Melrose clubs Wakefield 35-0; one game to go

Published April 23, 2021


MELROSE—The Melrose Red Raider football team are once again Middlesex Freedom League champs. 

Melrose laid a blow to rival Wakefield in a 35-0 shutout last Saturday at Fred Green Field in a relentless thumping that improved Melrose to 5-0 as they finish their season against Stoneham this Friday night. It’s been another perfect season for Melrose, who enjoys a 19-game winning streak that dates back to 2018. Melrose hopes to complete a full ML sweep when they travel to Stoneham High on Friday evening, April 23, at 6:30 p.m. 

Senior salute: Melrose paid tribute to their football seniors at the start of the Melrose-Wakefield game on Saturday. Pictured kneeling from left bottom row: Joe Whitley, Charlie Haggerty, Matt Dussault, capt. Brendan Fennell, Ryan Maher, Liam Whelan. Back row left: Jack Perella, Mike Overlan, Gavin Crowley, capt. AJ Norton Jefferson, DJ Darwin, Andy George, Frank Capaldo, Jake Rowe, capt. Matt Hickey, and head coach Tim Morris. (courtesy photo via Maureen Maher)

The Red Raiders tallied 259 rushing yards and 411 total yards from scrimmage and never looked back, preserving a shutout with a blistering defense that gave up zero points and only 143 total Warrior yards from scrimmage, while Wakefield quarterback Javin Willis went 11-15 and tossed 73 yards. 

The occasion also marked Senior Night for Melrose and it was certainly a senior special with exceptional play from seniors Charlie Haggerty, Brendan Fennell and Matt Hickey, who put on an absolute show in front of hometown fans and a scattering of Wakefield fans who made the trip south for their annual meeting. The trio led in scoring with quarterback Fennell going 6-11 in passing for 152 yards and 2 touchdowns, Hickey running for 135 yards on 15 carries with three touchdowns and Haggerty catching 5 passes for 141 yards and two touchdowns.

SENIOR CAPTAIN Matt Hickey helped Melrose clinched the ML title after rushing for 135 yards and three touchdowns. (Raj Das

While this doesn’t qualify as a Thanksgiving game, Melrose leads the annual series 63-41-6. This is the Red Raiders’ 11th straight win over the Warriors dating back to 2013. 

The trio of Fennell, Hickey and Haggerty started things off with a strong opening drive for Melrose. Hickey amassed over 60 yards in running on a series of carries and Fennell connected on a 15-yard pass to Haggerty to get Melrose in striking distance. That culminated in a 4-yard Hickey rushing TD for a quick 7-0 lead. A good PAT kick by junior Zac Federico sealed the deal. 

On Melrose’s second possession, Fennell connected on a 50-yard pass to Haggerty with 9:55 on the clock in the second to make it a 14-0 game. The two would connect again on Melrose’s next possession when Fennell threw a thirty yard TD pass to Haggerty to make it a 21-0 game, after another good kick from Federico. Melrose would take a 21-0 lead into halftime. 

SENIOR CHARLIE Haggerty had a game for Melrose with two touchdowns and 141 total yards. (Raj Das

It was more of the same in the second half, with Wakefield coming up empty on possessions and Melrose marching the ball up on a series of rushes by Hickey to the 6 yard line that resulted in a 6-yard Hickey touchdown with 4:35 left in the third, making the score 28-0, Melrose. After Fennell found a diving Matt Dussault for a catch down field, Hickey would strike again with a 4th and 1 touchdown for 13 yards with 2:57 left in the third, his third and last touchdown of the day. The score of 35-0 would stand for the remainder of the game. 

Melrose will now wrap up their Fall2 season with a make up game against Stoneham (3-1) on Friday night at 6:30 p.m. at Stoneham High. If the Spartans secure a win, they will earn a share of the ML Freedom title. But for now, it’s Melrose’s alone, and their third straight division title just one year out from their Super Bowl victory in 2019.

ML Freedom League standings

                   league overall  PF    PA

Melrose           4-0   5-0     31.2    4.0

Stoneham        3-1   3-1    26.0   11.8

Wilmington      3-2   3-2    13.8    15.4

Watertown       1-3   2-3    14.4    28.0

Burlington        1-3  1-3      6.3     14.0

Wakefield        1-4  1-4      6.2     15.8