2-0 Melrose football gets the job done in Waltham

Published in the September 25, 2015 edition

SENIOR QB Julian Nyland ran for 2 touchdowns last Friday night in Melrose's 37-10 win over Waltham. Melrose hosts Burlington tonight at 7:00 p.m. at Fred Green Field. (Donna Larsson photo) 

SENIOR QB Julian Nyland ran for 2 touchdowns last Friday night in Melrose’s 37-10 win over Waltham. Melrose hosts Burlington tonight at 7:00 p.m. at Fred Green Field. (Donna Larsson photo)


MELROSE — The Melrose Red Raider football team continues to make a name for itself among division rivals after a convincing 37-10 win over Waltham last Friday night at Leary Field in Waltham. With the victory, Melrose advances to 2-0, perched on top of league and Div. 3 Northwest standings.

Melrose senior quarterback Julian Nyland ran for two touchdowns, including a 57-yarder in the fourth that sealed the deal for an overwhelmed Hawks team, whose only touchdown occurred in the third quarter, after falling to a disadvantage of 30-3. Melrose running backs Mike Pedrini and Jay Tyler found the end zone in the second quarter, helping Melrose take a lead of 23-3 in the half.

It was a big night for Melrose defense, who made it difficult for the Hawks to convert first downs much of the evening. One of the key moments of the night came from the stellar work of senior captain Brian Mercer, who forced a touchback on Hawk quarterback Aaron Jamal to give Melrose a 9-0 advantage in the first. Another playmaker was Melrose’s Cameron Hickey, who helped push Jamal into that dangerous territory with a sack, while Melrose’s Dan Oulette looked strong, breaking up passes to prevent the Hawks from completing passes during the drive.

Melrose defense also shut down Waltham’s only red zone opportunity when the Hawks recovered a fumbled Melrose punt return on their own 5 yard line in the second quarter. However, they had to answer to Hickey, who single-handedly drove Hawk offense back from the 5 yard line to the 23 on a series of sacks and tackles, forcing Waltham to kick a field goal, making what could have been a 16-7 game, a 16-3 one.

At halftime Melrose had a healthy lead of 23-3 after junior Mike Pedrini took off untouched down the left sideline for a 64 yard touchdown which took most of the air out of Waltham’s game. The teams traded scores in the third, with Nyland connecting with Ryan Censullo on a touchdown pass that brought the lead to 30-3. After a Hawks score on the next drive, the fleet-footed Nyland topped it off by hoofing 57 yards for the final score of the night, 37-10.

At 2-0, Melrose has eliminated any worries about losing their admired, Super Bowl-ready offense of 2014. In two games the Raiders have scored 78 points, higher than most teams in their division. Defensively, the Raiders have limited opponents to 24 points in two games.

However, their league play is only just beginning. Melrose hosts a tricky Burlington (1-1) squad this Friday, Sept. 25, at 7 p.m. at Fred Green Field. Melrose had no trouble beating the Red Devils last fall but Burlington was a young team who now return with their quarterback Dylan Bonfilio and a lights-out running back, Chenet Guerrier. Should Melrose defense clamp down on the speedy Guerrier, they may find themselves on a flat-out winning streak.

Middlesex Freedom League Standings

W-L     Pct.     PF      PA   Strk

Melrose         2-0     1.000     78     24   2 W

Watertown     2-0     1.000    69     35   2 W

Stoneham     2-1     0.667     58     46   2 W

Burlington     1-1     0.500     48     32   1 W

Wilmington    1-1     0.500    38     47  1 W

Wakefield      0-2     0.000    14     55