Lowell Red Raiders Football '07

Thu, Nov 22, 2007 10:00 AM @ Haverhill
Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Lowell 0 0 7 0 7
Haverhill 7 14 7 0 28

Hillies avoid winless season

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Katie McMahon, Staff PhotographerMore photos

Thursday, November, 22 By Chuck Frye

HAVERHILL | Just take what the defense gives you | a simple theory but usually difficult to apply.

When Lowell brought its defensive backs and safety up near the line of scrimmage to take away Haverhill's option running attack, the Hillies had the weapons to respond.

Switching successfully to an air assault, quarterback Peter Byron and wide receiver Justin Cook were an unstoppable combination. Connecting 10 times for 199 yards and Haverhill's first two touchdowns, the pair's success opened up the ground game behind junior Noel Figuereo (118 yards and two TDs).

With an injury-depleted Red Raider offense misfiring, the Hillies broke into the win column in their final opportunity, 28-7, before 1,500 fans at Haverhill Stadium. The Hillies avoided their first winless season since going 0-9-1 in 1985.

"Lowell was just piling people in the box and trying to take away the run," Haverhill head coach and former Red Raider assistant Tim Briggs said. "We finally caught on and went to the pass."

Facing predominantly man-to-man coverage, Cook usually had to execute only one move to break free from his defender. On Haverhill's first drive of the morning, the senior dashed past a defender down the right sideline and took in Byron's bomb for a 53-yard game-opening score.

In the second quarter, Cook ran a short slant route from the left side, spun out of a tackle and sprinted the distance for a 55-yard TD.

"He really was the best receiver on the team," Byron said. "We worked hard during the summer and developed a chemistry through the preseason and early in the regular season."

"This was our last game and we knew this was like our bowl game," Cook explained. "We wanted to tear it up."

The Hillies, who were healthier than they had been all season, shackled a patchwork Lowell offense sorely missing quarterback Matt Welch (finger injury). Linebacker Dan Saunders (team-high seven tackles), junior cornerback Evan Pare (forced fumble) and safety Byron (fumble recovery) teamed up to hold the Red Raiders to just 184 yards of offense and Ambruce Carter's 3-yard third quarter TD run. "We had people healthy for the first time in weeks," Briggs said. "That matters as the new coaching staff at Lowell found out. They had a 6-6 athletic quarterback standing on the sidelines who probably would have made a difference."

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