Monthly Archives: November 2017

Newtown chills Masuk 14-7 on two Dan Mason TDs

Dan Mason (7) breaks loose late in the first half

Dan Mason scored twice for Newtown

(Monroe CT) It was a passing down, but Newtown opted instead for a run up the middle.

The result was a momentum-changing 49-yard touchdown shocker by Dan Mason and Newtown went on to defeat undefeated Masuk, 14-7.

“Cold” doesn’t come close to describing the weather conditions on the Wednesday pre-Thanksgiving event at Benedict Field.  Add an occasional gale-force wind to the low temperatures and you could imagine the discomfort.

Jack Duignan (50) flies after Joseph Pagett (2)

Two years ago, Ben Mason the linebacker became Ben ball-carrier having a five-touchdown evening leading the 2015 Nighthawks to a 40-8 rout over Masuk.  Ben’s brother Dan didn’t get five TDs on this evening but he got two and that was enough to earn Newtown a sixth straight win over the Panthers (9-1).

The Nighthawks (7-3) showed in the first half that they were not going to be another team rolled over by Masuk’s high-scoring offense.

The Panthers, on occasion, did look like the teams that had 401 points in nine games, but Newtown limited lengthy drives by pressuring QB Matt Hersch and containing Jack Roberge.

“I’m quite sure that their quarterback hasn’t been sacked that many times in a game this year,” said NHS coach Bob Pattison afterwards.

Nicholas Lorusso (25) gets behind Connor Marlin (13)

Masuk scored their only touchdown in the first quarter.  Nicholas Lorusso ran a nice fade route into the right corner of the end zone and Matt Hersch delivered a perfect nine-yard pass (behind Connor Martin) for the early lead at 3:02.

It was the 12th touchdown catch for Nicholas and the 31st touchdown pass for Matt.

At the time, I thought that this would be the beginning of a parade of points for the undefeated Panthers.

But it wasn’t.  Why?  Newtown got the stunning equalizer before the half and had the ground game to control the clock in the second half.  Add a defense that held a team that had not been behind all season, and had scored at least twenty-points in every game, to one touchdown speaks for itself.

Most important play?  The Dan Mason touchdown at the end of the second quarter. With less than a minute left in the half and forty-nine yards to go it looked like a good time to go to the air.  Newtown opted for a running play instead.

“It was a passing down, but we thought we’d see what we could get with a quick hitter up the middle,” explained Coach Pattison.  What they got was pure gold as Dan Mason followed a key block on the Masuk linebacker and then split the safeties into open territory.

Dan Mason after the NHS upset

“The grass just opened up,” said Dan later.  “I knew that I wasn’t going to let anyone take me down.”

Masuk coach Joe Lato recalled that play: “Our techniques were wrong on the touchdown.  We fixed it at halftime, but we couldn’t take the points off the scoreboard.”

The team from Monroe had a promising second-half start when Robert Martinsky brought an interception back to the Newtown 17.  Enter the high-powered Masuk offense?  Not on this evening.

The Nighthawk defense held and then the wind sent Nolan McCarter’s 28-yard kick wide left.

While the Nighthawks’ turnover wasn’t costly, the Panthers weren’t as fortunate after Jack Roberge fumbled and Joe Pagett recovered at the Masuk 33 with 3:24 left in the 3rd quarter.

Patiently Newtown moved the ball, running the clock, and converting 4th downs along the way.  Dan Mason finished the job behind terrific blocking, rushing two yards into the end zone as the third quarter ended.

Ryan Kost (12) kicks Newtown’s second EP

The extra point confirmed that this was Newtown’s day!  Joseph Lewis kicked wide right and was injured on the play. But there was a penalty on Masuk.  No Joseph Lewis to kick?  No problem.  Quarterback Ryan Kost stepped in (He was Newtown’s kicker last year) and the extra point was added.

An earlier confirmation of it not being Masuk’s day was on Robert Martinsky’s interception.  Looked like a pretty clear path to the end zone for Robert but the gathering Masuk blockers turned into obstacles and one of them forced Robert out at the Newtown seventeen.

