NR will host Wayland in 1st round tomorrow night

Published in the October 26, 2017 edition

THE HORNET defense swarmed Newburyport quarterback Owen Bradbury all night during NR’s victory over the Clippers on Friday. In on the play for the Hornets are seniors Colin Boucher (77) and Josh Bedell (33). (Bob Currier Photo)


NEWBURYPORT — For the second straight year, the North Reading Football Hornets are champions of the Cape Ann League Kinney division outright, thanks to 32-13 victory on the road over the Newburyport Clippers.

Again, the Hornets were without some key offensive players but like when the New England Patriots lose a player due to an injury, the “next man up” mentality fills the role and hopefully the transition is seamless. The  “next man up,” for North Reading last Friday night was junior running back Alex D’Ambrosio, who ended up with 127 yards rushing yards, a touchdown and a field goal.

“We seem to rely on different players each week and the players seem to always step up,” said two-time division champion Hornets head coach, Jeff Wall. “The kids played hard tonight. We been through a lot of adversity this year, so it’s great to see this group come together; they did what they needed to do to win. I’m proud of them.”

The Green and Gold received the ball first but would turn it over on a fumble. Newburyport would take advantage of the turnover and turn it into the first touchdown of the game on a 32-yard rush by Myles Maloof to give the Clippers a 7-0 lead.

As they have done all season, the Hornets did not let the turnover turned into a score affect them. North Reading answered immediately, as on their next drive D’Ambrosio would find the end zone on a 18-yard toss from freshman quarterback Brian Heffernan. D’Ambrosio attempted to kick the extra point to account for all seven points on the first score of the game for North Reading but the kick was blocked. Sophomore Jack Keller picked the ball up and crossed the end zone for the two-point conversion instead, giving the Hornets an 8-7 advantage.

Keller, on the pursuing kickoff would recover the onside kick, for the third successful attempt of the season.

The Green and Gold dominated the second quarter, scoring two touchdowns before halftime, getting one on a two-yard catch by junior Mike Mikula from Heffernan. The combination would strike again for the second score, this time going 16 yards, giving Heffernan the hat trick of touchdowns in the first half. D’Ambrosio would kick both extra points through the uprights, giving North Reading a 22-7 lead at the half.

The Clippers would cut their deficit to eight on a 19-yard catch by Noah Van Scwalwyk but that would be the closest they would get as the Green and Gold pulled away in the fourth quarter when D’Ambrosio kicked a 26-yard field goal for his 11th point of the contest. Ryan Edison on the pursuing drive would put the icing on the cake with a 32-yard scamper to the end zone to complete the 32-13 blowout.

The Hornets completed the 2017 regular season with a four-game win streak and an overall record of 5-2. The division champs are on to the MIAA North Division 4 quarterfinals, where they are placed as the fourth seed and will host the fifth seeded 4-3 Wayland Warriors, who won the Dual County Small Division thanks to a 4-0 record within their division. The Green and Gold are hoping to go a step beyond where they ended up last season, as they were defeated in the playoff final by Marblehead. The NR-Wayland winner will take on the winner of the Melrose-Dracut game. The game will take place tomorrow night at 7 p.m. at the Arthur J. Kenney Field.