Billerica Indians Football '07

Fri, Oct 19, 2007 07:00 PM @ Billerica
Team Final
St. John's 10
Billerica 20

Penalties costly in Prep loss to Billerica

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Friday, October, 19 By Jean DePlacido

BILLERICA | On a night not fit for playing any outdoor sport, the Billerica High football team didn't seem to mind the torrential rains that fell upon them last night.

The Indians were able to move the ball in the wet conditions better than visiting St. John's Prep and wound up with a 20-10 victory.

Whenever the Eagles (3-4) were able to get something going offensively, penalties (8 for 80 yards) always seemed to back them up. They had to settle for just three points in the first half on a 38-yard field goal by Andy McTeague.

"We needed to come out of that first half with more than three points," said Prep coach Jim O'Leary, whose team begins its Catholic Conference schedule next Friday night at Catholic Memorial (7 p.m.). "We needed first downs and to be able to run the ball to keep it away from Billerica. We need to block better, tackle better, catch the ball better and throw better.

"Penalties killed us. We had three defensive holding penalties called; and I don't think we have had three of them in the last 15 years. Things like that are frustrating. We had gains in key spots wiped out by penalties."

Billerica took the lead for good late in the first half, going 25 yards in five plays after a big punt return by Jim Sorenson. On third down, senior quarterback Tim Morrison (9-for-21, 162 yards) threw a sideline pass to Alex Orekoya, who extended his arms out fully and juggled the ball, but managed to haul it in for a 19-yard touchdown.

St. John's was bottled up deep in its own end for much of the second half, forcing John Whitney to punt from his own end zone and giving the Indians excellent field position.

They drove from the St. John's 37 for another touchdown on Morrison's 8-yard run in the third quarter to take a commanding 13-3 lead. Billerica's Ken Mangie then intercepted a Scott Darby pass and returned in 55 yards to put his team up, 20-3.

"With this weather it was tough to do much of anything, especially later in the game," said Billerica (6-1) coach Peter Flynn. "We're so glad we have Morrison calling the signals. He took up to the Merrimack Valley championship as a sophomore, but was hurt and couldn't play last year."

Griffin Cardew recovered a fumble for the Eagles in the fourth quarter at the Billerica 25-yard line. That led to a 16-yard touchdown run by Darby with three minutes remaining. St. John's attempted an onside kick, but it was recovered by Billerica.

O'Leary praised the play of Cardew at outside linebacker, Nate Brakeley on the defensive line and Mike Papagni at linebacker.

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