Published in the September 21, 2017 edition


NORTH READING — The North Reading Football Hornets suffered their first loss of the young 2017 season to the Hamilton-Wenham Generals 28-14, last Friday night, in the friendly confines of Arthur Kenney Field. This was the first home loss for the Hornets since a 31-7 defeat to Watertown on November 6, 2015. North Reading at times got in their own way by being penalized during marches down the field.

SENIOR CO-CAPTAIN Kyle Bythrow (17) follows great blocks from seniors Colin Boucher (77) and Jake Bedell (13) for a nice gain. (John Friberg Photo)

For Green and Gold head coach Jeff Wall, he’s hoping this game will be a good learning tool for the rest of the season for his team.

“I told them after the game, ‘a lot of time you can’t have progress, without having some downfalls’ and this was a downfall,” said Wall. “Hopefully, we’ll learn from our mistakes, we’ll grow, and become a better team.”

The Generals got on the scoreboard on their first drive of the ballgame with a touchdown when junior quarterback Billy Whelan found senior wide receiver Cam Peach. The extra point gave Hamilton-Wenham an early 7-0 lead.

North Reading was poised to tie the game and appeared to have gotten the equalizer but the touchdown  was called back thanks to an ineligible receiver down field on the very first play of the second quarter. Another Hornet penalty later that drive backed them up even further, stalling the drive, and they were forced to go on fourth down not very deep in the Generals defensive zone, and could not get the first down to keep their scoring hopes alive.

“We just were not disciplined tonight but we put ourselves in bad positions several times,” said Wall. “It’s a credit to them, because they’re a good team and you can’t fall behind to them and let them get rolling and we did.”

Hamilton-Wenham took advantage of the missed opportunity by the Hornets and increased their lead on the next possession after taking over on downs, with a punch-in by sophomore running back Ian Coffey. The extra point was good and it was 14-0, Generals, at the halftime break.

With 4:57 left in the third quarter, the Green and Gold got within eight, with a beautiful 39-yard bomb from senior captain and quarterback Kyle Bythrow to junior Alex D’Ambrosio. The Hornets did try for the two-point conversion but Bythrow’s pass attempt was intercepted, keeping it a 14-6 lead for the Generals.

The touchdown did not kill momentum for Hamilton-Wenham as they would get their advantage in the game back to a two score game on their next possession, with another protective drive, completed with a 5-yard touchdown run by Coffey.

The play of the game would crush the chances of a Hornet comeback as Coffey got the hat-trick of touchdowns but this time he threw the score, on a halfback option play, finding Peach for a 37-yard strike. The extra point went through the uprights giving the Generals a commanding 28-6 lead.

Before the game ended, the Hornets would get the last touchdown of the game, Bythrow would find senior tight end Jake Bedell for a 29-yard hookup. The two point attempt this time around was converted.

The Green and Gold are 1-1 and will have one more scheduled game against a non-conference opponent as they will be traveling up to Lynn and the historic Manning Bowl against Lynn English at 7 p.m. tomorrow night.