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CENTRAL/WESTERN MASS. ROUNDUP

Longmeadow streak is at 37

Email|Print| Text size + By John McGuirk
Globe Correspondent / December 2, 2007

Ho hum. Another Super Bowl championship.

Winning is becoming old hat for the Longmeadow Lancers.

Longmeadow claimed its eighth postseason title in 11 years with its 21-0 victory over Leominster in the Division 1 Central/Western Mass. Super Bowl yesterday on a bitterly cold day at Westfield State College.

Longmeadow (13-0) has won 37 consecutive games and shows no signs of slowing down.

"Every year it's the same because you wonder if it's ever going to get old," said coach Alex Rotsko. "But it doesn't."

Yesterday's meeting marked the third straight championship matchup between these schools. Longmeadow dominated, 42-0, last year, and narrowly escaped, 21-20, in 2005.

"That is a very good team," said Leominster coach John Dubzinski, whose team finished 9-4. "They've won 37 in a row and there is a reason for that."

Longmeadow, known for its offense this season, made its mark defensively yesterday. The Lancers didn't allow the Blue Devils to venture into the red zone the entire game. Leominster's leading rusher, Alex Medina, had 72 yards on 18 carries.

"I thought the kids did a great job execution-wise," Rotsko said. "I really thought we did a good job defensively on them."

Playing inconsistently on offense, the Lancers took a 7-0 first-quarter lead on an Alex Scyocurka 1-yard dive over the middle. Needing just three plays after a turnover, Longmeadow junior Niko Sierra busted up the middle for a 34-yard score minutes before the half to send the Lancers into the break on top, 13-0.

Both defenses stood firm in the third quarter but that changed early in the final quarter.

Behind Scyocurka and Sierra, Longmeadow pounded the ball on the ground. Situated on the Blue Devil 23, Scyocurka, also a junior, finished off a 7-play, 68-yard drive with a 23-yard run to put the game on ice.

Sierra led the Lancers with 148 yards on 16 carries, and Scyocurka had 100 on 17 attempts.

"We were a little bit sloppy on offense," Rotsko said. "But it helps when your defense is playing well."

Northbridge 17, Wahconah 15 - A pair of halfback options from Jemal Clarke led Northbridge in the Division 2A Super Bowl at Westfield State.

The Rams (12-1) built a 14-0 lead before the Warriors stormed back.

A 69-yard touchdown hookup between quarterback Julian Schnopp and receiver Kevin Harnett, followed by Trevor Marcott's conversion run, cut the deficit to 14-8. Northbridge answered with a 27-yard field goal by Tyler Bennett just before the half.

Wahconah (9-2) got within 17-15 on Marcott's 3-yard scamper in the third quarter, but with two minutes to go, the Warriors failed to convert on fourth and 8 from their 28-yard line.

Blackstone Valley Tech 37, Dean Tech 8 - Playing in its first Super Bowl, Blackstone Valley Tech dominated in the Division 3A title game at Westfield State.

The Beavers (12-1) had 203 of their 249 total yards in the opening half and took a 29-0 lead into the half.

Senior running backs Dan Allard and Bobby Pizzarelli rushed for 124 and 107 yards, respectively, and combined for four touchdowns. Dean Tech finished 9-4.

"The kids played well," said Blackstone Valley Tech coach Rene Hanson, who is retiring after starting the program in 1999. "They were flying off the ball. I thought we dominated the game consistently."

Shrewsbury 21, Westfield 17 - Shrewsbury scored two touchdowns in 2 minutes 30 seconds - sparked by a game-changing recovery of a short kickoff - en route to the Division 1A title at Worcester State College.

"We knew that if this game was going to come down to the end we'd pull through because our team usually comes through in the second half," Colonials linebacker Shawn Loiseau said. "We're a second-half team, and we've been like that this whole year."

It appeared Westfield was going to ruin Shrewsbury's perfect season - the first 13-0 mark in Central Mass. history - as the Bombers capitalized on a interception by Robert Larose and turned it into a 17-8 lead after bruising fullback Ryan Veillette (21 carries for 107 yards, 2 TDs) rumbled 31 yards for a touchdown.

But the Colonials put together their best drive of the game - a 15-play march that senior Alex Alvarez (14 carries for 51 yards, TD) capped with a 3-yard run. Paul Tizzano's PAT cut the deficit to 17-15 with 3:36 left.

The key play came on fourth down at the 29. Jawad Yatim connected with Keith Kittleson for 15 yards and a first down.

"We've got such a tight bond. We knew that we could count on each other to make plays, like we have all season," said Yatim, who was 7 for 17 for 172 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions. "When I hit Keith on fourth down - he's been my best friend since second grade - I knew I could count on him."

Shrewsbury elected to pooch kick and Tizzano's kick bounced high and into the arms of teammate Anthony Wright at the Westfield 34.

From the 34, Alvarez bolted 15 yards around the left side to the 19. Five plays later, on third and goal, Yatim's 1-yard TD keeper gave Shrewsbury a 21-17 lead with 1:06 left.

Shepherd Hill 34, East Longmeadow 21 - Shepherd Hill captured its first Super Bowl title with a come-from-behind victory in the Division 2 championship at Worcester State.

The Rams had lost their previous Super Bowl appearances - in 1987 and 2001 - by 3 points.

Dan Halley led the way for Shepherd Hill (12-1), scoring a pair of touchdowns and while gaining 138 yards on 15 carries.

Backfield mates Brian Szlyzk (8 carries, 117 yards), Nick Bolio (8 carries, 85 yards), and Eric Brigham scored as Shepherd Hill rolled up more than 350 yards of offense, all on the ground.

Putnam Voke 19, Lunenburg 7 - Putnam Voke of Springfield defeated the Blue Knights in the Division 3 Super Bowl at Worcester State.

"This is absolutely special," said Putnam Voke coach Louis Malvezzi, the only person wearing shorts in yesterday's windy and cold weather.

"We had to work for this and the hard work paid off. Our speed helped us a lot and the kids played great defense. I was very impressed with Lunenburg. They have a lot of good athletes."

Putnam Voke (11-1) scored in the final seconds of the first half to take a 7-0 lead. The Beavers led, 13-7, entering the final quarter after quickly answering Lunenburg's only touchdown, a 29-yard run by junior halfback Mike Rash.

Putnam Voke's Jose Melendez and Justin Reid delivered a 1-2 punch. Melendez rushed for just under 100 yards and Reid for 65. Reid also caught a 23-yard TD.

Chad Garner, Kevin O'Malley, and Jay Gearan of the Worcester Telegram contributed.

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