Published in the September 27, 2018 edition


BEDFORD — The Hornet football team is now 2-1 in 2018 after traveling to Bedford and besting the Buccaneers last Friday night, 23-18.

While Bedford scored the same number of touchdowns as the Green and Gold — three — the Buccaneers could not tally any points afterward. The Hornets not only got an extra point but also successfully turned two two-point conversions, which made all the difference in this contest. 

“Our team battled. It was another tough game,” said first year Hornet head coach Eddie Blum. “Bedford, especially in their first home game, just brought it and took it to the next level. We were getting the best effort and the kids fought it to the end and that’s all we could ask of them.”

THE HORNETS stand at 2-1 after their 23-18 win over Bedford last week. North Reading travels to Byfield on Friday for their second league game of the season to take on the 0-3 Triton Vikings. (Bob Currier Photo)

It was a fast start for the home team, as Bedford got on the scoreboard first, helped out by a Hornet fumble deep into their own territory, setting up the touchdown by running back Tyler Dussault from two yards out. The extra point was blocked to keep it 6-0, Buccaneers.

The Green and Gold would answer immediately with a score of their own thanks to a short kickoff by Bedford. The drive took only four plays to reach the end zone as sophomore running back Bill O’Leary scored on an option play from 9 yards out. The extra point went through for senior captain Alex D’Ambrosio to give North Reading the lead, 7-6, with 3:30 left in the first quarter.

Before the first quarter was complete, the Buccaneers would regain the lead on another touchdown by Dussault, this time from three yards out. Bedford went for the two-point conversion and failed, so Buccaneers only led by 6, 12-6.

MIKE MIKULA had himself a day during North Reading’s 23-18 win over Bedford. The senior scored two touchdowns: a 12-yard reception from Matt Solecki in the second quarter and a 9-yard run in the third quarter. (Bob Currier Photo)

North Reading would grab the lead for the second time on a beautiful pass by senior captain quarterback Matt Solecki. He found senior wideout Mike Mikula, who was covered by two defenders, in the end zone for a 12-yard score.

The two-point conversion was scored on a run by junior receiver Jack Keller, giving the Hornets the lead, 15-12.

Solecki and the passing game were a little bit more consistent than the week before. He went 10 for 13 for 84 yards, with that touchdown.

The score stayed this way until there were 20 seconds left in the third quarter. On a misdirection play from the backfield, the ball was given to Mikula who scored from 9 yards out. The two-point conversion was made, this time on a run by O’Leary and it was the biggest lead of the ballgame, 23-12.

Bedford would get the last touchdown of the contest with a score on a fumble recovery by Dussault of his own fumble. He barely got the ball across the goal line. Yet again, the two-point attempt was no good and it was 23-18 with 3:41 left in regulation.

The Green and Gold got the ball back and proceeded to ice the game with rushes that included a run by O’Leary, who was tackled by a gang of Buccaneer defenders but refused to go down. His effort earned a first down, forcing Bedford to call their last timeout. The Hornets were able to kneel on the last two plays to complete the victory.

Beginning tomorrow night, North Reading plays within its own division, taking on the Triton Vikings, who are 0-3.

The game will be held at Triton Regional High School in Byfield. The last time the Hornets traveled to Triton two years ago, they spoiled the Vikings’ re-christening of their new stadium with a 41-13 blowout win.

Kickoff is at 7 p.m.