Click the link below to take a sneak peek at a select handful of Thanksgiving Day stories that will appear in Friday's Boston Globe and online here at Boston.com. Check back later for longer versions of these stories, and the rest of our coverage from today. Enjoy!
Tiebreaker points out difference of opinion
Dual County. Tri-champions. One million and one permutations.
It was one wild ride in the Dual County League yesterday. Lincoln-Sudbury beat Newton South, 20-12. Acton-Boxboro beat Westford, 28-25. And Wayland officially won the league championship even though it did not play a league game. Wayland beat Weston, 34-8, and gets to play Chelmsford next week because L-S and A-B didn't score enough first-half points on Thanksgiving.
Confused? Welcome to the neighborhood. L-S, A-B, and Wayland all finished with a league record of 7-1, but Wayland gets to advance to the EMass playoffs because of a tiebreaker system that only Bill Belichick could love and only Albert Einstein could decipher.
If you have mastered Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3 and memorized John von Neumann and Oskar Morgenstern's Game Theory, put your mind to a real test and try to figure out the DCL's tiebreaker system.
The league determined this year that, in the event of a three-way tie, the team with the lowest cumulative halftime differential would be eliminated, and the title would be awarded to the winner of the head-to-head matchup between the remaining two teams. This encouraged a lot of Patriotesque 35-0 halftime scores during the league season.
"I'm not a fan of the system," said longtime Lincoln-Sudbury athletic director Nancy O'Neil. "I don't think it's an educationally sound system, not when you're encouraging scores of 35-0 at halftime."
First-year Newton South athletic director Scott Perrin added, "We will address this at the next meeting. Obviously, this backfired this year. The good thing is that we have a lot of classy schools and classy programs. For this year, we just had to play it out. It is what it is."
Appropriate that he would use Belichick-speak. Last week, both Wayland and Lincoln-Sudbury ran out to 35-0 halftime leads, while Acton-Boxboro settled for 26-0 after two quarters. We're not sure whether anyone videotaped opposing coaches' hand signals, but it certainly wasn't the true spirit of scholastic sports.
"Some would say that it's not what high school football is about," said Newton South coach Ted Dalicandro.
The Lincoln-Sudbury Warriors lost to Wayland this year, but beat Acton-Boxboro. They knew that in order to win the league title yesterday, they needed to: 1. be ahead of South by 4 or more at halftime; 2. have Acton-Boxboro be ahead by 22 or more at halftime; 3. beat Newton South; and 4. have Acton-Boxboro beat Westford. (I could try to explain Wayland's place in the tiebreaker system, but perhaps you already have a holiday headache.)
It was left to the underdogs from Newton South (3-8) to remind us what high school football is about. Dalicandro's squad restored sanity to the hideous system with four quarters of big resistance. On a day when a lot of fans were calculating how many first-half points the favorites needed, the Lions put a stop to the nonsense by matching Lincoln-Sudbury play for play.
By the time word reached Newton that A-B had jumped to an 8-0 lead at Westford (you knew they'd go for 2), Lincoln-Sudbury had already been blanked once in the red zone by Newton South. It was 0-0 in after one quarter and South QB Derek Russell throwing to Isaiah Quinones was giving Lincoln-Sudbury fits. When stubborn South stunned L-S with a pair of first-half touchdowns, taking a 12-7 lead at intermission, all was lost for the L-S's playoff hopes. Parents, players, and coaches knew.
"It was strange," said Lincoln-Sudbury southpaw quarterback Jason Roth. "It was hard to keep a balance. We were getting signals from friends on the sideline, but once we knew A-B didn't cover the spread - or whatever you call it - we just concentrated on winning the game."
That's when the sun came out. Literally and figuratively. With the title bid officially flat-lined, the boys were allowed to just play football. L-S played its best ball in the second half.
"Once we stopped worrying about what everybody else was doing, that made it easier," said Roth.
Roth connected on touchdown passes to Kurt Rogers and Derek Lowe in the third period, and Ryan Lesko's interception with 16 seconds left in the fourth stopped South's final drive. The Warriors went out winners. Sort of.
