Special Feature: Homepage Story

Central holds off Lawrence

LAWRENCE — Though the offense wasn’t its usual self, Central Catholic survived a tough Thanksgiving showdown with crosstown rival Lawrence to win 21-6 thanks to a pair of timely interceptions.
It was the first Thanksgiving matchup between the two schools.
Central was led on offense by sophomore quarterback Bret Edwards, who went 11 for 20 with 144 yards passing and two touchdowns, but the star of the game was Lawrence senior receiver Eddie Cabrera, who played the game of his life.
Cabrera made six catches for 121 yards, including a 50-yard touchdown in the third quarter, and also grabbed an interception. Several of his catches also came in key third- and fourth-down situations, and it seemed like every time his number was called, Cabrera delivered.
“He stepped up big time,” said Lawrence coach Mike Yameen. “I thought it was his best game of the year, with all of our starters out he came through and stepped up in a big way.”
Cabrera’s first catch came on Lawrence’s first possession of the game, grabbing a 33-yard pass from quarterback Ismael Jenkins on third down to move Lawrence right down to the Central goal line.
But two plays later, Jenkins was intercepted in the end zone by Central senior Greg Marggraf, who jumped a slant route in a play reminiscent of Malcolm Butler in the Super Bowl.
Marggraf returned the pick all the way to midfield. From there, Central only needed six plays to complete the seven-point swing, with Edwards capping off the drive with a 32-yard touchdown to Steven Jackson to make it 7-0.
“That was a big play,” said Central coach Chuck Adamopoulos said of the interception. “That would have given them a lot of emotion if they’d started off with a touchdown right there.”
Central (10-1) got another touchdown late in the second quarter on a 19-yard pass by Edwards to senior Omar Deschamps to make it 14-0 at halftime.
Then, after receiving the opening kickoff of the third quarter, Central scored again after Deschamps capped off a 10-play drive with a 3-yard touchdown to make it 21-0.
Lawrence caught a big break on its next drive after Central was called for pass interference on a 4th and 4 play. Looking to take advantage, Jenkins hit Cabrera for a 30-yard completion, only a penalty nullified the big gain and moved Lawrence back to midfield.
No matter. On the very next play, Jenkins went right back to Cabrera, only this time for a 50-yard touchdown. Central blocked the ensuing kick, keeping it at 21-6 with 5:02 to play in the third.
Lawrence (3-8) had a chance to pull within one score early in the fourth, driving all the way to Central’s 28 on a drive that featured two big catches by Cabrera, one on 4th and 7 and the other on 3rd and 15. But once again, Lawrence couldn’t punch it in, as Central senior defensive back Mike Mercuri came up with an interception.
From that point on, all Central needed to do was run the clock out, and though their first attempt ended in a quick three and out, Lawrence couldn’t move the ball on it’s last possession, allowing Central to hold on for the win.
It was the Raiders’ 18th straight win over LHS, which hasn’t beaten Central since 1985.
“When you play good teams like this, you can’t make mistakes, you’ve got to take care of the ball,” said Lawrence coach Mike Yameen. “You can’t turn the ball over against a team like this, they’re too good.”
Central started the game shorthanded, losing three starters to suspension, which will also keep them out of next Saturday’s Division 1 state championship game vs. unbeaten Xaverian at Gillette Stadium.
Central suffered another loss in the second quarter after promising sophomore tailback Max Faro suffered what appeared to be an upper body injury. Faro had to be taken off on a stretcher, but he was able to stand on his own power before sitting down and being carried off.
Adamopoulos didn’t have any details on Faro’s injury after the game, but said it appeared serious enough that he’ll likely miss the title game.

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Football, 11/26/15 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Haverhill, Lowell

