Haverhill Hillies Football '07

Sat, Sep 22, 2007 07:00 PM @ Chelmsford
Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Haverhill 0 0 6 14 20
Chelmsford 18 14 7 7 46

Haverhill is thrown to the Lions in Chelmsford

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Sunday, September, 23 By Bob Albright

CHELMSFORD | The night started with Haverhill two-way lineman Chad Hafford leaving the Chelmsford High football field via ambulance with a leg injury and things never got much prettier for the brown and gold after that as Chelmsford jumped all over the winless Hillies, 46-20.

The good news for Hillie fans is that Hafford, who was whisked off to Lowell General Hospital, did not suffer a broken ankle as first feared, but it might be ligament damage. Those fans can also be buoyed by the fact that the Hillies offense showed some signs of life in the second half with Pete Byron (8-for-13, 144 yards, 2 TDs) connecting with Justin Cook (7 receptions, 112 yards, 2 TDs) for a pair of scores against the Lions' first defense.

As for the opening 22 minutes? Well, it was pretty ugly as a pumped-up Chelmsford squad (2-1), which had dropped the prior two meetings to the Hillies, came out of the gates on fire and Haverhill never came close to matching the emotion. It was 18-0 at the end of one quarter and, by the time the Chelmsford band hit the field, Haverhill was staring at a 32-0 halftime deficit.

"That's not the first time that we have been like a deer in the headlights," said Haverhill coach Tim Briggs whose team dropped to 3-0.

"This is not a game for the meek. You have to show up and play with an attitude. We didn't do that. It took until halftime for us to get excited and by that time we had some guys who were gassed and we don't have the depth that they do."

A two-time state wrestling champ, Chelmsford quarterback Tim Rich had the Haverhill secondary in a sleeper hold in the first half as he connected on 10 of 13 passes for 146 yards and three scores, all to 6-foot-2 wideout Mike Murphy (6 catches, 103 yards).

"Those guys are best friends and they just read each other," said head coach Bruce Rich of his youngest son and his favorite receiver. "There were a couple of times where they changed their coverage and had the play covered and they just improvised."

After accomplishing very little in the first half on offense, the Hillies got the running game going in the second half behind fullback Troy Warcewicz (7-32) and junior Noel Figuereo (17 rushes, 90 yards, TD) and finally gave Byron, who will definitely hit the whirlpool today, a little time to operate.

After Warcewicz recovered his second fumble of the night, the Hillies drove 49 yards on nine plays with Byron hitting Cook on a crisp slant pass from 16 yards out to finally put Haverhill on the board with 1:08 to play.

After Chelmsford's Lewis Bailey returned the ensuing kickoff 74 yards to make it 39-6, Byron and Cook got back to work with the quarterback connecting with the fleet-footed receiver in stride on a pretty post pattern from 25 yards out.

"Peter can play when he has some time," said Briggs. "We just need to concentrate and do what we're supposed to do in front of him."

Figuereo, who had three rushes over 10 yards, closed out the scoring for the Hillies with an 11-yard scamper in the final minute.

The Hillies will look to get in the in column next Friday when they host Methuen at the stadium.

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