Why does this happen?  For such an important game, why would the roster handout be messed up for Newtown?

I was impressed with Masuk’s turf field.  Great surface.  I was at the Yale Bowl for the Harvard/Yale game Saturday on regular grass.  Very slippery and uneven.

“Some of the motivation in the game was from our seniors,” said Nighthawks first-year coach Bobby Pattison. “The papers predicted a big season for Masuk and not much of one for them.  This was a game that we weren’t supposed to win but the seniors made it happen.”

Dan Mason two touchdowns gave him six for the 2017 season.  I don’t doubt that he’ll have a few more next season.

Matt Hersch at the end of a 4th quarter trick play

Coach Joe Lato went the trick play route late in the game as QB Matt Hersch handed off to Ryan Shaw and then went downfield for a pass.  The wind got into Ryan’s pass, however, and Matt’s catch was way out-of-bounds.

Good luck to Masuk in the playoffs.  Tonight’s loss should toughen them up for the do-or-die games ahead.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably BUT you have to click on them to make it happen.)

Masuk team arrives

Jack Roberge sweeps

Jack Roberge (34) follows Nicholas Lorusso (25)

Ryan Shaw catches a pass along the Newtown sidelines at Matt Dubois defends

Trying to stop Dan Mason

Tyler Michalka brings down Dan Mason

Ryan Williams (62) goes for the block

Dan Mason stiff arms Tyler Michalka (4) on his TD run

Dan Mason steps into the end zone with his first half touchdown

Robert Martinsky runs back an interception chased by Jack Miller

Robert Martinsky

Shea Talbot (32) breaks up a pass intended for Ryan Shaw

Newtown blockers for Dan Mason (7)

Dan Mason (7) powers into the end zone

Joseph Pagett set to tackle Nicholas Lorusso

Jacob Riley and Rolt McIntyre

Kyle Good and Shea Talbot

Matt Dubois and Alex Street

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Yale alone atop Ivy League with 24-3 win over Harvard

The Yale student section had plenty to cheer about at the Yale Bowl

Yale QB Kurt Rawlings had a touchdown pass

(New Haven CT) Special game for Yale as they ended a 9-1 season with a 24-3 win over Harvard on Saturday afternoon.

The victory gains the Eli undisputed possession of first place in the Ivy League.  That hasn’t happened for them since 1980.

Harvard led early, but I kept waiting for the Yale offense to kick in.  It happened in the second quarter as the home team collected seventeen points to gain permanent separation from the Crimson.

Harvard (5-5) botched two quarterback options in that second quarter and both led to Yale scores in less than a minute.

The touchdown that I had the best look at was Malcolm Dixon’s.  The six-foot sophomore beat teammate Michah

Awodiran and fumbler Aaron Shampklin for a loose ball and jetted nineteen yards into the end zone.  This all happened right directly in front of me.

Plenty of smiles after Zane Dudek gave the Eli a three-touchdown lead in the 4th quarter.

Yale (9-1) sealed the deal in the last quarter.  Freshman Melvin Rouse rushed the ball close to the goal line and fellow freshman Zane Dudek covered the final two yards over right guard.  It was Zane 15th rushing touchdown of the season.

The rest of the game was scoreless played in darkening conditions (no lights at the Yale Bowl) with an occasional drizzle.

It was my first experience on the sidelines for such a big Division 1 game.  Touted by some as The Game. It drew 51,426 spectators.

Yale was the better team, in my opinion, on both sides of the ball.  Harvard passers (Jake Smith,Joe Viviano) were heavily pressured while Yale QB Kurt Rawlings had time.  Kurt was also able to scramble for yards.

JP Shohfi (88) beats defender Isaiah Wingfield for 1st Yale touchdown

Kurt’s pass to JP Shohfi in the second quarter was lofted perfectly over defender Isaiah Wingfield.  It was Kurt’s 19th TD pass of the season.

The significance of the victory was understood by the active Yale student section.  They flooded the field after the game ended to celebrate with the team.  I wished that I had had my wide-angle lens with me for that scene.

