Billerica Indians Football '07

Fri, Sep 21, 2007 07:00 PM @ Methuen
Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Billerica 0 0 14 6 20
Methuen 0 3 0 7 10

Billerica stampede crushes Methuen's upset hopes

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Carl Russo, Staff PhotographerMore photos

Saturday, September, 22 By Chuck Frye
Staff writer

METHUEN | Methuen's defense wouldn't break, so Billerica's pass-happy offense had to.

The upset-minded Rangers | they led the powerhouse Indians 3-0 at the half | used patience to create a clutch turnover, take a halftime lead, and force the Indians to change. If Methuen were to snap its 32-game conference losing streak, this would be in storybook fashion.

But, unveiling a no-frills ground attack that caught Methuen off guard, Billerica eventually ran away to a 20-10 victory. Blanketing the secondary with eight defenders, Methuen hoped to extend drives and force Indian mistakes. The strategy worked.

Riding out Billerica's 12-play game-opening march that covered 72 yards, linebacker Mike Bartlett jumped James Sorenson's pass route down the right side and picked off a throw five yards deep in the end zone to put the opposition on notice early.

Later in the half, safety David Koerner came close to intercepting a pair of aerials and Oscar Rosario turned aside two pass attempts in his direction. Methuen's coverage was so strong, the linemen still had a chance to get in Timmy Morrison's face. Sean Cairns managed a big sack for an 8-yard loss.

Although inconsistent with the ball, the Rangers parlayed strong field position and a clutch 15-yard third-down connection between QB Matt Bartlett and wideout Dan Higgins into a 36-yard field goal by Giuliano Pizzo with 6:40 left in the second quarter.

Outgaining Methuen 2-to-1 but trailing, the Indians decided to flex its muscles.

"The kids came out a little flat and that's my fault," explained Billerica head coach Peter Flynn. "The kids read the papers and they say we're going to beat Methuen by 40 points and that's ludicrous. Methuen's a good team that hustles and plays hard. So at halftime, we decided to go back to basic football and make a statement."

With a 25-pound per man line advantage, first Kenny Mangie (22 carries, 140 yards, 2 touchdowns) then James Sorenson (13 carries, 85 yards, 1 TD) ripped up the Nicholson Field turf. Owning the ball for almost 15 second-half minutes, three touchdowns in Billerica's first four possessions essentially salted away the tough decision.

"We haven't faced a Power-I team and Billerica never has shown that before," said Methuen head coach Pat Graham. "(Most of their runs in prior games) were done in trips (with three receivers on one side of the field). We prepared to face four or five wide receiver sets. It caught us off-guard and that's how eventually they were able to drive the ball downfield and score."

Methuen stayed close as Mike Bartlett turned a 7-yard crossing pattern over the middle into an athletic 64-yard excursion into the end zone with 2:43 remaining, but the Indians ran out the clock from there.

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