|Lincoln-Sudbury Regional defensive end Daway Tyler puts pressure on Somerville’s quarterback in last week’s game. (Jay Connor for The Boston Globe)|
Defense fuels team’s 3-0 start
Turnovers lead to touchdowns
SOMERVILLE - Brian Carroll felt his eyes open wide as he watched a tipped pass wobble through the Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High team’s defensive secondary.
When the ball fell into his hands, Carroll screamed “Jake!’’ - a call the Warriors make to inform teammates they’ve made an interception - and quickly switched to an offensive mindset.
Easy enough - Carroll is also the Warriors’ starting running back. With the ball tucked under his arm, he galloped up field, following his blockers 40 yards into the end zone, padding Lincoln-Sudbury’s lead over Somerville High last Friday to 20-6 before halftime.
“Every single time we get a turnover,’’ Carroll said afterward, “we’re trying to score.’’
Carroll duplicated his feat in the fourth quarter, returning his second interception of the game - and his third of the season - untouched 23 yards for a touchdown in the 27-13 nonleague win.
The Warriors have started 3-0 behind the stellar play of their defense, which has consistently delivered big plays when needed. Lincoln-Sudbury has been particularly adept at baiting opposing quarterbacks into throwing interceptions.
In the season-opener against Tewksbury, Carroll intercepted a pass in the end zone to preserve a 28-0 shutout. Also in that contest, Malik Layne started the Warriors’ streak of three straight games with interception returns for touchdowns. Linebacker Will Twyman returned a pick against Malden Catholic in a 16-0 win, and Carroll continued the trend last weekend with two.
Coach Tom Lopez said the “pick-six’’ (interceptions returned for six points) streak is surprising, but the attitude his defense has shown is not.
“We expect our defense to play with intensity,’’ Lopez said. “They were a relatively young defense last year, and now they’re all a year older. That’s the biggest thing. They know what they’re doing.’’
And they’re doing it at a dominant level.
The Warriors hadn’t allowed a point until Somerville scored in the second quarter. But the Warriors also intercepted four passes.
“I think our goal was to get three shutouts,’’ said Twyman, a senior linebacker. “But at the same time, any time you can come out here, hold them to 16 points and get the win, that’s an accomplishment for the defense.’’
Tomorrow, Lincoln-Sudbury faces Framingham High, which is led by quarterback Greg Finley. The schools scheduled a home-and-home set of games for this season and next season, and though the teams don’t usually square off, they know each other well.
“They run a lot of no-huddle,’’ Lopez said of Framingham (1-2). “They’ll present a lot of problems. Their quarterback is very good. He gets rid of the ball very quickly. We’re going to have our hands full on Friday night.’’
The feeling is mutual. “They’re fast, they’re tough, they’re strong,” Finley said about Lincoln-Sudbury. “They like to play with two high safeties . . . They’re going to cover every spot on the field, so it’s a difficult defense to pass against.’’
Finley recalled facing Carroll in a summer league basketball game, and knows he’ll be hawked by a well-rounded athlete tomorrow night.
Carroll has only improved since starting last season as a sophomore.
Carroll “is just a great athlete,’’ said Lopez. “He has great field awareness, great speed. And when he gets the ball on defense, he makes some great runs.’’
The Warriors are gearing up for Framingham’s spread attack with Finley at the trigger.
“We’ll mix up our coverages and try to confuse them,’’ Carroll said. “And if our defense does what it did against Somerville, hopefully it can help us win the game again.’’
Severin commits to play for Virginia
Worcester Academy receiver Canaan Severin verbally committed to the University of Virginia last week. The Marlborough resident received offers from 18 Division 1 programs, but he ended up choosing UVA over Boston College.
“He wanted to get a great education,’’ said Worcester Academy coach David Dykeman. “That’s what brought it down to UVA and BC. I think his relationship with the whole staff is what put UVA over the top. There was a nice dynamic there with Mike London,’’ Virginia’s head coach.
Severin has come a long way on the football field since arriving at Worcester three years ago as primarily a basketball player. But at 6-foot-3, 205 pounds and possessing great hands, Severin is a natural at receiver. He also plays safety and outside linebacker.
“He’s really a late developer in terms of learning the position and learning the intricacies of it,’’ said Dykeman. “That’s been the neat thing . . . watching his progress over three years, and I think he’s still only touching the surface of his ability. He’s just got so much upside.’’
Severin and his teammates will play in Worcester Academy’s first-ever night game against Northfield Mount Hermon tomorrow at 6 p.m.
Odds and ends
Ashland started the year 2-0 under first-year coach Andrew MacKay before falling to Medfield, 45-6 . . . King Philip Regional running back Charles Ruffin ran for two more touchdowns last week in his team’s 34-0 win over Sharon to give him eight on the season . . . Millis-Hopedale senior Jim Perkins has 365 yards rushing and five rushing touchdowns over the last two weeks, helping his team beat Carver (27-6) and Norton (28-0).