Plenty of tailgating going on pre-game.  I don’t drink and I don’t eat meat but I can tell you that there was plenty of both being consumed outside the Yale Bowl.

During the game only one person was taken away in a stretcher and she was a spectator.  It was a wakeup call to me because if one of those players runs out-of-bounds and into me I will almost certainly be hospitalized.  Must stay full-time alert!

Outstanding bands from both schools.

Some Yale pranksters placed a huge misspelled Harvard (Havrard) sign on the back wall behind the Harvard student section.

I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised that somewhere in the second half large numbers of male/females in the Yale student section removed more clothing than they should have.

I traveled with an umbrella that I can attach to my mopod.  Came in handy during the second half.

I am very thankful to Steve Conn for arranging my visit to the Yale Bowl.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Malcolm Dixon (1), Aaron Shampklin (20), and Micah Awodiran (25) lunge for a ball on the ground.

Malcolm Dixon scoops up the loose ball

Malcolm Dixon (1) on his way to the end zone.

Senior Jon Bezney

Senior Jeho Chang

TV network waiting game

Kurt Rawlings (6) with time in the pocket

Senior Alex White

Junior Charlie Walker

Tanner Lee (36) grounds JP Shohfi (88)

Jaeden Graham (46) brings down Luke Hutton (35)

Freshman Jake Smith under pressure from Foye Oluokun (23)

Yale kickers Alex Galland and Sam Tuckerman

Freshman quarterback Jake Smith (10) sets out on a quarterback option

Harvard turnover in the second quarter

Ball about to go on the ground

J Hunter Roman (36) makes a fumble recovery

Zane Dudek (33) eyes Harvard defenders

Zane Dudek scored his 15th rushing TD

Zach Schmid takes a knee before the start of the 2nd half

Kurt Rawlings behind good blocking

Kurt Rawlings (6) in flight

Freshman Melvin Rouse (7) breaks up the middle

Senior Harvard QB Joe Viviano

Alex White (38) flattens Andrew Johnson (15)

 

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Amesbury glides by St. Joseph’s Prep 6-0 and into the D4 state semifinals

The Amesbury Indians are the Division 4 North champions

Maddy Creps (2) ripped a goal from the left side in each half.

(Lynn MA) This was not a game to come late to.

Two minutes into it the Amesbury Indians had two on the board against St. Joseph’s Prep on Sunday afternoon.

The final was 6-0 and with the win Amesbury reaches the Division 4 state semifinals.

The Indians (16-5-1) will face Millis (16-2-2) on Wednesday night (5PM) at Manning Field in Lynn.

Amesbury has had few games this season in which they dominated a team the way they did in this one.  “Being in the Cape Ann League has helped prepare us for the tournament,” explained AHS coach Adam Thibodeau.

Chelsea Lynch gets a full swing at a shot from very close.

Newburyport, also from the CAL, reached the D3 state semifinals on this same Sunday at Manning Field.

“Amesbury came out with the horses and we just didn’t match up, “said St. Joseph coach Damian Shiner afterwards.  “We gave them the freedom and opportunity to take the shots they wanted.”

It was a busy and dangerous afternoon for Phoenix netminders Maria DiFelice (first half) and Shannon Daly (second half).  Both girls allowed three goals.

Michaela Halloran and the ball arrive at the same time.

I say dangerous because multiple times those goalies and incoming Amesbury players were on collision courses chasing an incoming ball.

Sophomore Maddy Creps paced the Indians with two goals and an assist.  Both of Maddy’s tallies were similar.  In each she found an opening on the left side and was on target with her left foot.  Both shots in each half ended in the upper right corner above the Phoenix goalie.  “I wasn’t aiming for that spot,” Maddy told me.  “I was just trying to get it on net.”

Chelsea Lynch, Ashley Pettet, Brooke Taylor, and Maia Esty had Amesbury’s other goals.

While the Indians had a feast of opportunities the team from Boston didn’t.  AHS goalie Alli Napoli touched the ball for the first time fifteen minutes into the game.

