Coach Blum picks up first win as head coach

Published in the September 13, 2018 edition


NORTH READING — A new era began last Friday night at the Arthur J. Kenney Field, as the North Reading football Hornets blew out Northeast Metro Tech of Wakefield, 37-14, giving new Hornet head coach Ed Blum a win in his first ever game at the helm.

“I’m just happy for the kids,” said Blum, after his first career victory. “They worked hard, all offseason lifting. The past three weeks we pushed them and expected a lot from them. For them to come here, to put together a game like this on week one… plenty of good things out there on the field and plenty of things to work on, but we will take that performance. It was a good battle with Northeast.”

Blum took over a program that was back-to-back winners of the Cape Ann League Kinney Division, after highly successful Jeff Wall resigned suddenly. Blum was the offensive coordinator to Wall the last two seasons and will be still using the offense he had used those two seasons, based off the spread formation.

THE 2018 NRHS football team. (Dan Pawlowski Photo)

That offense got the first points of the 2018 season when their first drive concluded with a 5-yard pass from senior quarterback Matt Solecki to fellow captain and senior running back Alex D’Ambrosio. Sophomore Bill O’Leary would cross the goal line to complete the two-point conversion to give the Green and Gold an 8-0 lead barely three minutes into the young season.

Solecki will be the team’s starting quarterback this year and hopes to have a comeback season of sorts as he was hurt most of the 2017 campaign. The 6’2 Solecki is a threat both with his arm and his legs, which helps the Hornets be more dimensional. Solecki will be helped out in the backfield by D’Ambrosio and O’Leary, and at wide receiver by seniors Mike Mikula and junior Jack Keller.

The Voke would answer back with a touchdown and a two-pointer of their own on the pursuing drive but North Reading answered right back on the pursuing kickoff as Mikula took the ball to the house, 84-yards, to give the lead back to his team. D’Ambrosio would kick the extra point to make the score 15-7 Hornets.

The Knights would get within one point in the middle of the second quarter but that would be the closest they would be on the evening as the Green and Gold took over the game and looked much like the 2016 and 2017 Hornets.

ED BLUM receives the game ball from captain Alex D’Ambrosio for his first win as a head coach on September 7, 2018 as North Reading defeated Northeast Metro Tech 37-14. (John Friberg Photo)

Before the first half ended, North Reading increased the lead to nine, as Solecki threw a beautiful pass over a Knight defender, finding Mikula for a 44-yard score. Keller would

get a short pass from Solecki to complete the twopoint play and the home team had a 23-7 lead at halftime.

The second half was dominated by the Hornet defense as the Voke offense had a very tough time getting first downs to keep drives alive and holding on to the ball. The North Reading D recovered two fumbles in that half.

The defense this year will again be run-based in the 3-4 formation and will have key pieces such as Mikula, juniors Matt Luciano and Gerald Callagy and senior captain Mike Sheridan.

The home team’s lead increased to 31-14 on a Solecki swing pass to D’Ambrosio for a 17-yard touchdown. Keller again got the two-point conversion.

The Green and Gold got one more score before the night ended on an O’Leary touchdown run from 5 yards out to complete the scoring for the night.

The 1-0 Hornets will face a tough road this season and will have to battle it out in the powerful Cape Ann League if they want to three-peat as CAL champions. They will face the likes of Pentucket, Triton, Masco, and of course archrival Lynnfield on Thanksgiving Day.

This Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m., North Reading will travel to Hamilton-Wenham to face the Generals, whom the Hornets were defeated by last season by a score of 28-14.

“They are always well coached,” said Blum of the Generals. “They have some great players coming back and it’s going to be another battle. We’re going to have to have a good week of preparation for them.”