(Newburyport MA) The Lynn English Bulldogs (5-6) are on a roll.
Yes, they have six losses but the last one was on October 1st.
LE has now won five straight adding Newburyport to the list, 28-7, at Stehlin Stadium Thursday night.
It was the last home game for the Clippers (4-6).
Newburyport visits Amesbury on Thanksgiving Day.
The Clippers put three straight wins together early in the season but have struggled with five losses in their last six games.
In tonight’s game, Newburyport trailed only, 14-7, early in the fourth quarter after a Finn Sullivan 15-yard scramble and extra-point kick.
But the Bulldogs responded with points on each of their next two possessions to seal the win.
One of the keys to the Bulldogs’ win was their ability to contain quarterback Finn Sullivan. Finn’s running has been crucial to the NHS offense all season. Lynn English shut that part down except for the 15-yard touchdown scramble early in the final quarter.
Meanwhile, LE showed the ability to run and pass.
Midway through the opening quarter, Newburyport junior Aidan Blunt deflected a pass in the end zone to keep freshman Edwin Castro from putting Lynn English on the scoreboard.
Lynn English would not be denied. They started a drive at their own thirty-eight, late in the first quarter, that paid off at 9:02 in the second quarter.
Mixing passing, running, and a fumble recovery (Edwin Castro) the Bulldogs reached the Newburyport 18.
QB Jesse Maggs then found Edwin Castro yards behind his nearest defender for an 18-yard score. Clipper Angus Webster broke up the 2-point conversion attempt, but LE had a, 6-0, lead.
The Bulldogs put another threatening drive together in the second quarter aided by a major penalty on the Clippers. However, QB Jesse Maggs fumbled and Angus Webster recovered at the Newburyport 17 with less than two minutes left.
The rest of the second quarter the Clippers showed an excellent passing attack. There was protection and the sidelines routes were nicely executed. But the clock was the problem.
Newburyport reached the LE 22 with time for one last play. The Bulldogs’ defense responded as sophomore Mitchell Purter brought the pressure and sacked QB Finn Sullivan to end the half.
Lynn English padded their lead in the third quarter. The key to LE’s second scoring drive was catches by senior Shea Palmer. Shea’s second catch was a leaper along the right sidelines that reached the Newburyport 14.
Senior Wes Chandler (89 yards) broke left, cut back and scored untouched. Wes also ran in the two-point conversion. LE now led, 14-0, with four minutes remaining in the 3rd quarter.
The Clippers needed a big break to get back in the game and the Lynn English coaching staff supplied it.
Located deep in their own territory (28-yard-line) on fourth down, the Bulldogs decided to go for it. (I’m thinking the two-touchdown lead and significant confidence in their running game may have been the motivation.) Anyhow, QG Jesse Maggs tried and failed to get the one yard needed, setting Newburyport up at the LE 28.
QB Finn Sullivan (155 yards passing) passed to sophomore Sean Miles to get NHS to the L15 and scrambled in from there.
The Clippers were now only behind, 14-7, with most of the final quarter ahead of them. Could they tighten up the defense and get closer?
Unfortunately, for the home team, the defense couldn’t get it done.
The Bulldogs had size on their line and had already picked up quality yards running or passing.
Sophomore Ernie Panias started the third scoring drive with a 20-yard run and then the QB Jesse Maggs to Wes Chandler connection clicked twice to reach the Newburyport 2.
Ernie Panias covered the last two yards at 9:43. Wes Chandler rushed for the 2-point conversion. LE was now in front, 22-7.
The Clippers took a 4th down gamble on their next possession, and like the Bulldogs, came up empty. Sophomore Kane Brennan was stopped in his tracks by the Bulldogs defense to set them up at the Newburyport 42.
Lynn English capitalized on the good field position two minutes later. Ernie Panias went in off the right side standing up. The two-point conversion (Lionel Rivera) was stopped. LE was in command, 28-7, with 6:40 left.
Credit the Clippers. The game was essentially over but that didn’t stop them from putting a solid drive together. A key play was a catch by junior Jack Hadden getting Newburyport to the one-yard-line.
However, a pass interference call against the Clippers in the end zone frustrated the golden scoring chance.
Lynn English 0 6 8 14 – 28
Newburyport 0 0 0 7 – 7
I noted a tremendous difference in the atmosphere at the stadium from Wednesday night (boys soccer tourney game) and Thursday night (football game). Weekday, non-tournament games can reduce the crowd to close friends and family.
The weather was cool but not cold.
Lynn English is in the Northeastern Conference and Division Three.
Newburyport is in the Cape Ann League and Division Five.
Bulldogs’ quarterback Jesse Maggs reminded me of Pentucket’s Chase Dwight. Both are big, strong, and faster than you suspect.
(I wasn’t intending to write this game up. I planned to cover it with a few pictures, which I did on my Twitter account (McClellandPeter). When I realized that there was no local coverage (at all) I decided to put this story together. I didn’t talk to coaches and players afterwards. Those interactions are important, and it would have helped me to have had them.)
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)