Credit the Amesbury defense.  Hannaih Burdick, Ashlee Porcaro, Alyssa Pettet, and Madison McGrath were terrific in their half of the field.  There were few panic kicks and plenty of passes to each other to keep St. Joseph’s from threatening.

Anne McElroy and Maddy Creps battle for a loose ball

Despite the mismatch, St. Joe’s and their fans never quit.  “We’re a young team,” said Coach Shiner.  “We’ll be back next year.”

The Indians notched their first goal (Chelsea Lynch from Brooke Taylor) at 38:47. Thirty-three seconds later, Maddy Creps had her first successful blast from the left on a pass from Ashley Pettet.  A timeout by the Phoenix quickly followed.

“I told them to calm down and relax,” said Coach Shiner. “We had plenty of game left but Amesbury is an excellent team.”

The prettiest goal of the game was the third one, Ashley Pettet’s.  The Cape Ann League Player-of-the-Year dribbled past two defenders into the middle of the field and ended up with a straightaway, clean look which she buried.

Nice November weather.  Temps in the upper 40s with sun and little wind.

AHS coach Adam Thibodeau cleared his bench early and often.  Freshman Julia Campbell played the final nine minutes in net for the Indians.

Anne McElroy and Molly Wheet were tireless on defense for the Phoenix.

Ashley Pettet fires a shot.

Covering games is never easy during the regular season.  Many teams have no scoreboards.  Rosters are seldom available.  In the tournament you expect better.  Well, the scoreboard at Manning Field worked.  The rosters?  Not so much.  I noticed right away that the two St. Joseph goalies had numbers that aren’t on the rosters the MIAA handed out on the way into the game.  I chased down Coach Shiner afterwards to get the names of the two goalies he used.  Then there was the Amesbury roster. I knew that roster because I had done their game with St. Mary’s.  I never looked at it until I was home.  Imagine my surprise when I realized that the Amesbury roster was the 2016 edition!

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Amesbury seniors with Coach Adam Thibodeau and the D4 North trophy

Coach Damian Shinere, Nailah Khoory, Hannah Sansone, Assistant Coach Lindsey Hughes

Maia Esty (15) after scoring the 6th Amesbury goal

Second half action in front

Maddy Crep’s 2nd goal celebrated

Brooke Taylor (7) shoots

Goalie Shannon Daly and Chelsea Lynch

Michaela Halloran on the doorstep in the first half

Freshman Alyssa Pettet

Emma DiPietro

Chelsea Lynch and Camille Taylor

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Amesbury advances to D4 semis with 2-0 win against St. Mary’s

Amesbury put pressure on the St. Mary’s defense. Here Sherly Feliz (24) is chased by Brooke Taylor (7)

Michaela Halloran’s tap heads for the goal line as a lunging Morgan Mackie tries to stop it.

(Amesbury MA) The scoreboard at Landry Stadium wasn’t up to speed but the Amesbury girls’ soccer team sure was as they defeated St. Mary’s, 2-0, in the Division 4 North quarterfinals.

The Sunday evening matchup featured a heavy dose of pressure by the Indians on the Spartans.  There were plenty of passes away from the middle that gave Amesbury’s speedsters opportunities to create scoring chances.

“When we play fast, we play our game,” said Amesbury coach Adam Thibodeau afterwards.

Ashley Pettet (8) chased by Joslyn Deschenes (16)

The Indians (14-5-1) scored both of their goals (Hannaih Burdick, Michaela Halloran) in the first half.  Instead of playing conservatively in the second half, Amesbury just kept attacking.

And there was only one reason why this didn’t end up being a seven or eight goal game: Alex Iacoviello.  The St. Mary’s goalie faced shots from just about everywhere in the second half and dazzled everyone with the saves she came up with.

“She (Alex) kept us in the game,” said Spartans coach Jim Foley.  “Several of her saves were unbelievable.”

Chelsea Lynch stopped by Spartans goalie Alex Iacoviello

“Their goalie was absolutely spectacular,” said AHS coach Adam Thibodeau.