"It's still our Thanksgiving game and we wanted to finish on a good note," said the all-purpose Lowe.
Weird day. High school kids thinking about point differentials. Not good.
Time for a change in the Dual County League. A coin flip would be better than this. Have the opposing captains arm-wrestle. Or student-body tug-of-war at the 50. Just about anything beats first-half score differential.
BC High finishes in style
By David Burg, Globe Correspondent
The BC High Eagles have much for which to be thankful after beating Catholic Conference rival Catholic Memorial, 27-20, yesterday to improve to 11-0.
Along with Greater Boston League champion Everett, BC High is one of just two Division 1 teams to go undefeated in the regular season.
However, while the Eagles may be thankful, they are not satisfied. With the second season about to begin, BC High has more to accomplish. The Eagles will face Everett Tuesday in the first round of the playoffs in what promises to be an electrifying showdown.
BC High coach Ron St. George believes his team may have been looking past CM. Having clinched the conference title Nov. 10, the Eagles did not play with as much energy as St. George hoped they would.
"You have to give Catholic Memorial credit because they have some really good players, but we're not pleased with our performance," said St. George. "They were able to hurt us too much in the air, and they broke that big one early."
The Eagles fell behind on the game's third play as CM senior Matt Boyd hit senior wideout Brendan Monteiro, who turned a modest gain into a 67-yard touchdown with some nifty running.
Facing the unfamiliar prospect of playing from behind, the Eagles fed CM's defense a steady diet of rushing plays. Midway through the second quarter, BC High pulled within 1 when junior Kyle Ewanouski scored from 1 yard out.
On the Eagles' ensuing possession, a well-executed reverse option pass from senior Cody Morgan to senior Tom Conley (who made all four Eagles receptions for just over 100 yards), went for 49 yards and put BC High at the 3. Moments later, Ewanouski took the ball in for his second TD and senior quarterback Billy Kiley's conversion run made it 14-7.
BC High dominated time of possession in the third quarter. After recovering a fumbled punt, the Eagles ran the ball six consecutive times, culminating with senior captain Brian Sullivan's 3-yard touchdown on a toss right. Following the PAT, the Eagles led, 21-7.
Everett needs no luck for No. 13
By Mike Carraggi, Globe Correspondent
EVERETT - The Everett Crimson Tide made sure to bring their appetite to Veterans' Memorial Stadium for a clash with Cambridge yesterday. Turkey, it turned out, wasn't the only bird on the menu.
The Tide (11-0, 6-0) gobbled up the Falcons to wrap up their 13th consecutive Greater Boston League title in a 42-6 blowout.
Everett standout and Boston College-bound Isaac Johnson spearheaded a full-throttle, all-around team effort, as he caught one touchdown pass and rushed for two others to complement his ferocious play in the secondary.
Cambridge (7-4, 4-2) surprised Everett by recovering the opening onside kick, then came out gunning with its spread offense, led by Ray Doucette, the Division 1 passing leader. Doucette (10 for 29, 202 yards) took the field with Jesse Sparks (4 catches, 117 yards) and Joshua Adams (one catch, 7 yards). But Cambridge's day could pretty much be summed up by its first drive: Doucette consistently overthrew receivers, Everett's defensive backs consistently attached themselves to his targets, and Cambridge consistently shot itself in the foot with penalty after penalty.
"The fact that we could play man-to-man on those receivers enabled us to blitz the quarterback and get some heat on [Doucette]," said Everett coach John DiBiaso.
Everett's offense proved to be the opposite of Cambridge's, sticking almost exclusively to the strong formation and pitching it to a revolving group of running backs.
It didn't really matter if Johnson (7 carries, 125 yards) carried the ball or his heir to the throne, Nick Brown (12 carries, 86 yards). The reason?
"Our offensive line," said Johnson, when asked what he would be giving thanks for this year.
