Published in the November 12, 2015 edition

HORNETS 1, REFEREE 0. The ref goes down as a host of Hornets, led by Nick Copelas, (16), tackle the Watertown ball carrier. (John Friberg Photo)

HORNETS 1, REFEREE 0. The ref goes down as a host of Hornets, led by Nick Copelas, (16), tackle the Watertown ball carrier. (John Friberg Photo)


NORTH READING — The North Reading football Hornets were eliminated from the MIAA Division 4 North playoffs last Friday night, as they were defeated 31–7 by the Watertown Raiders at home. But North Reading Head Coach Jeff Wall is still proud of his team despite his disappointment in the loss.

“I’m proud of the kids, they kept fighting till the end,” said Coach Wall. “I told them after the game ‘don’t let this game define this season and it doesn’t define you as a player or a person.’ It hurts because they worked so hard and just tough to see them walk off the field.”

Both team offenses started off slowly because both defenses were dominant, so the first quarter went scoreless. The second quarter was a little more action packed as Watertown got on the scoreboard first, thanks to a quarterback rush by Dion Smith that went 66 yards for a touchdown. The extra point was converted by kicker Conor Kennelly and the Raiders had a 7-0 lead.

It did not take the Green and Gold long to answer, as on the very next play from the line of scrimmage, junior running back Matt McCarthy broke some tackles and scrambled 61 yards for the score. Senior kicker Angelo Disanto tacked on the extra point, tying the game at 7.

That would be the closest that North Reading got all night, as Smith would take over the game and the Raiders went on a 24–0 run to complete the win. Smith was a problem the Hornet defense could not solve and the Raider offense was well balanced and formidable.

The game winning touchdown come after Watertown secured good field position, starting at the Hornet 35 thanks to nifty run back after the Hornet touchdown and only it took seven plays for Smith go into the end zone for the second time in the quarter and another extra-point by Kennelly, 14-7 Watertown.

Smith quite simply dominated the second half, as he scored two additional touchdowns – one again on the ground and the other on a 30-yard throw to Watertown receiver Kyle Foley. Smith would run for an amazing total of 292 yards and it was by far the most dominating performance by a player in a long time against North Reading.

The Green and Gold are now 7-2 in the 2015 season and have one game before the Thanksgiving Classic against the Lynnfield Pioneers and that will be held this Friday night on the road against Bedford. The Buccaneers also lost last Friday night, 27–13 in the MIAA Division 4 North Playoffs against Stoneham, who will be playing Watertown this weekend for a chance to go to the Division 4 Super Bowl.

Kickoff is at 7 p.m.