Hornets travel to Melrose for D4N semifinals Friday

Published in the November 2, 2017 edition

STORMING THE FIELD – Hornet fans pose with some of the victorious players after the big win over Wayland in the D4N quarterfinals on Friday. (John Friberg Photo)


NORTH READING — The North Reading Football Hornets have advanced to the semifinals of the MIAA Division 4 North playoffs as they defeated the Wayland Warriors on a last second field goal by Alex D’Ambrosio, giving the Hornets a 17-14 victory last Friday night at the friendly confines of Arthur Kenney Field.

The field goal was set up on great runs by Jake Bedell, who had three of his seven carries on the drive go for over 15 yards. For North Reading head coach Jeff Wall, the final drive was the perfect storm for his team to win the ballgame.

“We have a bunch of competitors out there on the field. I know Bedell wanted that ball at the end,” said Wall. “We went down the field and took it to them. We relied on the seniors to take care of business and they did.”

Time literally stood still during the game as the scoreboard at  Kenney Field was off the whole game and  had not been functioning throughout the week according to people who had been working at the field during other athletic events.

The scoreboard wasn’t needed anyways, that is until the middle of the second quarter as the Green-and-Gold scored first with a Bedell 3-yard scamper into the end zone. D’Ambrosio would kick the extra point to give the Hornets a 7-0 lead at half time.

The Hornets’ defense really improved as the season progressed and it showed during the game as they were getting big time tackles and sacks by the likes of senior captain Jackson DeAngelo, and seniors Tim Sanger and Nick Arena to help the Hornets keep the Wayland offense at bay.

Wayland would end up tying the game at 7 in the third quarter, but on the first offensive drive of the fourth quarter, the Hornets regained the lead on an 18-yard run by Ryan Edison. After another D’Ambrosio extra point try went through the goal posts, the Green-and-Gold were back up by 7.

Wayland would answer again to tie the game up at 14 with an impressive drive.

According to the officials, the tying score occurred at 3:23 left in regulation time, which would be enough time for the Hornets to win the ballgame.

The Hornets’ nine-play drive looked like it ended with a tie as North Reading got to the 1-yard line of Wayland and although it appeared that Edison had crossed the goal line with the football, the officials said he was stopped with no time left in the game. However, Wayland was penalized with an offsides call, setting up a field goal try by D’Ambrosio, that was shorter than a point after touchdown. For D’Ambrosio, he has to face pressure every day at practice, so he was used to it. If he does not make his kicks in practice, his PAT team has to run laps.

“That’s more pressure then that kick at the end of the game,” joked D’Ambrosio. “I was just focused in on it and made it.”

The 6-2 Hornets move on to play the number one-seeded Melrose Red Raiders (8-0) Friday night at Melrose High School with a 7 p.m. kickoff. The Red Raiders are coming off a 14-10 win over Dracut. North Reading could be on a collision course with Marblehead again, as winner of the game will take on the winner of Marblehead and Wilmington. Marblehead knocked out the Hornets in the Division 2A North championship last season.