The party ignited late in the opening quarter, with Joe Conti dropping back and lofting a pass up the left sideline into Johnson's waiting arms. Conti, whose 17 scoring passes are second only to Doucette's 25, needed to complete only three of six passes for 61 yards.
Johnson and Brown split the next two touchdowns midway through the second quarter, each waltzing into the end zone on 2-yard runs. Before you could say, "Happy Thanksgiving," the rout was on.
Brockton gets running start on Waltham
By Rob Greenfield, Globe Correspondent
BROCKTON - When Vaughn Askew parted the seas on the opening kickoff and ran 80 yards for a Brockton touchdown, there weren't many happy faces on the Waltham sideline.
And for good reason. The Hawks needed perfection to steal one from their Thanksgiving rival yesterday, and they came up far short of flawless in a 35-10 rout.
Fourth-ranked Brockton will face No. 6 Dartmouth, the Old Colony League champion, in the Division 1 playoffs Tuesday.
Askew (6 for 10, 129 yards) also threw for touchdowns to seniors Darren Thellen and Phil Coriaty, and Josh Marsh (9 carries, 48 yards) added a rushing touchdown.
"It was kind of a funny game," said Boxers coach Peter Colombo. "I think our lack of games over the last four weeks kind of showed at times. But we're good. We're healthy."
Said Waltham coach Paul Mayberry, "This is a good Brockton team, not a great Brockton team. Everett is a great team. There's a big difference. They'll find out."
Waltham quarterback Don Hopkins struggled against a strong Brockton defense and finished with just six completions for 88 yards in 18 attempts.
"[Brockton] blitzed a lot and Donnie wasn't able to escape," Mayberry said. "But that's OK, because when we settled down, we were able to throw the ball a little bit."
Twin brother Steve Hopkins scored the Hawks' lone touchdown, a 2-yard rush in the fourth quarter to cut Brockton's lead to 20, before the 2-point conversion.
But the Boxers had the game in hand long before Waltham put the ball in the end zone.
In the second quarter, Askew delivered a touchdown pass to Thellen in the back of the end zone, and senior Bradley Lalanne made it 14-0 with his second of five extra points.
The Boxers added a score before the half for a 21-0 lead.
Thanks to Theisen, Plymouth South rocks
By David Benoit, Globe Correspondent
PLYMOUTH - It might have been senior day in Plymouth, but Plymouth South's Blaine Theisen tried his best to make it sophomore day, leading the Panthers to a 17-7 win over cross-town rival Plymouth North in the 14th Battle of the Rock.
The Blue Eagles (7-4) needed a win to stay alive in the Atlantic Coast League race, but they ran into Theisen, who took 12 carries for 166 yards and two touchdowns. The Panthers running back tied the game with a 20-yard scamper in the second, and then sealed the win, sprinting 80 yards down the sideline in the fourth quarter.
"He's unbelievable - the kid is an athlete," said senior quarterback Derrick Duquette. "I'll say it: He was the MVP of this game."
North had the ball for eight minutes on its first drive, which covered 62 yards in 15 plays and ended with an 11-yard TD run by freshman fullback Matt Walsh. The majority of the work was done by senior Tom Carr, whose shifty running (18 carries, 54 yards) powered the Blue Eagles.
South had only two rushes on its first two drives. After punts by both teams, the Panthers changed their plan.
Duquette hit Mike Creed for 25 yards on the left sideline, putting the team at midfield. Theisen then took a pitch to the right, only a shoestring tackle keeping him from the end zone.
On the next play, there was no tackle. Theisen, who carried six times for 57 yards on the drive, beat the defenders to the corner and dived at the pylon for the 20-yard score.
After a three-and-out by North, South got the ball back at its 46. Duquette, finding himself with plenty of time, hit Kyle Rowe deep for 38 yards, putting the Panthers at the 25 with 17 seconds left. After South moved it to the 14 with two seconds left, coach Scott Fry sent kicker Luke Osberg out for the try. The ball squeaked over the bar for a 31-yard field goal, and South went into halftime up, 10-7.