By keeping the heat on the St. Mary’s defense, Amesbury was able to limit the chances the Spartans had.  But the team from Lynn did have several anyhow.

St. Mary’s top scorer (Kayla Demers) had a good look in the second half.

There was also a situation where Amesbury GK Alli Napoli had the ball get away from her after attempting a save.  The ball was loose close to the corner and a St. Mary’s player was about to take a shot at an unguarded net but three Amesbury players slid in to block any straight shot at the goal.

That’s what makes Amesbury so tough: Not only are they fast into the attacking zone but they are also fast to get back to help on defense.

Amesbury GK Alli Napoli (green) gets help from three teammates

“Amesbury is probably the best team in the D4 North,” explained Coach Foley.  “We ended up meeting them a little earlier than I had hoped.”

The #6 Indians will meet #2 Essex Tech in the semifinals on Wednesday night at Manning Field in Lynn.

Freshman Alyssa Pettet (5) pressured by Kayla Demers (27)

Hannaih Burdick’s goal was set up by Emma DiPietro seventeen minutes into the first half.  A throw-in from the left side reached Emma.  Instead of trying to go toward the goal, Emma passed further right to an uncovered Hannaih.

The shot was a long one but Hannaih had experience taking it from that far out.  The shot was a high one and sailed into the top of the net on the left side.

“I thought that the shot had gone over the net,” recalled Hannaih afterwards.

The battle AFTER Michaela’s shot had crossed the line

The second Amesbury goal was set up by Chelsea Lynch.  Down the middle she came with defenders on either side.  Alex Iacoviello came out to challenge and Chelsea’s shot bounced off her and over her.  The ball headed ever so slowly toward the net.  Michaela Halloran saw it and tapped it just enough to get it across the goal line.  Michaela and Morgan Mackie battled for possession inside the net, but the goal had already been scored.

In the second half, St Mary’s (9-8-3) couldn’t get the goal that would have made things more interesting down the stretch.  “We’ve had trouble scoring all season,” added Coach Foley.

The speed of Amesbury has been noted.  Also important is to have players in the midfield who have the dribbling skills to make players miss.  Most opponents attack someone with the ball at full speed.  The talented players often make those attackers miss by pulling the ball back.  Those of us who enjoy watching Charlie Brown attempt to kick a football with Lucy holding the ball know what I mean!  Midfielders Ashley Pettet and Emma DiPietro make players miss on a regular basis.

Freshman Susannah Cornell (17) and senior Ashley Pettet (8)

Morgan Mackie was a standout on defense for St. Mary’s.

Part of the scoreboard was not working.

The lighting in Landry will test the quality of the best of cameras.

Pleasant night in the 50’s.

Pretty good crowd for a Sunday night.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Captains Brooke Taylor (7) and Caitlin Foley (3)

Chelsea Lynch assisted on Amesbury’s second goal

Morgan Mackie

Alex Iacoviello

Maddy Creps in for a testing shot that went just wide.

Michaela Halloran surrounded by Spartans

Chelsea Lynch in on goal

Jenna Foley (22), Maddie McGrath (4), Maddy Creps (2), and Kayla Demers (27)

Waiting to head

 

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Profile boys’ soccer gets first Division IV title 2-0 over Littleton

Seamus Slattery accepts the Division IV state title trophy for Profile

Profile seniors Shamus McKim(19), Dylan Robie(4), Seamus Slattery(9), Hanzon Hunt (7),  Shea Young(6) and Cam Hoyt(13) with trophy

(Manchester NH) Solid defense and opportunistic offense propelled Profile to the D4 boys’ soccer title, 2-0, over Littleton on Saturday at SNHU.

The title was the Patriots’ first one.  They hadn’t even been to the state finals before.

How did they get there? “Our defense got us here,” explained Profile coach Brent Detamore afterwards. “Our center backs (Shea Young, Jeff Weinrich) are the two best in Division 4 in my opinion. They have been amazing all year.”

No argument from Littleton coach Jo Gardner: “They have a dynamic backfield.”

