Clinch share of division title

Published in the October 19, 2017 edition

NORTH READING’s defense finished off a great night by ending Masconomet’s overtime drive. Nicholas Arena (22), Kevin Brown, Jackson DeAngelo (50) and Alex D’Ambrosio (5) bring down a Masco running back on this play. (Bob Currier Photo)


NORTH READING — It seems like for the last four years, the North Reading football Hornets keep topping themselves in terms of incredible wins.

Last Friday night in front of an enthusiastic crowd at Arthur Kenney Field, the underdog and undersized Green and Gold beat the Masco Chieftains, 20-14, in overtime during one of the most exciting football games that has ever taken place in North Reading history.

“The kids stepped up and matched their physicality,” said North Reading head coach Jeff Wall. “We came in as underdogs and undermanned; we had a lot of injuries going in so we didn’t know what we had going into this game but the kids stepped up and I’m real proud of them.”

One of those injured players was senior running back Jake Bedell, who suffered a lower body injury during the previous game in Pentucket. Bedell was a game time decision and did not practice with the team at all during the week leading to the contest but would go on to score the game-tying touchdown and would run for 89 yards on 23 carries.

“We took it day-by-day and hoped for the best,” said Bedell. “We came in with the mind set to see how I would feel in warm ups. I looked good, the coaches were confident and I was confident, so I just went out and played.”

It did not look good early for the Hornets as Masco would take their opening drive 13 plays and 81-yards, closing it with a Jay Theriault 1-yard run, who just got the ball across the end zone line, making it 7-0 Sachems after a quarter of play.

North Reading would get the equalizer in the second quarter, on a 16-yard hookup from freshman quarterback Brian Heffernan to junior receiver Michael Mikula for Heffernan’s first touchdown of his short high school career. Junior Alex D’Ambrosio kicked the extra point to tie the game at 7 which would be the score at halftime.

Masco would regain the lead on a 63-yard touchdown, setup by a screen pass from quarterback Matt Brockelman to tailback Peter Kitsakos making it 14-7.

The Hornets tied the game again with 4:53 left in regulation, as they were winning the field position game, starting the drive at the Masco 28 yard line. It only took the home team six plays to get into the end zone, concluding with a Bedell run of 5 yards. D’Ambrosio’s point-after try went through the goal posts to tie the game at 14.

The Chieftains had one more chance to win the game before overtime, as their offense gave their kicker a chance to win the game but Bill Garten’s kick from 25-yards out was blocked with five seconds left in the fourth quarter to force overtime.

North Reading lost the coin toss with Masco who elected to defend first. In high school football, the ball is placed at the defense’s 10 yard line while both teams get a possession each. It took North Reading three plays to get into the end zone on a D’Ambrosio 3-yard run to the left, finally giving the Hornets their first lead of the game. The Green and Gold would go for the two-point conversion but were stopped a yard short. 

Masco tried to answer but could not as they got a 3-yard run gain to start their overtime drive but ended the game with three straight incompletions in a row by Brockelman, including the last one towards the end zone, but Hornet defenseman Mike Sheridan knocked the ball away to complete the 20-14 upset.

The Green and Gold are now 4-2 on the season and 3-0 in the Cape Ann League’s Kinney division. With the win, they clinched a share of the division title with Masco and can win the title outright with a win tomorrow night at Newburyport. The Clippers are 3-2 overall and 3-1 in the CAL Kinney division thanks to a win over Pentucket, 21-13, last Friday night. This game could be another great one and it starts at 7 p.m.