HAVERHILL — On a morning in which J.C. Laguerre ground up 247 yards, piling up 1,164 for his junior season, that final yard loomed largest.
Facing a 3rd-and-1 from the Haverhill High 21 with just over a minute to play,
Laguerre plowed off right tackle for his 40th and final carry on the day, lowering the boom and picking up the first down …
By four inches.
That was enough to kill the remaining clock and reward the Hillies with a hard-fought 35-28 Turkey Day win here at Trinity Stadium before about 700 fans.
“There wasn’t much room, but I knew we needed it,” said Laguerre, who took over as the lead back in Week 8 when Pedro Santiago went down with an injury. “I just dipped my shoulder and drove through.”
With the win, Haverhill put last year’s Thanksgiving disappointment, an 8-6 loss to the Red Raiders, to rest and it locked up the fourth straight winning season for the Hillies at 6-5.
The last time the Hillies had at least four straight winning seasons was 1971-75 (five straight).
Laguerre, the busiest of the Hillies’ heroes on this day with 40 carries, scored on TD runs of 2, 7 and 13 yards for Haverhill, which ate clock all day long, chewing up 375 yards on 62 carries.
“There’s a reason we gave him the football all three times on that last possession. He’s our horse,” said Haverhill coach Tim O’Connor. “He showed his toughness there. What a huge yard that was. He’s really grown up this year, emotionally, physically, just in every way possible.”
Still, with Laguerre’s monster effort, the Hillies had to have more.
Trailing by a TD late, the visitors moved to the Haverhill 9 for a first-and-goal.
QB Matt Smith, who had three more TD passes yesterday to finish with 23 on the season, threw a pair of incompletions.
And on third down, Hillie junior defensive tackle Josh Gendron swatted his pass away at the line.
Facing 4th-and-goal, Lowell (3-7) was sure to go to its top weapon, slot receiver Keith Lynch (3 catches, 108 yards).
Hillie corner Aaron Brooks knew it, too.
“He hurt us all day, and they had to look to him,” said Brooks. “I just followed him on the wheel (route) and made a play.”
That play, very similar to Brooks’ game-saving pick in the playoffs against Reading in the 2014 playoffs, denied Lowell for the last time.
“This one is big, just because it let’s the seniors go out winners on our own field,” said Brooks, one of a slew of talented juniors who carried the Hillies as injuries mounted.
Gendron was another, and if yesterday’s effort is a harbinger of things to come, folks had better prep for No. 67 in the 2016 season.
What didn’t Gendron do yesterday?
He excelled on the offensive line — along with classmates Ryan Panici and Kirk Murray who’ll return next year, plus seniors Nehemiah Jerez and Brandon Ray — that decimated Lowell up front.
Defensively, he came up with six solo tackles, that late swat, a sack, and a forced fumble/recovery in the third quarter.
That play in the third, when he basically snatched a draw handoff right out of Smith’s hands before the running back got there, allowed the Hillies to build a 14-point lead. It was just huge.
“We had been scouting that play all week. I just read it and got there a little too early for them,” said Gendron.
Senior Luc Chretien, battered around with a charley horse and a pair of bloodied elbows, ended his career in style, anchoring the defense with Jason Tufts at linebacker and carrying seven times for 50 yards and a TD.
Junior Jacob Dion had 8 rushes for 62 yards, including his 35-yard score.
“All year long this is the way it has been with younger kids stepping up for us,” said O’Connor. “And now we get to look forward to having everyone back. We finished this year with nine underclassmen on offense and nine underclassmen on the defense."

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Football, 11/26/15 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Manchester Essex too much for Royals

GEORGETOWN— Heavily favored Manchester Essex proved its dominance from the outset in a 39-8 win over Georgetown. Senior Chris Carr ran for 182 yards and three touchdowns to give him a season total of 1,016 yards. "Well, that's how you want to end it, right?" M-E head coach Jeff Hutton said. "We talked all week about playing our first full game of 44 minutes. To go as hard as we can go, give it our best and we did that today." The Hornets (6-4) struck first after recovering a fumble on the Royals 17. Carr ran it in on the first play of the drive. Later in the first frame Carr took it to the house on a 52-yard run to extend the lead to 13-0.   Manchester Essex used a little trickery to extend the lead early in the second quarter. Quarterback Charlie Otterbein threw a backwards pass to split end Jake Rich, who hit Evan Pennoyer for a perfectly executed 38-yard touchdown pass. Carr would add a third touchdown, this one from 11-yards out, to take the Hornets into the half with a 25-0 lead. The Hornets added two more scores in the third quarter, a two yard run by Jack Hennigan, and a Robbie Sarmanian eight yard pass from Cosmo Pallazola, before Jimmy Sherman got the Royals (1-10) on the board with a 13-yard touchdown catch from Nick Calvani in the fourth. "Obviously it wasn't the result we were looking for but it shows us where we are at," Georgetown  head coach Eric McCarthy said. "We need to get bigger and stronger for next year and work hard to get better. We have a lot of kids coming back so we're excited about that."

