Newburyport Clippers Football '07

Fri, Oct 26, 2007 07:00 PM @ Newburyport
Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
North Andover 7 0 0 7 14
Newburyport 0 7 0 0 7
A North Andover cheerleader has reason to smile as her team uses stifling defense to hold Newburyport to only 7 points. The Scarlet Knights traveled to World War Memorial Stadium and came out with a 14-7 victory. » Jim Vaiknoras, Staff PhotographerMore photos

Clippers' offense shut down by North Andover

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Friday, October, 26 By Dan Guttenplan
Sports editor

NEWBURYPORT | The Newburyport football team's passing offense was bound to stall sometime.

Fortunately for the Clippers, it happened last night in a 14-7 loss to North Andover that won't count against them in the Cape Ann League Small standings.

The Scarlet Knights (6-2) shut down a vaunted Clippers' passing attack that entered the game averaging 125 yards and two touchdowns per game. Clippers quarterback Joe Clancy struggled with a defense that dropped as many as six defensive backs in coverage, completing 6 of 15 passes for 53 yards with one interception and no touchdown.

"We knew they were capable of running the ball, but they've really established a reputation for having an excellent passing attack this season," North Andover coach John Rafferty said. "Our goal was to take that away, but I still never felt comfortable that we had it completely under control."

North Andover tailback Zachary Iovanella had the biggest hand in victory with his 16 carries for 108 yards | 93 of which came in the second half. The sophomore accounted for 37 yards on the Scarlet Knights' game-winning 55-yard scoring drive that was capped with a 2-yard touchdown run by Matt Burkhardt with 9:55 remaining in the game.

That drive started at North Andover's own 45 after Clancy was unable to connect on a pitch to Kyle LeBlanc which resulted in a lost fumble. Scarlet Knights senior Andrew Bogosian fell on the fumble, giving the Scarlet Knights a short field.

A possible cause of the muffed exchange between Clancy and LeBlanc could have been the sophomore tailback's relative inactivity this season. LeBlanc has been plagued by an ankle injury keeping him out of five games. He was forced into action last night when starting tailback Justin Burl went down with an ankle injury of his own after rushing for 84 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries. The fumble occurred on LeBlanc's third rushing attempt.

"The doctor doesn't think Justin's injury is too serious, so we'll have to see how he looks on Sunday," Newburyport coach Ed Gaudiano said. "I thought Kyle did a nice job once he was comfortable in there."

LeBlanc did show flashes of speed, totaling 42 yards on seven carries.

Newburyport started its final possession trailing 14-7 at its own 36 with 4:40 remaining. Thirty-four of LeBlanc's rushing yards came on a 50-yard drive that took the Clippers down to the Scarlet Knights' 14-yard-line. On 4th-and-2, Clancy was intercepted in the end zone by Scarlet Knights senior Kenny Kobierski.

The Clippers' lone touchdown came in the second quarter on a 18-yard scamper by Burl. North Andover's first score came on a 1-yard quarterback sneak by Steven Boudreau.

"It came down to key points in the game, and we didn't execute," Gaudiano said. "We played our hearts out, but we just didn't make plays."

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