"That was huge to be up at the break," Fry said, though he joked about Osberg's number (53) and size. "It wasn't the prettiest kick. I always used to swear I would never have a kicker out there with a number in the 50s."
In the second half, North switched to Walsh pounding the ball inside, but got little.
The biggest momentum swing came at the start of the fourth quarter. After a drive stalled for North, quarterback/punter Joe Flynn pinned the Panthers at their 6 with a 57-yard boot. The Blue Eagles forced a three-and-out and got the ball at South's 40 with 6:44 left. Only a minute later, they punted, sending the ball into the end zone for a touchback.
"I thought [the stand] was the biggest point of the game," Fry said. "Our defense played fantastic."
On the next play, Theisen took the ball down his home sideline, barely staying inbounds for an 80-yard touchdown.
Playoff-bound Wayland can't be waylaid
By Sarina Mathai, Globe Correspondent
WAYLAND - In most cases, a 34-8 home victory would be the story for any team. For Wayland, the final score was more of an afterthought.
Because of a three-way tie atop the Dual County League standings, Wayland's playoff hopes hinged on the outcomes of Acton-Boxboro's game with Westford and Lincoln-Sudbury's game with Newton South. Since Wayland was playing a nonconference opponent, all the Warriors could do was wait.
But fate was on Wayland's side. Both A-B and L-S won, but Wayland won the first-half point-differential tiebreaker, ensuring its chance to defend its Division 1A Super Bowl title.
There was a moment of uncertainty when it looked as if Acton-Boxboro would advance as Lincoln-Sudbury trailed Newton South, 12-7. Had L-S lost, the tiebreaker would have been applied to Acton-Boxboro and Wayland - and A-B won that head-to-match.
Wayland coach Scott Parseghian tried to maintain his focus on the game at hand, but it was difficult for him not to be concerned with games played outside his home turf.
"You try to block it all out, but that's what every team plays for - the playoffs," he said. "As much as the rivalry and the border war is right here, the playoffs are your goal since August."
That being said, Parseghian wanted to use the game as an opportunity for his seniors to shine and to enjoy themselves in what could have been their last game. With that in mind, he started with senior Brett Mordas at quarterback in place of the usual starter, sophomore Jeff Brewington.
Wayland showed its prowess in the first quarter, scoring quickly. On Weston's first possession, quarterback Eddie Blum's pass was intercepted and returned 20 yards for a touchdown by Matthew Lombardo.
Another interception by Julian Ponsetto led to another Wayland touchdown. On fourth and 4, Mordas threw a 22-yard strike to Ponsetto, and Brian Harvey's kick gave Wayland a 14-0 lead.
The Wildcats scored their only points on the next drive, which was extended by Wayland penalties. On third and 10, Blum executed a play-action fake to Mikahail Cramer, who hauled in the 22-yard touchdown. The 2-point conversion pass was successful, cutting the margin to 14-8.
But Wayland continued to make plays. The Warriors capped the first half with a 2-yard pass from Mordas to Tyler Fisher and a 1-yard rush by Brian Flynn, giving them a 28-8 lead.
Chelmsford doesn't let up in win over Billerica
By Sapna Pathak, Globe Correspondent
BILLERICA - Every week, Chelmsford coach Bruce Rich and his coaching staff meet to devise a game plan.
But when the opponent is Billerica, things are different.
"There's a lot more emotion, a lot more time that goes into putting together that game plan," said Rich. "We play in a great rivalry that's very important to these players, the towns, and generations of people involved."
Rich's plan paid off this year, as the Lions pulled out a 28-20 victory yesterday in the teams' 79th Turkey Day clash.
The win came 12 days after Chelmsford (10-1, 8-0) clinched the Merrimack Valley Conference championship with a win over Dracut. Chelmsford will play Wayland, the Dual County League representative, Tuesday in the Division 1A playoffs.
Having secured a playoff berth almost two weeks ago didn't stop Rich from fielding Chelmsford's finest for the entire 40 minutes. After all, this was about bragging rights.