Seniors Hanzon Hunt and Shamus McKim had the goals for (16-4) Profile.

Turning point in this game?  First minute of the second half.  Down 1-0, Littleton’s 20-goal scorer Danny Kubkowski blasted a shot past Profile GK Jordan Brusseau.  The scoreboard changed as the Crusaders’ celebrated.  But then came the bad news: someone had been offside.  Off came the goal and the momentum that would have come with it.

The goal was posted on the scoreboard but an offsides took it away from Littleton.

“That offsides in the first minute of the second half killed us,” said Coach Gardner.  “A goal there would have rejuvenated us.  It is interesting that in our semifinal win over Portsmouth Christian, they had two of their goals called back.”

The celebration after the 2nd Profile goal

Not only did Profile dodge a bullet but seven minutes later Shamus McKim found the back of the Littleton net.

“The ball was sent in from the left by Seamus Slattery,” explained Shamus.  “The ball was up in the air.  I trapped it down, looked up and saw the goalie coming at me, and put it into the left corner.”

There was plenty of time left (over thirty minutes) for Littleton to do something about their 2-goal deficit but the Patriots’ defense just wasn’t allowing it on this sunny afternoon.  Most of the potential Littleton threats were snuffed out in the midfield area.

Shea Young (6) and Scott Ridlon (11)

Coach Detamore mentioned Jeff Weinrich and Shea Young but my pictures indicate that Sam Greene, Cam Hoyt, and Jack Sampo had big defensive afternoons too for the D4 titlists.

Hanzon Hunt tallied the first Profile goal.  “Seamus Slattery got the ball into the middle,” said Hanzon.  “I got my head on it and it went past the goalie.”  Seamus didn’t get credit from the official scorer but Hanzon gave his own credit!

#6 Profile ended with ten shots including five on net.  #5 Littleton took eleven shots with three reaching the Patriots goalie.

Littleton was higher seeded because they played and defeated a D3 opponent.

Before today’s loss, the Crusaders (15-5) had won eight straight.

Battle for the ball

Profile finished the season winning ten of their last eleven.  After two losses in August, the Patriots went on a 16-2 run.

This was definitely a game with few surprises by either team.  Why? Bethlehem (home of Profile) is only four miles away from Littleton.  “The kids are on travel teams together in the off-season,” said Coach Gardner.  “Brent Detamore (Profile coach) teaches at Littleton.”

Both teams were chasing their first soccer title.  “It was good to have two teams from the ‘north’ in the finals,” added Coach Gardner.

The Patriots and the Crusaders met twice in September.  Each team featured the game as a Homecoming event and came away with a win.

Christian Silveria (20) heads a shot just wide of the Profile net.

Nice setting a Southern New Hampshire University.  Even folks who couldn’t get seats in the stands had elevated views along the perimeter.

I appreciated the game information provided by the SNHU stat crew.

One thing I discovered, and I may not be the only one, is that the SNHU address (2500 North River Road) was unrecognized by my GPS.  Fortunately, I had been to SNHU (from Massachusetts) for several NH high school basketball games in previous years.

I continue to like the favorable weather we have been having.  The bright sun we had today helped to make this an enjoyable event.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.

Celebrating begins for Profile

Jeb Weinrich (11) Hanzon Hunt (7), Jack Sampo (2), Jason Brammer (14), and Sam Greene (8)

Littleton coach Jo Gardner

Jean Rodriguez (7) heads forward

Profile goalie Jordan Brusseau backs up teammate Jeb Weinrich

Littleton’s Todd Krol-Corliss surrounded

Danny Kubkowski avoids a sliding tackle

Derek Walker gets a shot on Profile GK Jordan Brusseau

Danny Kubkowski chases a ball

Ball in the middle

Jeb Weinrich slides to clear the ball away from Todd Krol-Corliss

Danny Kubkowski (21) heads

Dylan Robie (4) and Derek Walker (13)

Hanzon Hunt scored first Profile goal

Littleton GK Quintin Ross saves

Shamus McKim (19) and Zack Lahout (25)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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