Category Archives: Littleton

Quarterback Evan Gwozdz guides Middleboro to 43-20 Division 6 title over Littleton

Nothing but end zone ahead for Evan Gwozdz (12). He passed for four TDs and ran for two others.

Jeremy Soule had 102 yards on twelve carries

(Foxboro MA) I guess I’ll never know.

Know what?  Who the punters were for Middleboro and Littleton.

No need of them as the two Division Six finalists vied for the 2017 football state championship in the “sunrise” game at Gillette Stadium on Saturday morning.

Tons of offense (628 yards between the two of them) but it was the point-producing offense of Middleboro that carried them to a 43-20 title.

Evan Gwozdz was the star of the show for the Sachems (10-3).  The 5-8 senior passed for four TDs and ran for two others.

Unlike his number-sake (TB12 of the Patriots), however, Evan also showed up in one of my pictures in the “good hands” section of Middleboro’s kickoff return team.  No surprise on this day, Evan recovered the onsides kick!

Luke Elliott (with ball) gets first Littleton score

Anyone sitting through the first quarter of this game might not have been certain that Middleboro would even win it.  Why?  Littleton (11-1) controlled over 90% of that quarter (20 plays) and had the only points on the board.

Harrison LaPierre snuffed out Brad Klock’s two-point conversion attempt.

When Middleboro finally did get a chance on offense they quickly showed that they would be a handful to defend.

“We like to get the ball to the perimeter and we are fast,” said MHS coach Paul Kingman afterwards.  You put a fast team on the extremely fast surface at Gillette and containment will be tough.

The key to Middleboro’s answering touchdown early in the 2nd quarter was a remarkable 4th-and-4 scramble by QB Evan Grozdz.  Evan rolled left and was being dropped by Kevin Frisoli when he spotted, and connected with, Colin O’Brien.  “He (Colin) broke off his route when he saw me scrambling,” said Evan.  “We practice that a lot.”

The strategy of Middleboro was to let the Littleton defense determine their attack.  “If they (Littleton) were going to shut down Jeremy (Soule) we would pass and if they defended the pass we would run Jeremy,” explained Evan.

Pass catchers from left to right – Davis Riendeau, Colin O’Brien, Harry LaPierre, and Matthew Crowley

That strategy worked to perfection in the final three quarters.  Jeremy Soule collected 102 yards on 12 carries while there were fifteen catches, and four touchdowns, among five Middleboro receivers.

It was one of those days in which, after the first quarter, Littleton was competitive but not able to neutralize the Sachems on either side of the ball.

I thought that Littleton, after the first quarter TD, would always be able to put long marches together and answer Middleboro TDs.  But that Middleboro quickness on offense showed up on defense too.

Evan Gwozdz (with ball) looks for an opening

There was a remarkable turnout of Middleboro support. That will happen when a town realizes that a thirty-four year football state championship drought could end.

Evan Gwozdz (15-for-17) had two incompletions.  One was a spike to stop the clock and the other was a prayer at the very end of the first half.

Those three onsides kicks by Littleton in the second half not only failed but they gave the quick-scoring Sachems half a field to work with each time.  I know, that’s second guessing of the highest order.

Mitch Beaudoin (8) versus Harry LaPierre

One of the luxuries of doing a game at Gillette is that you get to see instant replays.  A couple of decisions by officials drew some serious groans from each team.  One time, Littleton was assessed a penalty for a sideline’s hit.  The replay showed that there was hardly contact.  Another time, Middleboro had an interception denied when the replay suggested otherwise.

Turned out to be an excellent day for December football in Massachusetts.

Middleboro coach Pat Kingman: “Evan Gwozdz was the best player in the South Shore League and he’s an even better person than he is a quarterback.”

A win by Littleton would have enabled them to be the first Central Mass team to win two state championships.

Harry LaPierre

Coach Kingman: “Harry LaPierre has been our best defensive player all year.”

Evan Gwozdz: “We knew that they would score.  We didn’t let it get us down because we knew that we could score too.”

Colin O’Brien’s two touchdowns give him twelve for the season.

Evan Gwozdz finished this season with sixteen rushing touchdowns and twenty-two passing touchdowns.  Amazing numbers!

Second guessing that didn’t materialize was over Coach Kingman’s decision to rest all his starters against Carver on Thanksgiving Day and take a loss versus Carver.

Today was Littleton’s third trip to Gillette in the past five years.

Middleboro’s Pat Kingman has had the Sachems in the playoffs the last four seasons.

Middleboro’s three previous state championships were in 1983, 1978, and 1977.

In the state semifinal game, Jeremy Soule had seventy-six yards on his first touch and totaled 246 yards in 13 carries including two touchdowns.

Colin O’Brien (7) runs under a perfect pass for a first-half TD

Littleton won their last state title in 2013.  They were undefeated in 1967, 1968, and 2013.

The Tigers are in the Midland-Wachusett League.

Middleboro opted for a trick play after their sixth touchdown.  Evan Gwozdz was the holder and Brandon Buote was the kicker.  Instead of holding the ball, Evan flipped the ball over his head to Brandon who swept right to gain two points.

This was my first time in Gillette.  Just the size of the complex is remarkable.  Trying to find my way around was an adventure but I managed.  I was well treated and well fed.  Their after-game stat sheet is a Godsend.

Final stats

(Clicking on the pictures will enlarge them considerably.)

Championship banner

Matthew Crowley

Anthony Silvestro

Brandon Buote

Kicker Brandon Buote (17) gets a 2-point conversion

Littleton QB Will Scott

Evan Gwozdz (12) faces an onsides kick………and recovers it.

Davis Riendeau (3) gets to the end zone

Mitchell Crory (11) sends Jeremy Soule flying and saves a touchdown

Evan Gwozdz (12) congratulates Harry LaPierre after a touchdown

Harry LaPierre (11) eyes the last Littleton defender Evan Lyons (3)

Loose ball

Matthew Crowley (24) intercepts

Battle in the air between Colin O’Brien (7) and Kerr Boyle (6)

Jackson Ellis

Colin O’Brien (7) takes a swing pass from Evan Gwozdz (12)

Jeremy Soule (34) uses a good block from Robert Nestor (62)

Colin O’Brien (7) gets first Middleboro touchdown

 

 

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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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