"This rivalry has been around so long, it's a reunion every year," said Gil Ynostroza, who quarterbacked last year's Billerica squad. "Both teams could be 0-10 coming into it and they'd still play like it was the Super Bowl.
"It's weird watching as a fan now, but each year is a cool, different story."
This year, it was a Tim Rich story, as the Lions quarterback scored all four Chelmsford touchdowns. Chelmsford's defense did its part, too, picking off Billerica's Timmy Morrison twice in the first half. Morrison felt the pressure again in the third quarter, when linebacker Lewis Bailey intercepted on the first possession.
Billerica found the end zone late in the third period on a 17-yard completion from Morrison to Kenny Mangie. Less than four minutes later, Rich's 4-yard run gave the Lions a 21-6 edge. Chris Smart was a perfect 4 for 4 on extra points.
Andy Thistle added Chelmsford's fourth interception, cutting in front of a throw intended for Kyle Higgins. A 12-yard rush by Rich put Chelmsford ahead, 28-6.
"They drop back a lot, they bring a lot of guys up front," said Morrison. "We knew their defense has been strong all year and they would bring a lot of pressure. Coach told me we were better than that - I know we're better than that - but there's a reason why Chelmsford is the MVC champ."
Walpole shuts down Weymouth
By Monique Walker, Globe Staff
WALPOLE - The offenses for Weymouth and Walpole have attracted most of the attention this season, but yesterday the defenses proved they deserve a little credit, too.
The battle between the Bay State Herget and Carey division champions ended with Walpole celebrating a 14-7 Thanksgiving victory in the 12th meeting between the schools.
Weymouth struggled to get anything going in the first half without junior tailback Royce Terrell, who was out with an injury. Even with the experience of fullback Michael Waithe, a 2006 Globe All-Scholastic, the Wildcats were stumped offensively. They mustered two first downs on four possessions in the half.
The struggles forced Weymouth coach Kevin Mackin to take a chance in the third quarter. The Wildcats were down, 6-0, when they were faced with fourth and 1 from their 34. Weymouth (10-1) went for it, but Walpole's defense formed a wall that bounced Weymouth backward.
"It was a huge momentum shift for us," Walpole lineman Andrew Fellini said. "Our defense is really underrated. I think we really stepped up and showed people what we could do."
When Walpole (10-1) took possession, it needed four plays before sophomore quarterback Sonny Mastromatteo found Billy Hickey for a 17-yard touchdown with 5:25 left. Tailback Ryan Izzo ran in the 2-point conversion to give Walpole a 14-0 lead.
Mastromatteo completed 7 of 11 passes for 130 yards and two touchdowns. His first scoring toss was a 41-yarder to Ryan Collins in the second quarter.
Izzo has been the offensive spark for Walpole this season, leading Division 2 with 28 touchdowns. But when Izzo was limited yesterday, Mastromatteo went to other options, connecting with his brother Niccolo Mastromatteo, Collins, or Hickey.
In the second half, Izzo's production increased, and he ended the game with 156 yards on 32 carries. Izzo was 1 yard shy of a touchdown in the final seconds of the fourth quarter as the game ended with Weymouth stopping Walpole short.
Walpole coach Danny Villa said his team's defensive performance spilled over to the offense.
"It was more important for our defense to hang in their and plug away, because eventually, our running game is going to get going," Villa said.
Motivated Mansfield finds some revenge
By Mike Grimala, Globe Correspondent
FOXBOROUGH - Mansfield came into yesterday's game against rival Foxboro with a 7-0 league record and the Hockomock title already wrapped up.
But instead of looking ahead to Tuesday's matchup with Bishop Feehan in the Division 2 playoffs, the Hornets were focused on the task at hand, and they used a 21-point explosion in the second quarter to prevail, 31-7.
The key to such a decisive victory? Motivation. Mansfield had plenty of it, as the players and coaches still harbor the memory of losing on Thanksgiving last year, then watching as Foxboro went on to win the Super Bowl.
