Lowell is known for its prolific offense. But in Thursday’s matchup against rival Haverhill, it was the defense that stepped up.
The host Red Raiders tallied three interceptions, held Hillies quarterback Tommy Morgan to 13-of-34 passing, and held Division 2’s leading scorer Chance Brady to 117 yards rushing and a touchdown, beating Haverhill, 36-23, at Cawley Stadium.
The Red Raiders (9-2, 3-1) earned a share of the Merrimack Valley Conference Division 1 title. Lowell will not make the playoffs because of a tiebreaker, despite beating MVC Division 1 representative Andover.
“We stacked the box [against Brady], putting six inside,” said Lowell coach John Florence. “We wanted to key on [Brady] and take him away. If they beat us another way then I would have tipped my hat to them.”
Said Haverhill coach Tim O’Connor: “[Lowell] was very physical up front on both sides of the ball. That is where the game was lost for us.”
While the defense was frustrating the Hillies’ offense, Lowell’s offense methodically picked apart Haverhill’s defense.
Quarterback Cam Latta was hampered by an injury that limited his dual-threat nature, but that didn’t stop him from throwing three touchdown passes.
“[Latta] is a gamer,” said Florence. “He is a really tough kid and is able to keep things calm on the field and is a good presence on field.”
With Latta unable to maintain his normal workload running the ball, Shy Cullen and Ngaiiva Mason picked up the slack. Both backs rushed for a touchdown, with Cullen totaling 82 yards on the ground and Mason adding 80.
Haverhill (8-3, 4-1) got on the board first late in the opening quarter on a 30-yard field goal by Patrick Yale.
On Lowell’s possession after the field goal, Latta was intercepted on fourth down at the Haverhill 1-yard line. But on the next play, Lowell got pressure on Morgan, forcing an intentional grounding penalty in the end zone, resulting in a safety.
Lowell scored touchdowns on its next three possessions, with Latta tossing touchdowns to Ricky Rosado and Alex Kasirye and Cullen running one in with under a minute remaining in the half, pushing the Red Raiders’ lead to 23-9.
Lowell and Haverhill traded touchdowns to start the second half. The Hillies scored on a 9-yard strike from Morgan to Jordan Javier. The Red Raiders countered with a 2-yard touchdown dive from Mason.
Newton North 21, Brookline 0 — The Tigers (5-6) forced six interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns.
New Bedford 36, Durfee 14 — Quarterback Mike Rapoza rushed for a touchdown, threw for a touchdown, and kicked a 37-yard field goal to lead the Whalers (5-5).
Merrimack Valley (Division 1)
Chelmsford 43, Billerica 27 — Jack Campsmith threw for 236 yards and two touchdowns. Running back Jeff d'Auria also produced for the Lions (6-5) with three rushing TDs.
BC High 20, Catholic Memorial 14 — Senior fullback Luke Catarius ran for a pair of touchdowns to lead the Eagles (4-6).
Waltham 40, Malden Catholic 13 — Jacob Duffrene and Junior Cherry combined for 246 all-purpose yards and five touchdowns — including two interception returns — for the Hawks (7-3).