NR hosts Newburyport tomorrow for CAL Kinney first place

Published in the October 18, 2018 edition


BOXFORD — The North Reading football Hornets went to the always-tough grounds of Masconomet Regional High School and came away winners for the first time in years, as they defeated the Chieftains, 14-6.

The game was riddled with turnovers but North Reading won the battle as the gridmen gave the pigskin away four times to Masco’s five.

For first year Hornet Head Coach Ed Blum, it was nice recovery game for his gang as they lost the week before, at home to Pentucket.

JACK KELLER caught another touchdown from captain Matt Solecki during NR’s victory over Masco on Friday. Keller and Solecki reversed roles for the Hornets’ first touchdown as the junior wide receiver passed to the senior quarterback for a 9-yard score. (John Friberg File Photo)

“It was a hell of a response from the players,” said Blum. “That Pentucket game was tough for us. It was a tough week of practice, we tried to push them and really challenge them and they responded. They come out here, each and every player just battled and battled. They played with lot of heart tonight and toughness. I’m very proud of them.”

The first score of the game did not come until 8:25 was left in the second quarter, with a trick play, as junior receiver Jack Keller was given the ball and then he threw to the regular passer, senior captain quarterback Matt Solecki, a 9-yard pass to the front of the end zone for 6 points. Keller then would get a direct snap during the two-point conversion try and crossed the end zone scoring all of the possible 8 points. The conversion would end up being huge.

The Green and Gold would increase the lead to 14-0, as the same two players who scored the first touchdown combined for the next TD, this time in their regular roles, as QB Solecki found receiver Keller for a 15-yard connection. This time the two-point attempt was no good, so North Reading had a two possession lead going into halftime.

CAPTAIN Mike Sheridan (55), junior Jimmy Currier (9) and the Hornet defense was a force all night against Masco, shutting out the home team’s offense. Masco’s only touchdown occurred on a pick-six. (Courtesy Photo)

The Hornets would get the ball to start the second half, but on the third play of the half, Solecki had a throw swatted out of the air and landed in the arms by Bill Garten, who went into the end zone. 

The Hornet defense was sensational in the victory and was much improved over the performance the week before. They controlled the line very well and held the slightly bigger offensive line in check. The Chieftains could not get anything going offensively, with only 117 yards of total yardage from the line of scrimmage. They got key turnovers and tackles from senior captain’s Alex D’Ambrosio and Mike Sheridan, juniors Sean McCullough, Ryan Kavanaugh, and Keller and sophomore Zach Sampson.

The Hornets are now 4-2 overall and 2-1 in the Cape Ann League Kinney Division. That sets up what is basically a one-game playoff with the Newburyport Clippers, who have the same exact record going into tomorrow’s night regular season finale at the Arthur J. Kenney Field.

The Clippers defeated Pentucket 17-14 last Saturday afternoon, to knock the Sachems out of division contention. If North Reading wins, they will capture their third straight Cape Ann League title for the first time in school history and move on to the state playoffs for the fourth straight year. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.