(Newburyport) The Hamilton-Wenham Generals (3-0) continued undefeated with an 18-6 win over the Newburyport Clippers (2-1) on Friday under the lights and a persistent mist.
The final score is misleading because Newburyport showed right from the start that they could make yards against Hamilton-Wenham. In fact, the Clippers scored on their first series (Jimmy Conway 12 yard pass from Connor Wile). After that, despite good field position most of the time, the end zone eluded the home team. Contributing to the lack of scoring were; mishandled snaps, penalties, and failure to convert 4th down opportunities.
On the other hand, HW was much more consistent on offense and much more diverse. They scored one touchdown (Trevor Lyons) on the outside, another on the inside (Elliott Burr), and a third in the air (Pete Duval).
The two biggest plays, in my opinion, happened in the fourth quarter.
In the first one, the Generals (ahead 12-6) were forced to punt from their side of the field with five minutes left in the game. Certainly the wet condition were a factor as the snap was high to HW punter Shane Jenkins. The 6’2” senior leaped to make a one-handed snag and came down to get off a good punt. If that snap had gone over his head, or been fumbled, the Clippers would have been set up very deep in HW territory with a chance to move in for at least a tie.
The second big play was a defensive stop by HW. Clinging to a 12-6 lead with 3 ½ minutes left, HW defended the Clippers into a 4th-and-8. On the next play, QB Connor Wile wanted to pass but ended up scrambling up the middle because of HW pressure. A measurement showed that he ended up inches from a drive-continuing first down.
The Generals followed that 4th down stop with a march that ended in the Clipper end zone as QB Trevor Lyons completed a 23-yard pass to Pete Duval with 1:49 left to seal the win (18-6) for HW.
The Clippers’ lone TD covered 12 yards as Jimmy Conway made a leaping catch near the middle of the end zone at 3:59 of the first quarter. Brandon Trego’s extra point attempt was blocked.
Elliott Burr (112 yards – 1 TD) converted a 4th-and-2 to keep an early second quarter HW drive going. Quarterback Trevor Lyons finished the drive with a clean 5-yard sweep right after faking a handoff to Elliott Burr. Matt Putur’s rush for extra points failed.
Tied 6-6, the Generals struck again in the second quarter. Consecutive carries on the inside by Elliott Burr ended when he crossed the goal line on a 2-yard carry with 4:19 left. Another failed rush followed for extra points but HW still led, 12-6.
The visitors would build on that lead late in the 4th quarter. The Pete Duval catch produced the points but it was a long sweep down the left sidelines by QB Lyons that set HW up at the Newburyport 25.
Brett Fontaine recovered a fumble in the end zone in the third quarter.
HW hosts Amesbury (2-1) on October 1st (Saturday) at 2:30PM.
Newburyport entertains North Andover (2-1) on September 30th (Friday) at 7PM.
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