Lowell Red Raiders Football '07

Fri, Oct 12, 2007 07:00 PM @ Methuen
Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Lowell 0 7 14 10 31
Methuen 6 21 0 3 30

Lowell shocks Methuen on last play

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Friday, October, 12 By Dave Dyer
Staff writer

METHUEN | "They all hurt," said Methuen coach Pat Graham after last night's 31-30 heartbreaking loss to Lowell, but this one may have hurt just a little more.

The Rangers (2-4) took a commanding 27-0 lead in the first half and, after a 20-yard Giuliano Pizzo field goal, still led 30-21 with just 3:09 left to play in the game.

But 6-foot-5 Lowell quarterback Matt Welch, a Merrimack Valley Conference all-star in basketball, rifled a pass over the middle two plays later to Julian Scott, who went 67 yards for a touchdown, making it 30-28 at the 2:44 mark, and the Red Raiders got the ball right back when Methuen fumbled an on-side kick.

Welch (17 of 32, 250 yards) then completed three straight passes, and 4 of 5, moving the ball down to the Methuen 20 with seven seconds left. Lowell junior Melvin Mehr came in to boot a perfect 37-yard field goal as time expired to cap the remarkable comeback.

"We made some mistakes, especially on defense, but all we had to do was catch the on-side kick and we still would have won," said Graham. "It's too bad."

For Lowell, the dramatic win was just what the doctor ordered according to first-year coach Al Pare, whose club limped into the game with a 1-4 record.

"I'm hoping this turns things around for us," said Pare. "Finally, we had a great half, but the turning point was scoring just before halftime. The kids came into the locker room saying that we could pull it out."

Methuen had taken a 27-0 lead with only 53 seconds left in the half when Matt Gordon caught a 25-yard TD pass from Matt Bartlett, capping a two-play drive set up by a Justin Marsan interception.

But Lowell came right back, scoring just 35 seconds later. Ambruce Carter ran 48 yards on the first play from scrimmage following the kickoff to set up a 14-yard scoring strike from Welch to Joe Healy.

That sent the Red Raiders into the locker room with the momentum they needed to pull off their dramatic comeback in the second half.

Until that point, Methuen had dominated, led by junior back Mike Bartlett (22 carries, 109 yards). He scored on a 51-yard scamper on the second play of the game and tallied Methuen's first three touchdowns. He also caught two passes for 25 yards and made two key tackles in the second half.

He was complemented nicely by Marsan (10 carries, 54 yards) and the first-half passing of Matt Bartlett (5 of 10, 134 yards before intermission), who had two strikes for 84 yards to Dan Higgins, including one for 66 yards.

But, as Lowell celebrated wildly after the decisive field goal, it was hard to remember all that went so well for the Rangers in the first half.

Koerner lost for the year

Methuen's star receiver/defensive back David Koerner had surgery on his broken leg Thursday and is lost for the season. With a minimum 12-week period of rehabilitation, he is hoping to be ready to go for the baseball season if not sooner.

"I saw them last week and he (Koerner) is a terrific player," said Pare. "I take my hat off to coach Graham. We've played Tewksbury and Chelmsford and they're every bit as good. They showed that tonight, playing like they did without him (Koerner)."

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