Haverhill Hillies Football '07

Fri, Sep 28, 2007 07:00 PM @ Haverhill
Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Methuen 7 0 14 7 28
Haverhill 0 7 0 0 7
Methuen 28 Haverhill 7 » Roger Darrigrand, Staff PhotographerMore photos

Methuen ends MVC drought at 33 games

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Friday, September, 28 By Dave Dyer
Staff writer

HAVERHILL | Methuen senior and tri-captain David Koerner has enjoyed plenty of fine moments in athletics, but they all paled compared to last night.

"This is the best feeling I've had by far, and I play three sports," said Koerner after the Rangers snapped a 33-game Merrimack Valley Conference losing streak, dating back to 2002, with a convincing 28-7 victory over Haverhill before more than 1,000 fans.

The resounding victory led to a wild celebration after the game and spurred both athletic director Jim Weymouth and principal Arthur Nicholson to add their hearty congratulations to the team.

"I've been waiting for this for a long time," said Nicholson, an avid fan who never misses a football game.

The Rangers (2-2) got on the board quickly to start the game as Mike Bartlett (19 carries, 85 yards) scored at the 7:23 mark on a 14-yard run, capping off a 40-yard drive in which he carried five straight times.

Haverhill tied it up, 7-7, in the second quarter on a Peter Byron one-yard run, which capped off a nifty 70-yard drive. But the Hillies failed to convert two golden opportunities, one after recovering a fumble at the Methuen 38 and the other after a high snap on fourth down gave them the ball on the 24.

With those opportunities lost, it was all Methuen in the second half, with Koerner leading the way.

Methuen took command with a 63-yard drive to start the third quarter. A 17-yard Matt Bartlett pass to Koerner helped keep the drive alive and Justin Marsan capped it off with an 8-yard TD run to put Methuen, after the second of four PAT kicks by Giuliano Pizzo, ahead to stay, 14-7.

After that, Koerner stole the show. He caught touchdown passes of 35 and 30 yards to put the game out of reach, and he finished with Randy Moss-type numbers | eight catches for 151 yards. Defensively, he was also immense with two interceptions, four passes broken up and five tackles.

"I knew I had a height advantage on their backs and Matt put the ball up there for me," said Koerner, who is often referred to as just "D.K."

First-year coach Pat Graham liked what he saw, noting that the Rangers are "looking for ways to get him (Koerner) the ball." But he was not looking for excessive celebration.

"It feels good to get the monkey off our backs, because I felt the kids' pain with the (losing) streak, but they shouldn't be surprised," said Graham. "I think we're going to win a lot of football games."

While Koerner was highlighting the offense in the second half, the Rangers' defense was able to keep the shifty Byron in check, allowing only three completions. Linebacker Sean Cairns was all over the field, making seven tackles, and the defensive front, led by tri-captain Matt Dugan, applied constant pressure.

"We talk about (playing) 44 minutes and I thought we showed that in the second half," said Dugan. "I'm just so proud of our guys."

As for Haverhill, which fell to 0-4, Byron played a gutsy game at quarterback, particularly with his scrambling, and Justin Cook caught seven passes for 109 yards.

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