"I think having already clinched a playoff spot, there was this thought that we might not come out here and give 100 percent," said Mansfield captain Michael Abany. "But after the loss last year, this was almost bigger than a playoff game to us. That's what drove us all week in practice, and that's what we showed on the field today."
Foxboro (8-3) didn't make things easy for Mansfield early. After a scoreless first quarter, the Warriors jumped ahead midway through the second when Brian Swanton hit Stephan Neville for a 56-yard touchdown. Neville took a short out on third and 7, slipped a tackle, and outran two defensive backs to give Foxboro a 7-0 lead.
That seemed to serve as a wake-up call. Mansfield had been sloppy to that point, losing three fumbles and picking up just three first downs, but it answered this time.
On the first play, Abany took a handoff up the middle and broke free down the right sideline for a 59-yard touchdown. The floodgates were open.
"It was a simple dive play," Abany said. "We did a good job of getting a body on a body up front, and I was able to bounce it outside."
The Mansfield defense forced a quick punt, and it took just one play for the Hornets to take the lead. This time it was senior Michael Morrill taking an inside counter 67 yards to make it 14-7.
Foxboro's next drive ended when David Westhaver intercepted a pass at the Mansfield 26. A 14-yard pass from Mark Gilson moved Mansfield to the 40, then Gilson hit Powell Simpson for a back-breaking 60-yard touchdown.
Powell ran past his defender, creating so much space that he had time to turn and catch Gilson's slightly underthrown ball before galloping the final 15 yards.
"Last year, we fell behind, 7-0, early, and we didn't answer," said Mansfield coach Michael Redding. "This time we were able to come right back and get the momentum and get our confidence back.
Masconomet is living large
By Matt Porter, Globe Correspondent
TOPSFIELD - Yesterday's game between North Andover and Masconomet would settle the Cape Ann Large, the lone Division 2A race still to be decided.
Thanks to a stifling defense and a quarterback who was nearly perfect, the Chieftains (10-1, 4-1) clinched a playoff date with Northeastern Large champion Gloucester (10-0) Tuesday.
When Chris Splinter was taken out of the game with 6:05 remaining, he had completed 11 of 12 passes for 174 yards, and carried nine times for 66 yards. He enjoyed a 35-7 lead and a loud ovation.
"We had everything working today," said Splinter, a 5-foot-10-inch, 175-pound sophomore. "The O-line did great blocking, the receivers caught everything."
"That was as good a game as we've played," said Masco coach Jim Pugh.
Splinter's only mistake came in the second quarter, when his long pass intended for Evan Bunker was intercepted by Zac Iovanella at the goal line.
However, the Knights (7-4, 3-2) couldn't advance past their 6 as Teddy Reed and Clay Cleveland stuffed Iovanella on consecutive runs.
Then, Splinter and Bunker made up for their mistake - and more.
After a short punt, the Chieftains set up at the 29. On the first play, Bunker passed to Steve Sylvia on a halfback option to make it 7-0.
Bunker intercepted Steve Bourdreau (11 of 18, 136 yards) on third and 5, and three plays later, Splinter raced into the end zone from the 12 behind excellent blocking.
North Andover got to the Masco 21 on its next drive, but there was Splinter again, grabbing a gift interception thrown by Boudreau
Aggressive Westwood overturns Holliston
By Pat Ouellette, Globe Correspondent
HOLLISTON - The road to the Tri-Valley League title was clear for Holliston - beat Westwood yesterday - but the Wolverines became a roadblock for the Panthers and played the role of spoiler by winning, 28-14.
Westwood saved its best football for the fourth quarter as it held Holliston to 41 yards of offense and went almost exclusively to Matt White (105 yards rushing) to wear down the Panther defensive line.
The back-and-forth contest turned late in the third quarter when Holliston (9-2, 7-2) was looking to break a 14-14 tie but the Westwood defensive line forced the most important turnover of the day.
Matt Shanahan blasted the ball out of running back Matthew Bellomo's hands and Ryan Bowler recovered on the Panthers' 24. Westwood (7-3, 6-3) ended up missing a field goal but got great field position on its subsequent drive when Sean Grandfield returned a punt to the 33. White gave Westwood a 20-14 lead five plays later with an 8-yard touchdown run.
