Patriots Football Passes Latest Test
C-C contained the high-flying, spread offense of Lexington on Friday night. That's something they couldn't accomplish in the 2010 Div. 2A Super Bowl last December.
The scouting report on the Concord-Carlisle High football team says it can be beat through the air. The results, certainly not good the last time the Patriots faced a spread offense, the 2010 MIAA Div. 2A Super Bowl.
But some opponents may have to alter their book on C-C following Friday night, when Lexington High, a Div. 2 opponent, brought its up-tempo, no-huddle offense to Memorial Field.
The defense bent early, but never broke as the Patriots defeated the Minutemen 40-14 in non-league action. It was C-C’s first victory over the school it will forever be linked to — see, American Revolution — since 2005.
“We’re seeing more and more spread teams, so it was great to be able to cage a quarterback,” C-C coach Mike Robichaud said, "and, for the most part, contain him. It was a big challenge and I’m glad we could step up to it.”
C-C’s defense forced three turnovers in the game, an interception each for senior Henry Bumpus and freshman Will Blumenberg and a fumble recovery for senior Thomas Kleyn that he returned 25 yards for a touchdown. He had another on offense as well.
The Minuteman offense also turned the ball over on downs five times, not including the last series of the night.
“We’ve got the athletes there’s no question about it,” first-year LHS coach George Peterson said. “This is the right type of offense for athletes that we have. We just have to put it all together. When you allow 40 points, offense isn’t the problem.”
On the other side, Concord-Carlisle once again relied on its multi-faceted running game and was successful in doing so. The Patriots opened a 20-0 lead after the first quarter and added the rest of its 40 points in the third to shut the door on the Minutemen.
They went to work early running the ball with an opening drive that lasted 11 plays and covered 71 yards. Senior George Craan (19 carries, 167 yards) punched it into the end zone from 10 yards out for the first of his two touchdowns. Junior Evan Boynton’s kick made it 7-0 Patriots.
Lexington moved the ball well on its first drive to advance to C-C’s 25 yard-line. But the offense sputtered there with two incomplete passes on third- and fourth-and-9.
The very next play, Craan rushed for 10 yards up the middle and fumbled the ball away. Kleyn, a guard, scooped it and scampered the remaining 65 yards for his first career touchdown. The score was 14-0 Patriots with 4 minutes, 10 seconds to go in the period.
“When you see him do stuff like that, although he’s never done that before, it’s not a surprise,” Robichaud said. "When he practices he’s scooping balls, he’s getting to balls and he’s doing everything 1,000 miles per hour. To see him cap it off in a game situation … was really great to see.”
C-C forced a punt on Lexington’s next possession and then added to its lead once more in the first quarter. This time it was junior Tim Badgely who put the exclamation point on a drive, taking the ball the final 30 yards to the end zone on an inside reverse. Boynton’s PAT was blocked, so the Patriots were up 20-0 with 4 seconds to go.
Lexington had its shots in the second quarter. It opened with a 12-play drive that advanced to the Patriots’ 16 for third-and-11.
An incomplete pass and an offsides call on C-C made it fourth-and-6 at the 11-yard line. Unable to find an open receiver, senior quarterback Connor Murray (13-for-30 passing, 111 yards) scrambled to the left but only picked up four yards before he was pushed out of bounds.
Earlier in the drive, Blumenberg saved a touchdown for C-C by knocking the ball out of the hands of LHS receiver Shane Foley (four catches, 61 yards) in the end zone.
Chances for the Minutemen wouldn’t end there. Craan fumbled on the ensuing possession and Lexington’s Keith Young recovered it to give his team the ball back on C-C’s 9-yard line.
On first-and-goal senior Nick Murray carried for no gain. Second-and-goal was an imcomplete pass and a 12-man penalty pushed the Minutemen back to the 14-yard line on third-and-goal. A pass to senior Samir Pathan (three catches, 15 yards) and then a muffed shotgun snap on fourth-and-goal back at the 9 squandered another opportunity.
Lexington finally broke through on the first drive of the second half with a play for the ages on which the Murray twins connected. Under pressure, Connor scrambled to the right into a wall of Patriot defenders, but somehow flipped a pass to brother Nick. He cut across the field and ran the rest of the 32 yards to put the Minutemen on the scoreboard.
The two-point attempt failed, making it 20-6 Patriots with just 2 minutes gone in the third quarter.
However, next time down was the back-breaker for Concord-Carlisle. It started on Lexington’s 44-yard line and turned into another nice drive that ended in a touchdown, the second of the night for Badgley (eight carries, 68 yards).
Only then did Robichaud breath a little easier, he said.
“It was big,” Robichaud said of Badgley’s second touchdown. “[Lexington] was tenacious and they continued to make plays. We had stalled a few times on offense and got in our own way with penalties.”
C-C added two more scores to salt the game away in the third quarter: a 21-yard run by Craan and Kleyn’s defensive fumble recovery after Tom Crowley sacked Connor Murray to pop the ball loose.
Lexington added its second touchdown of the game on a 58-yard run by Nick Murray early in the fourth quarter.
Concord-Carlisle will continue its non-league slate at the Dual County League Large Division’s Waltham High next Friday night. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. Lexington will also play a DCL Large school as it will travel to Acton-Boxborough on Friday.