Slow start sinks North Middlesex – Lowell Sun
TOWNSEND —North Middlesex Regional head coach Ryan DeMar saw plenty of good things from his football team Saturday afternoon against Worcester South.
Unfortunately, most of them took place too late to make a difference in the final result.
The Patriots dug themselves a 20-0 hole at halftime and were never able to fully recover, falling 26-13 to the Colonels, at 1A Auto Field.
“We’re happy with the effort, just not happy with the result,” said DeMar, whose club dropped to 1-4 on the season. “The big thing for us is we played hard for four quarters, we fought for four quarters.”
The North Middlesex defense turned in an outstanding effort for the second week in a row. DeMar knew his team would have its hands full with South tailback Angelo LaRose. The junior came into Saturday’s game having rolled up more 1,300 yards and 16 touchdowns in the first four games of the season, including an eye-popping 413 yards and seven touchdowns in last week’s 50-36 win over Auburn.
But the Patriots’ defense, led by Dustin Fournier, Matthews Barbosa, Cedrik Phan and Caden Kehoe, more than held their own against the bruising powerhouse, limiting LaRose to 110 yards on 22 carries. More than half of those yards came on a 60-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter, giving South a 26-0 lead. It was his third touchdown of the game and 19th of the season.
“I thought we did a really good job against (LaRose). He’s a talented back,” said DeMar. “We knew their first (option) was their running game with (LaRose) and we wanted to force them into their second (option), which is their passing game.”
South (4-1) was able to strike first through the air, on a 14-yard touchdown reception by D’Vante Dunn from Ransford Aldi to take a 6-0 lead in the first quarter. As penalties and turnovers hamstrung the North Middlesex offense, the Colonels were able to extend the lead on touchdown runs of 13 and 11 yards by LaRose.
After forcing a North Middlesex punt on the opening drive of the third quarter, South took over at its own 40 and scored on its first play from scrimmage. LaRose took a handoff over left tackle, broke a tackle five yards downfield, cut to the outside and used his sprinter speed to outrace the Patriots’ secondary to the endzone to make it 26-0.
North Middlesex had a hard time generating any type of a run game against South but found success moving the ball through the air. Sophomore quarterback Michael Reardon put the Patriots on the scoreboard midway through the third quarter, capping a 64-yard drive with a 23-yard touchdown pass to Fournier. The junior grabbed the screen pass, followed some excellent downfield blocks and plowed his way into the endzone, with the help of a few teammates pushing the pile. The conversion attempt failed, leaving the score 26-6. Reardon was 4-for-7 on the drive, including a 25-yard completion to Aiden Gallagher.
The Patriots struck again in the fourth quarter. This time it was senior Lucas Dieken at quarterback but the results were the same. Diekan connected with Gallagher on a beautiful 39-yard scoring strike on a fly pattern down the right side. Dieken completed 6 of 9 pass attempts on the drive and had an earlier touchdown pass to Barbosa called back by a penalty.
North Middlesex will be back in action Friday night at home against Maynard (3-2).