Playoff opener comes after 47-0 rout of Watertown

Published November 1, 2019


MELROSE—The Melrose Red Raider football team finished their regular season unbeaten at 7-0 after a 47-0 thrashing of Watertown last Friday evening at Fred Green Field as they now embark on playoffs. Tonight, they host Burlington in the Div. 4 North playoff opener. Just over a week ago Melrose beat the Red Devils, 49-14. Should they prevail, Melrose will face the winner of Marblehead and North Reading at home next week.

Melrose’s numbers are pretty astronomical. They’ve outscored league opponents 131-20 in three games and 96-14 in the last two. So far, only Stoneham has offered the Red Raiders any resistance by limiting Melrose to four touchdowns in the 28-21 Melrose win.

SENIORS WERE honored at the start of Melrose’s big 47-0 win over Watertown during Senior Night. Pictured, back row from left, capt. Chris Cusolito, Chris Allen, Ryan McClintock, Jesse Gardner, capt. Jared Karelas, Alex Brincheiro, Brendan Maher, Ethan Prospere. Front row: Micye Duntin, capt. Sean Herbert, Mical Duntin, capt. Billy Pesce, Tyrell Liles and Eric Pimentel. (courtesy photo)

Watertown simply struggled in the effort, converting first downs just a few times for no scores and gaining yardage primarily from the running of Mason Andrade, who wracked up about 100 yards over the evening. Meanwhile, it was a great night for Melrose underclassmen who found the end zone several times.

Both Matt Hickey and Jake Rowe scored two touchdowns each while Matt Dussault caught a 40-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Brendan Fennell and Jack Perella earned the last score of the night. Defensively, Melrose saw some strong efforts from D.J. Darwin and Jessie Gardner that helped picked off two passes from Watertown QB Brennan Cook. Melrose was off to a quick 13-0 lead after a big 40-yard touchdown run by Hickey followed by a 22-yard rushing touchdown by Chris Cusolito.

Watertown’s closest attempt at scoring came from a 70-yard kickoff return by Andrade, but a fourth-down goal-line stand by Melrose, spearheaded by Chris Allen and Tyrell Liles, returned the ball on the Melrose 3. Watertown wouldn’t come close to the end zone again, and Melrose killed the clock on a 14 play drive with a series of Fennell passes to a strong Brendan Maher and runs by Chris Cusolito. That set up a 40-yard pass to Matt Dussault in the end zone and a 20-0 lead in the opening minutes of the second.

Melrose’s DJ Darwin picked off a Cook pass and that set up another Melrose touchdown, a throw to Jake Rowe in the end zone. It was 26-0 with ten minutes left in the half, a long night for Watertown. Matt Hickey took over on Melrose’s next possession, picking up a 60-yard rushing touchdown to make it a 33-0 game at halftime.

Coach Morris used his sideline and the players did a strong job. Jake Rowe single-handedly took over Melrose’s next drive on a series of runs that culminated in a  17-yard touchdown to make it 40-0. Trevor Botto at QB and Jack Perella also gained yardage on a series of carries. Liam Maher had a big first down run that set up a Perella touchdown and made it a 47-0 final.

Look for Melrose to aim to repeat another trouncing of Burlington. Action starts tonight at 7:00 p.m. at Fred Green Field.

Div. 4 North Bracket

1. Melrose (7-0) 19.00

2. Revere (7-0) 18.57

3. Wayland (5-1) 16.90

4. North Reading (6-1) 16.57

5. Marblehead (5-2) 14.91

6. Wakefield (4-3) 12.60

7. Dracut (3-4) 11.23

8. Burlington (3-4) 10.00