DeMar Happy with His First Win, but Far from Satisfied
WESTFORD -- Ryan DeMar certainly wasn’t doing cartwheels after his first victory as a head coach on Saturday night. He did watch his team celebrate with the fans after the game, but made sure that it didn’t last all that long.
“This feels good,” he said after leading North Middlesex Regional to a 14-8 victory over Mid-Wach B foe Groton-Dunstable at Nashoba Tech. “We played a full game, meaning our offense put up some points and our defense held. We have a lot of work to do, though. We are shooting to be contenders in the league. We want to do bigger and better things. I’m going to go over there and give them about five more seconds to celebrate and then we’re on to Auburn. This is the mindset and I’m hoping this will change the culture here.”
The Patriots were coming off a 28-7 loss to Grafton and wanted to make they got off to a strong start. North Middlesex took the opening kickoff and put together an 11-play, 62-yard drive which took up 7:03 off the clock and was capped by a 3-yard TD run by junior running back Adam Fournier (21 carries, 76 yards). John O’Friel followed with his first of two PAT kicks.
The score remained 7-0 until early in the third quarter. After holding G-D (0-2) to a three-and-out, the Patriots took over on their own 35. Facing third-and-eight from their 37, QB Joshua LeBlanc connected for his first pass of the night to Timothy Burson for a 34-yard reception. Three plays later, on his first carry of the night, sophomore back Mark Thomas scored on an 19-yard run up the gut, and the kick made it 14-0 with 5:39 left in the third.
With about a minute left in the third, still 14-0, North Middlesex junior linebacker Derek Higgins sacked G-D quarterback Bradley teDuits for a 9-yard loss, giving the Crusaders just 37 total yards of offense at that time. On the next play, teDuits found Jack Barry open down the right sideline for a 36-yard completion. Six plays later, teDuits scampered in the end zone on an 8-yard keeper play and Tim Stark followed with a conversion rush, making it 14-8 with 9:32 left.
Neither team got the ball past midfield the rest of the way. G-D gained two first downs on the game’s final drive, but momentum ended on a sack by Reed Callahan which pushed the ball back to the Crusaders’ 25 with about 30 seconds left. Callahan had two sacks, while Higgins and Nathan Zacharakis had single ones.
“We have a little ways to go but it was nice to get the win, nice to be able to get some different guys in there, and who all contributed,” said DeMar. “It was a good team effort and we had a lot of guys stepping up tonight.”
The Crusaders were led by teDuits, who finished 11-for-16 for 111 yards, and Connor Townsend, who rushed for 32 yards and had a very strong all-around game.
“We got it going a little bit later in the game,” said G-D head coach Tom Sousa. “We struggled early. We have some kids who can play. Certainly our quarterback showed his ability. We got some other guys too. (After that opening drive) we played much better on defense. We just need to continue to work the defense and get the offense going as we did in the fourth quarter a little bit.”
NORTH MIDDLESEX 14, GROTON-DUNSTABLE 8
at Nashoba Valley Tech
Groton-Dunstable (0-2) 0 0 0 8 -8
North Middlesex (1-1) 7 0 7 0 -14
NM: Adam Fournier 3 run (John O’Friel kick)
NM: Mark Thomas 19 run (O’Friel kick)
G-D: Bradley teDuits 8 run (Tim Stark rush)
Passing: NM, Joshua LeBlanc 2-for-8, 55 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs; GD, Bradley teDuits 11-for-16, 111 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs.
Rushing: NM, Adam Fournier 21-76, Mark Thomas 3-18, Ryan McGrath 6-13; GD, Nate Townsend 12-32.
Receiving: NM, Timothy Burson 1-34; John O’Friel 1-21; GD, Jack Barry 3-50; Dougie Tompkins 1-28; Jackson Graham 2-17; Ben Rivet 3-16.