Published in the November 19, 2015 edition
By ANDREW MOUNTER
NORTH READING — The North Reading football Hornets improved their season record to 8–2, as they shut out the hosting Bedford Buccaneers 21–0, last Friday night, in what would be called a consolation game since both teams were defeated the previous week in the semi-finals of the M.I.A.A. Division 4 North Playoffs.
Even though the game was not a playoff game, it still meant a lot to North Reading Head Coach Jeff Wall and his crew.
“Other coaches were talking all week, ‘are they going come out to play’ and ‘is the game meaningless?’ No game is meaningless,” explained Coach Wall. “Especially because the seniors knew this would be the last time they would be under the lights, so it was something special for them.”
For most of the first quarter both teams struggled to gain any momentum, as it looked like they both were feeling out each other’s strengths and weaknesses, since it was the first time that these teams had met in football in decades.
The Hornets would break the 0–0 tie late in the first quarter with nice offensive drive that concluded with a 25 yard run from number 25, junior Matt McCarthy, and with senior Angelo Disanto, who kicked the extra point, giving the Green and Gold a 7–0 lead.
North Reading would again score late in the second quarter thanks to a quarterback run by sophomore Kyle Bythrow, from the 17 yard line, with just 1:10 left in the first half, plus another Disanto extra point that gave the Hornets a 14–0 lead at the break.
Bedford would receive the ball to start the second half and put together an impressive drive, getting deep into North Reading territory, as far as the 5 yard line. But the Buccaneers failed to score thanks the Hornet defense. On third and goal, Buccaneer senior quarterback Matthew Timperio threw a nice pass into the end zone but it was batted to ground by defensive back McCarthy. On fourth down and goal, Timperio again threw a nice pass toward the end zone but again it swatted down by the Hornets, this time by senior defensive back Nick Copelas.
The Green and Gold looked like they would increase their lead to 17-0 with a field goal in the middle of the fourth quarter but kicker Disanto was roughed up by a Bedford defender as the ball was going through the uprights, giving the Hornets an automatic first down. Just two plays later, McCarthy would grab his second touchdown of the evening, this time from the 2 yard line. Disanto would be brought out again but this time for the point after touchdown to give the Hornets the 21-0 lead.
The Bucs had one more try before the end of the game but again the Green and Gold defense came up big again and on their last play of the game. Bedford was trying to break up the shutout but instead Hornet junior defensive lineman Bob O’Donnell forced a fumble to seal both the victory and the shutout.
“I challenged the defense before the game,” said Coach Wall. “I know the Watertown game didn’t go as we would hoped, I told them ‘people want to see how you respond, you got knocked down but do you have the heart to get back up now and show them that we are still one of the best defenses in the league?’ They stepped it up, accepted the challenge and did a good job.”
The Hornets are now 8-2 on the 2015 season and have built tremendous momentum heading into this weekend’s bye. But they’re already preparing for the season finale against their archrivals the Lynnfield Pioneers on Thanksgiving Day.