dead-eye Cam Walsh and a potential field goal, and the Rangers buckled it up after the break.

On their first two second-half possessions, the Rangers mounted TD drives of 60 and 65 yards, building a 21-7 lead into the fourth.

"When our offense can score points, we're tough to beat," said Graham.

 Central wasn't going anywhere, though, even down 14. Shain Jowett hit three passes on a 78-yard scoring march, riding the pile in from five yards out to make it a one-TD game with 8:14 left.

After one last defensive stand, the Raiders got possession with 3:14 to play, but Josue Henriquez and the rest of the interior Methuen defense held firm on a fourth-and-inches sneak to snuff out Central and end the 12-year whammy.



Game Statistics:


Second Quarter

  M — Mike Bartlett 2 run (Matt Gordon kick) 6:00

CC  — Shain Jowett 5 run (Cam Walsh kick) 1:22

Third Quarter

M — Joenrry Acosta 40 pass from Matt Bartlett (Gordon kick) 6:43

M — Mike Bartlett 1 run (Gordon kick) :09

Fourth Quarter

  CC — Tommy Lacroix 1 run (Walsh kick) 8:14



RUSHING: CC (34-136) — Jowett 15-44, Lacroix 9-47, Zack Lattrell 7-38, Andy Scott 3-7; M (36-125) — Cal Carroll 1-(-1), Mike Bartlett 23-93, Pat Phillion 1-(-2), Matt Bartlett 11-35

PASSING: CC — Jowett 7-13-1, 73; M — Matt Bartlett 11-16-0, 168

RECEIVING: CC — Chris Berganti 4-46, Brendan Walsh 2-14, Nygil Nelson 1-12

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