Wolverines quarterback Connor Walsh didn't go to the air very often but made it count when he did. Walsh completed a 34-yard pass to Grandfield in the second quarter before running 1 yard to give Westwood a 7-0 lead.
Walsh went deep again to Grandfield on Westwood's first play of the second half, picking up 39 yards to set up his 1-yard scoring plunge. The senior quarterback sealed the win with his third rushing touchdown, from 7 yards with 2:39 remaining.
"Connor really knows the beat of this team and when to throw the ball," said Westwood coach Paul Hallion said. "He played well today."
Amesbury enjoys a surprise berth day
By Dan Hickling, Globe Correspondent
NEWBURYPORT - You wouldn't have counted on Amesbury making a playoff appearance.
Not two months ago, after the Indians stumbled to an 0-3 start in nonleague encounters.
And not before yesterday, as they prepared for their annual Thanksgiving clash with Cape Ann League foe Newburyport, a team they had to beat, on the road no less, to slip into the postseason.
Now you can count on this. Amesbury (5-5) is indeed playoff-bound after a rousing 17-12 triumph over the Clippers before an estimated 3,000 at World War Memorial Stadium.
"It's the greatest feeling in the world," said Amesbury's Stephen Serwon. "We worked so hard. We just wanted to prove everybody wrong. And we did it."
Indeed they did, behind a stern defensive effort that forced five turnovers, including a pair of critical interceptions by Jared Flannigan.
The first of those led to a Jameson Wheeler field goal. The other, which came with 39 seconds remaining, cemented the upset.
"We weren't losing that game," said Flannigan. "We came too far. Practiced too hard. We were not losing that game."
Amesbury started ball-hawking early, using Serwon's 59-yard runback of an Ashlyn Calcagni fumble to take a 7-0 lead just 3:26 into the contest.
Calcagni lost his grip on the slippery football, and Serwon picked it up on one hop and outran the Clippers to the end zone.
Serwon gave the Indians a jolt of electricity and a lead they never relinquished.
Newburyport answered on its next possession, a 12-play, 46-yard march that culminated with a 5-yard scoring toss from Calcagni to Derek Freeman.
The Indians promptly responded. On the first play of the second quarter, Flannigan found wideout Jesse Burrell with a 26-yard scoring strike, making it 14-6.
"[Flannigan] is a big-game kid," said Amesbury coach Thom Connors. "You can look at any sport he plays. He's just a great athlete. He had a great game for us, on both sides of the ball."
Latin's first conquest comes at last
By Dwayne Dahlbeck, Globe Correspondent
As if coach John McDonough and the winless Boston Latin Wolfpack needed a reminder about what a disappointing season this has been, a fan on the Latin sideline chose to take the quiet moments before the coin flip to voice his displeasure with the job the coaching staff has done.
That fan was nowhere to be found after Latin (1-10) finished off an impressive 33-6 win over Boston English yesterday at Harvard Stadium in the 121st meeting of the nation's oldest continuous Thanksgiving rivalry.
Latin took a 19-0 lead into halftime thanks to scoring runs by Adrian Walker and Pat Cronin, who also added a 45-yard touchdown grab on a second-and-22 play that summarized the day for the Wolfpack: a lot of penalties and a lot more offense.
"The offense has been a problem all year," said McDonough. "We have a bad tendency to go backward."
English (3-8) came out strong in the second half, scoring on an eight-play, 61-yard drive capped by a 6-yard dash by Lamar Hartgrove.
Latin responded with a drive that covered 65 yards and ate up 7:35. The drive proved fruitful when Walker added the second of his three TD runs.
The Latin rushing attack was led by Walker, Cronin, and Greg Morris, but the real stars of the game may have been the offensive linemen, led by Dual County League all-star Dan Duggan.
"The O-line did a good job today," said Walker. "It was real easy to get into the end zone."
