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Raiders fall to Pentucket in D4 semi final

Varsity - 2013 Season
Posted Tuesday, November 12, 2013 by Joe Grillo
Raiders fall to Pentucket in D4 semi final

By Frank Santarpio

The Watertown High football team's dream of playing a Superbowl at Gillette Stadium this season ended at the hands of number one seeded Pentucket in a 23-13 loss on Saturday, November 9 in a Division Four North semi-final matchup held in West Newbury.

The Raiders fell behind two touchdowns early in the game and although they stayed with the Sachems nearly the whole way they never were able to recover from their poor start.

"Although we kept fighting all game long as we always do that was certainly a tough hole to dig out of," Watertown head coach John Cacace said. "But I give all the credit in the world to Pentucket. They are a very good football team."
Watertown got the ball first and drove all the way down to the Sachem 23-yard line but an interception by Pentucket defensive back Liam Corkery ended the threat.

The Sachems then proceeded to march 60 yards on 12 plays to take a 7-0 lead when junior fullback Andrew Noyes (2 touchdowns) capped off the drive with a 20-yard touchdown run to open the scoring.

Noyes, who finished the game with 73 yards rushing on 13 carries, then scored for the second time in the half with just 1:18 left before intermission when he barreled in from five yards out to put his team up 14-0.

"I thought the momentum we got from the beginning of this game brought us all the way through," Noyes said.

Watertown, though, came right back when they scored a huge touchdown with just five seconds left to go before halftime when junior quarterback Nick Giordano (16-27, 186 yards, 1TD) hooked up with senior receiver T.J. Hairston (5 catches, 42 yards) from five yards out to cut the deficit back down to seven.

At that point the Raiders were feeling good about their chances of completing the comeback.

"That was a great drive,” Cacace said of his team's first score. "We handled the pressure of the two minute drill extremely well and we felt really good when we scored. But it seemed like every time we earned ourselves some momentum Pentucket would then take it away from us."

Such was the case in the third quarter when the Sachems got the ball first and promptly marched downfield for another score. Running back D.J. Engelke (10 carries, 104 yards) finished off a long drive with a five yard touchdown run less than four minutes into the second half to give Pentucket their 14 point lead back at 21-7.

Watertown, though, again responded to a two-touchdown deficit when Mike Petrillo (13 carries, 46 yards, 1 TD) found the end zone from the Sachem 5-yard line to make it a 21-13 game. The big play on that drive was a long completion from Giordano to junior Austin Farry (6 catches, 110 yards) to put the Raiders deep in Sachem territory.

"That was another great response by our team," Cacace said. "I thought our offensive line deserved credit for the way they played. They helped get us back in the game on a couple of occasions."

Watertown's defense then clamped down and got their offense the ball back a couple of times with a chance to tie the score but the game tying drive eventually eluded them.

"It seemed like all game long we had poor field position and that really hurt us in the end," Cacace said. "We also made some costly penalties when we had the ball."

Late in the game with the Raiders still down just one possession, a nice punt from Ryan Kuchar, who is also the Sachems quarterback on offense and defensive back on defense, backed Watertown up deep in their own territory at the 9-yard line.

Two plays later Giordano was sacked in the end zone by sophomore Noah Malki with just over three minutes left to salt this one away.

"I thought he made the biggest play of the game," Noyes said of his teammate's safety. "He was unreal out there all game. We all knew coming into this game that we were in for a battle but we came through."

The Sachems (8-1) will now move on to the Division Four North championship game against third seeded Bedford, who defeated Lynnfield 14-7 in the other D-4 semi-final.

Meanwhile the fifth seeded Raiders will take on the third seeded Lynnfield squad Friday night (November 15) at Victory Field in hopes of extending their winning season streak to five straight years.

"Having another winning season was one of our main goals this year," Cacace said. "It is a real important game for us. I couldn't be more proud of this team for the heart and effort they showed against Pentucket and I know they will bring that type of character again the rest of the way as they have all season long."

Read more: Football: Watertown Raiders fall to Pentucket in D4 semi final - Watertown, MA - Watertown TAB http://www.wickedlocal.com/watertown/news/x348807489/Football-Watertown-Raiders-fall-to-Pentucket-in-D4-semi-final#ixzz2kRWsJSMu
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