CHELMSFORD – The Chelmsford Lions are still winless after dropping a heartbreaker and instant classic to the Malden Golden Tornadoes, 42-36, in double overtime Friday night at Chelmsford High.
After both teams scored touchdowns and two-point conversions in the first overtime, Malden got the game-winning score in the second overtime as quarterback Jared Martino escaped a diving sack attempt and found Robert Green in the back of the end zone.
Chelmsford stopped the ensuing two-point conversion, but could not respond on their possession, as a last-ditch effort by quarterback Kyler Brown on 4th & goal from the 10 was well-defended.
It has been a season of close calls and tough breaks for Bruce Rich’s Chelmsford squad, which fell to 0-5, but he knows the effort is there.
“We’ve just got to ask the team to make the same effort they’ve been making all year long,” he said.
Malden looked to have the game wrapped up in the fourth quarter when Marino DiPietrantonio blocked and recovered a punt in the Chelmsford end zone to put the Golden Tornaodes up 28-21.
The Lions still had life, however, and tied the game after being set up by a 19-yard punt that put the ball at the Malden 37. Passes from Kyler Brown to Joe Levesque of 14 and 17 yards gave Tyrone Phet, who amassed 148 all-purpose yards and scored all five Chlemsford touchdowns, the opportunity to dive in from one yard out to tie the game at 28.
Malden’s Danley Exilhomme started the game out with a bang, as he shot out of the backfield like a cannon on the first play from scrimmage to net a 68-yard touchdown rush.
The Lions responded on their first drive, albeit in a more deliberate fashion. Only two of the 11 plays on the drive went for double-digit yards, and four gained no yards at all. But thanks to pass interference and face mask penalties on Malden, the Lions were eventually able to feed the ball to Phet for a 2-yard touchdown plunge to tie the game at 7.
After each team stalled on their next drive, Malden took the lead again with 7:07 to go in the second quarter. Faced with 4th & 11 from the Chelmsford 17, quarterback Jared Martino was flushed from the pocket to his right, but he managed to throw across his body to a wide-open Robert Green on the left side of the field for a touchdown.
Chelmsford scored on their next drive with a little more finesse. Offered a short field thanks to a 24-yard kickoff return by Tim McNamara, the Lions needed just four plays and 1:17 to travel 60 yards, 40 of which came on Phet’s game-tying touchdown rush up the middle.
Phet added a 63-yard touchdown reception, his only catch of the day, and shed multiple defenders to do so, to put the Lions up 21-14 early in the second half. Rich described that as the best play he’s seen Phet make all year.
“He had a great night,” Rich said. “He’s played great for us all year.”
The Chelmsford defense had six sacks and an interception.