Duggan, whom McDonough described as "consistent all year," pointed to the instability on the line as a probable reason for the season-long offensive struggles.
"All year we've had trouble," he said. "We haven't really had the same five guys on the line at all, but this week we took it personal."
Manchester Essex up to the task
By Jared Pendak, Globe Correspondent
GEORGETOWN - Holiday plans can be tentative at best. In yesterday's showdown for the Commonwealth Small Conference title between Manchester Essex and Georgetown, a competitive game was anticipated, but it never showed up as the Hornets rolled, 27-7.
"We expected a close, high-scoring game," said Manchester Essex coach Mike Athanas, whose team is headed to the Division 4 playoffs for the second straight year and will face Boston City South League champ Brighton Tuesday. "We played well enough to prevent that on both sides of the ball."
Pat Orlando had a lot to do with that, throwing for 118 yards, running for 69 more, and intercepting Georgetown's touted quarterback, Joe Esposito, in the fourth quarter with the Hornets already leading by two scores. Sophomore tailback Brian Ciccone (104 yards) contributed three rushing touchdowns, including a 75-yard score, and had an interception as well.
"We were ready to play all four quarters against these guys, ever since we finished our last game almost two weeks ago," said Orlando. "I knew we were ready, but I thought it was going to be closer."
Orlando completed three passes of more than 20 yards, and all three helped set up touchdowns as the Hornets (9-2, 4-1) racked up 349 yards of offense. Georgetown's offense was limited to 159 total yards as Manchester Essex put the clamps on a mostly spread offense.
Esposito, who led the team in rushing this season, called his own number 18 times and gained 80 yards on the ground, and connected on 5 of 12 pass attempts for 72 yards but had three interceptions (two in the fourth quarter).
"They put seven in the box to stop our inside game," said Georgetown coach Matt Bouchard. "When we did get to the outside, we didn't make any big plays."
Leominster bags win with late sack
By John McGuirk, Globe Correspondent
FITCHBURG - With everything Fitchburg has accomplished this season, few expected it to let up now. But after spotting rival Leominster a 14-point halftime lead yesterday, Fitchburg found itself in the rare position of playing catch-up.
The Red Raiders showed tremendous heart and character as they rallied to close within a point, but in the end, Leominster was able to hold on for a 14-13 decision.
The Red Raiders, after a 5-yard touchdown pass from Jeremy Kimber to Josh Less in the final minute, went for the win instead of the tie, but Kimber was sacked, clinching Leominster's win in the 123d meeting of the schools before 5,000-plus at Crocker Field.
The victory gives Leominster the Division 1 North crown and a date with either Holy Name or Nashoba in Tuesday's Division 1 playoff at Oakmont Regional in Ashburnham at 7 p.m. Had the Blue Devils (8-3, 2-1 in divisional play) lost, they would've been eliminated from postseason competition. Fitchburg (9-2, 2-1) had already secured a playoff spot and will take on Shrewsbury Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Division 1A tilt in Worcester.
It was Leominster's fourth straight win in the series. Fitchburg still holds the series lead, 58-56-9.
The Red Raiders are enjoying their best season since 2003 and were playing at home. However, a split-back counter trey Leominster added to its playbook baffled the Fitchburg defense in the opening half.
An 89-yard drive in 16 plays culminated with quarterback Justin Kittredge blasting over the goal line from 1 yard, and Leominster had a 6-0 lead after the PAT failed.
The drive was a blueprint of what the Blue Devils had in mind: Their goal was to eat up as much clock as possible and keep the Red Raider offense off the field. The first drive chewed up 8:34.
"We told our kids if we can get the ball and run off five or six minutes, and even if we don't score, we've shortened the game," said Leominster coach John Dubzinski.
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Then there are our fall correspondents:
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- Eric Russo | @erusso22 | Div. 2 football
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- Greg Joyce | @GJoyce9 | Div. 5 football
- Lorenzo Recupero | @LorenzoRecupero | Div. 6 football
- Liz Torres | @etorres446 | Girls volleyball
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