Haverhill Hillies Football '07

Haverhill seniors: Front row (from left) Peter Byron, Brian Paszko, and Shaun Mueller. Middle row (from left) Troy Warcewicz, Danny Saunders, Justin Cook, Cody Skinner and Luca Scaccabarozzi. Back row (from left) Tim Wallace, Chad Hafford and Miguel Rosario. » Katie McMahon, Staff Photographer

Winless Hillies can salvage season

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There is nothing like a "winnable" game on Thanksgiving morning to keep a winless football team going through the dog days of November.

Countless hours of practice in the cold, mud and rain can't stop your typically driven high school senior, not if victory is within his grasp.

Enter coach Tim Briggs and his 0-10 Hillies, who host 2-8 Lowell.

"Thanksgiving is our whole season, and our kids know it," said Briggs. "We can end on a good note and kick things off for next year. Lowell is a lot like us. They came into the year with much higher expectations, but this is the MVC, and things happen."

Haverhill, which has played both Central Catholic and Dracut tough down the stretch, catches Lowell at the right time. All-Scholastic quarterback candidate Matt Welch is officially out for the game, with a hand injury that could even affect the early part of hoop season.

Health-wise, the Hillies are as strong as they've been all year,"With the two weeks off we've welcomed some kids back, like (lineman) Dan Triplett (shoulder) and Noel Figuereo, who missed last week," said Briggs.

The heart of the Hillies is senior QB Peter Byron. "He's as banged up as anyone else but simply ignores the training room," admired Briggs.

Lowell, without Welch and talented back Jethro Kollie, has been painfully susceptible to the run, a fact that the Hillies will try to exploit with its option game.

Byron, who is approaching 1,000 yards passing at 992 on 65 of 139 passes, has also run for 405 yards on 107 carries. All five of his TD passes have been to Justin Cook. Figuereo has run 92 times for 582 yards.

This is the 10th Turkey Day clash between these two clubs, with Lowell leading 7-2 since they moved to the holiday.

Did You Know? Haverhill is trying to avoid its first winless season since going 0-9-1 in 1985.

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