Bedell scores 3 TD’s, NR forces 3 turnovers to win, 27-13

Published in the November 30, 2017 edition

SENIOR Jake Bedell (13) carries on a nice gain inside the Pioneer 10 yard line. Bedell concluded a great season by scoring three touchdowns and running for 185 yards during North Reading’s victory over Lynnfield on Thanksgiving Day. (John Friberg Photo)


NORTH READING — For the second straight year, the North Reading football Hornets were victors over their arch rivals, the Lynnfield Pioneers, 27-13, during their 59th meeting on Thanksgiving day in front of a big and enthusiastic crowd at the Arthur J. Kenney Field.

The North Reading seniors were the story of the game, as they played their last high school football game ever, giving their all to beat the Pioneers. Senior running back Jake Bedell finished his Hornet career by running for 180 yards on 20 carries and scoring three touchdowns. Seniors defensemen Xavier Scribner and Mike Luciano created turnovers to keep the Lynnfield offense off the scoreboard and the Hornets on it.

SENIORS Colin Boucher (77) and Jackson DeAngelo (50) capped off their Hornet football careers with great games on both sides of the ball in the NR win over Lynnfield on Thanksgiving. (John Friberg Photo)

For Hornet Head Coach Jeff Wall, the game was the perfect way for his seniors to end things.

“We stepped up when we needed to,” said Wall. “I thought we made some plays and created turnovers throughout the day, which when we capitalized on, proved to be helpful. I’m proud of them and good for the seniors to go out on top.”

The Green and Gold did lose the opening coin toss but the Pioneers decided to defer to the second half, giving the home team the ball first. North Reading seized the early momentum, as the Hornets went 75 yards on seven plays, taking 3:57 off the clock to go into the end zone for the first touchdown of game, thanks to a 7-yard run from Bedell. The extra point try went wide, so it was only 6-0, North Reading.

Before the first quarter expired, the Hornets increased their lead to 14-0 on another seven-play 65-yard drive to get into the end zone, concluding with a 36-yard touchdown from Bedell. The Green and Gold then faked the extra point as junior kicker Alex D’Ambrosio got the direct snap and threw it to junior Mike Sheridan in the end zone for the two-point conversion.

On the ensuing offensive drive for Lynnfield, the Pioneers would get on the scoreboard on a beautiful pass from quarterback Matt Mortellite over a Hornet defender to receiver Jason Ndansi in the corner of the end zone from 24-yards out. The low, line drive extra point was blocked, so the Pioneers were down by 8, 14-6.

Before halftime, Lynnfield had a chance to get the tying score before both teams headed back to the locker rooms, gobbling up the last 17 offensive plays of the first half, but the 16th and 17th play probably decided the fate of both teams.

A NICE TACKLE by senior Kyle Conley (2) brings down a Lynnfield ball carrier. (John Friberg Photo)

The Pioneers had the ball at the Hornet 4-yard line, as Mortellite went back to pass but was sacked by Bedell. The hit kept Mortellite out of the rest of the game with concussion-like symptoms. 

Brett Cohee would replace Mortellite, and on his first play, he threw towards the end zone but was picked off by Scribner for a touchback to end the first half.

The halftime show was performed well by the North Reading High School Marching Band, conducted for the last time by the school’s Musical Director Eric Foreman, whom like the Green and Gold seniors, went out on top, as he will be retiring at the conclusion of the school year.

The Pioneers started the second half with the ball and Cohee’s first pass attempt of the half was intercepted again by Scribner, for his second INT of the game and his career.

The turnover would prove to be costly as the Hornets got the lead back to two scores when Bedell went 64 yards to glory on the very next play. The PAT was blocked and it was 20-6.

Lynnfield would get it back to a one-score game, on the ensuing possession as Cohee would have a long run of his own, taking the quarterback keeper all the way to the house, from 35-yards out. The Nick Kinnon extra point was good and the Green and Gold’s lead was cut to 20-13, with 4:46 left in the third quarter.

The straw that broke the back of the Pioneers, was with 5:28 left in the game, as Cohee’s fumble was scooped up by Luciano and rumbled 77-yards for the touchdown.

“I saw the ball and because we do scoop and score drills all the time at practice, I had to pick it up, and bolted to the end zone,” said a jubilant Luciano. “This is something I’ve been dreaming of since I was 9..10 years old, and finally came true. First ever touchdown, last ever game.”

North Reading finished the season with a 7-4 record and are back-to-back champions of the Cape Ann League Kinney Division. Even though the season just ended and many seniors will be leaving the program, there is hope and excitement for the years to come with this football team.

“Honestly, with this year coming to an end, I know we have some guys returning up front and in the back field,” said D’Ambrosio, who did not have a bad Thanksgiving himself, as he ran for 88 yards in the game. “I have full confidence in my team that we are coming up strong next season too.”

Good luck to the seniors on their future endeavors.