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Football, 11/26/15 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Methuen seniors go out on top

DRACUT — In the 53rd annual Thanksgiving meeting between the Methuen Rangers and the Dracut Middies, the seniors of Methuen scored all six touchdowns to lift the Rangers to a 42-6 victory. Methuen finished the season with a 5-6 record. “We really wanted to honor the seniors and play as hard as we could,” said Methuen head coach Tom Ryan. “We didn’t want to go out with our last game being a loss.” As they have all season, Brian McAndrew and Kendrick Denose led the Methuen assault. Denose had a fantastic day leading his team from the shot-gun; going 9 of 11 for 205 yards and three touchdowns while gaining 65 yards on the ground with another score. McAndrew carried the ball 23 times for 148 yards, and reached the end zone twice. Denose started the scoring with an 18-yard run on the first drive of the game. On the Rangers’ next possession, Denose hit his twin brother Kevin for a 63-yard touchdown bomb. Up 21-0, McAndrew dove for the pylon for a 9-yard run that gave Methuen a 28-0 halftime lead. Methuen scored on all four of its first-half possessions and held winless Dracut to just 63 total yards of offense in the half. “We practiced hard all week,” said Ryan. “I thought we played well on all three phases of the game. Our seniors represented the city of Methuen very well today and I’m proud of them.” Peter Kwakye capped off the day for Methuen with a 60-yard touchdown run to put the Rangers up 42-0. Dracut got on the board on the last play off the game when Cam McCullough found Nik Carter in the back of the end zone on fourth down. Methuen has won the past five Thanksgiving matchups to put the all-time series at 26-24-3 in favor of Dracut. Double Trouble Seniors Kendrick Denose and Brian McAndrew were one of the most potent rushing tandems in area history. Denose rushed for 1,250 yards this fall and McAndrew 1,193.

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Football, 11/26/15 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Hornets fall to Lynnfield in finale

NORTH READING — It didn’t end on a high note, but that can’t diminish North Reading’s season. Yesterday’s 28-10 loss to Thanksgiving rival Lynnfield dropped North Reading to 8-3 for the year. “This was a great season,” said coach Jeff Wall, whose club beat Ipswich in the Division 4 North playoffs before being ousted in the North semis by Watertown. “After losing to Watertown, we asked them to reflect on it and asked them if they were going to continue and play and they have.”  Yesterday began like much of the season — with North Reading hanging tough against a much larger opponent.  The Hornets spotted Lynnfield a long opening-game drive that netted an 8-0 lead, but responded with a 16-play drive of their own. The possession included a pair of third-down conversions and one on fourth down. It took 9:52 off the clock before wrapping up on a 3-yard run by Kyle Bythrow.  “It was the seniors’ last game and they wanted to look back on it and know we left everything we had on the field,” junior running back Matt McCarthy said. “I definitely think we did that. This is the hardest I’ve ever worked with a team. It started in the summer, and it lasted the entire season. There wasn’t a single person who didn’t want (success), and I think our record reflects on that.”  North Reading grabbed a 10-8 lead moments after its touchdown on Angelo Disanto’s third field goal of the year, a 32-yarder. It was set up by Brian Cotter’s fumble recovery at the Pioneer 14.  But Lynnfield (8-3) used its size advantage — lines that included three players at least 6-foot-1 and each weighing closer to 300 than 200 — to wear down the Hornets after intermission. The Pioneers scored the game’s final 20 points, including 14 in the decisive third quarter, to seal the victory.  “The seniors (who have gone 19-14 the past three years) played a huge role in establishing this program,” said coach Wall.  McCarthy was held in check with 20 carries for 59 yards. He still finished the season with area highs in touchdowns (22, tied for first) and rushing yards (1,546). He’ll be back as will sophomore quarterback Bythrow and four of their five offensive linemen. “We’re bringing a lot of kids back,” Wall said. “We’re very excited for next year. I believe we’re bringing back eight on defense and the same on offense, so the future looks bright.”

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Football, 11/26/15 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Windham loses in title game

DURHAM, N.H. – The Windham defense was nothing short of brilliant.

Facing a St. Thomas offense that averaged a stunning 42.3 points per game, the Jaguars were simply dominant.

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Football, 11/22/15 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

VIDEO: Andover volleyball's Eduardo Machado

Eduardo Machado is a standout for the Andover volleyball team — he leads the team in assists and kills — and is also a star in the classroom. He is ranked in the top 10 percent of his class, scored a 2,170 on his SATs and will be attending RPI.

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VIDEO: Highlights of 2012 high school hockey season

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VIDEO: Pentucket wins Division 3 state title

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