MIAA Football: Special teams pave way for G-D win over Westborough

GROTON – It’s not often that the punting unit ends up being the deciding factor in a tightly-contested ballgame.

But that’s exactly what happened Thursday night as Groton-Dunstable Crusaders punter Kyle Battles and his coverage team forced three muffed punts that led to 14 G-D points and a 20-13 victory over the Westborough Rangers at G-DRHS.

The win evened the Crusaders’ record at 2-2, while the Rangers fell to 1-3.

After falling behind 7-0 with 4:03 left in the first quarter and failing to convert on a 3rd-and-17, Battles let off a booming punt that glanced off the Westborough return man, unbeknownst to him. The Crusaders coverage team pounced on the ball, and after discussion by the officials, they retained possession. This led to a 19-yard touchdown pass from Bradley teDuits (11-of-13, 127 yards) to Tristan Naboicheck, tying the game at 7.

On their next drive, the Crusaders got the eventual winning score as teDuits lofted a 37-yard jump ball to Sam Battles, who skied over his defender in the corner of the end zone to make it 14-7.

Kyle Battles and the Crusader punt team struck again shortly before halftime. After their offense was knocked back three yards on 3rd-and-1, Battles spotted a punt perfectly at the Westborough 1-yard line, which they again failed to field cleanly, leading to a recovery and a one-yard score by Shamus Gelinas.

Michael Keogh led the Rangers offense with 11 carries for 95 yards and both Ranger touchdowns. He and fellow running backs Martin Moran and Jacob Clancy had to shoulder the load as the Crusader defense held quarterback Peter Lamountain to 5-of-11 passing for 52 yards and a one-handed interception by G-D’s Tim Stark.

G-D head coach Tom Sousa was relieved to finally have a competitive game after being shut out by 40+ points in two of their first three games and winning 42-8 over North Middlesex in between.

“It was a gritty win,” Sousa said. “It wasn’t pretty in any way, but we had to battle, and we got that done. That’s a win we can definitely feel good about.”



GROTON-DUNSTABLE 20, WESTBOROUGH 13

W (1-3) – 7 0 0 6 – 13
GD (2-2) – 7 13 0 0 – 20

SCORING PLAYS

W – Michael Keogh 1 yard rush (Mac Bradley kick)
GD – Bradley teDuits 19 yard pass to Tristan Naboicheck (Kyle Battles kick)
GD – teDuits 37 yard pass to Sam Battles (K. Battles kick)
GD – Shamus Gelinas 1 yard rush (kick failed)
W – Keogh 8 yard rush (rush failed)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING

W: Keogh 11-95, 2 TD, Martin Moran 10-61, Jacob Clancy 8-49
GD: Gelinas 19-59, TD.

PASSING

GD: teDuits 11-13-127, 2 TD.

RECEIVING

GD: S. Battles 3-56, TD; Ryan teDuits 4-38; Naboicheck 2-31, TD

G-D squeaks by Tyngsboro for another Thanksgiving win

Groton-Dunstable Crusaders running back Shane Dawson, left, and head coach Tom Sousa pose with Dawson's game MVP trophy and the Colonel Prescott Cup

Groton-Dunstable Crusaders running back Shane Dawson, left, and head coach Tom Sousa pose with Dawson’s game MVP trophy and the Colonel Prescott Cup after defeating the Tyngsboro Tigers in their annual Thanksgiving clash.

TYNGSBORO – Thanksgiving is all about traditions. As far as the Groton-Dunstable Crusaders are concerned, one of them is beating the Tyngsboro Tigers on Thanksgiving.

And thanks to a Shane Dawson touchdown rush with 18 seconds remaining, the Crusaders continued that tradition with a 20-18 win at Pierce Field.

It was the sixth consecutive Colonel Prescott Cup victory for the Crusaders (7-4) and sixth consecutive win to end the season. Three consecutive G-D senior classes have never lost to Tyngsboro (5-6).

Down 18-13 with 4:10 remaining, the Crusaders marched 71 yards in 16 plays, converting two third downs and two fourth downs along the way. After being stopped a blade of turf short of the goal line on first and goal, Dawson (15 carries, 143 yards, two touchdowns) plunged in on the very next play to give the Crusaders the win.

“There was no question where we were going to go with the ball, and I’m sure [Tyngsboro] knew too,” G-D head coach Tom Sousa said. “He just wasn’t going to be denied.”

Quarterback Michael Tammaro, wearing no. 12 for the Crusaders, managed the offense like a different no. 12, notching five of his eight completions on the final drive.

“Michael has a ton of talent,” Sousa said. “He’s going to be a very key leader for us next year. He’s a junior and he wanted to win it for our seniors.”



Dawson scored all three touchdowns for the Crusaders. His first came on his first touch of the game, a 76-yard carry in the first quarter to give the Crusaders a 6-0 lead. In the second quarter, he intercepted a Kyle Laforge pass and returned it 25 yards to give the Crusaders a 13-12 lead.

“Shane is unbelievable,” Sousa said. “He plays so hard, he’s a captain, and he’s a great leader for us.”

In saving one of his best performances for his final game with the Crusaders, Dawson said he was inspired by Joey Orlando, who ran for 192 yards and a touchdown in his final game against Tyngsboro last year.

“The amount of yards he gained last year was really impressive,” Dawson said. “I want to thank him. He made me a really good player.”

Laforge threw three touchdown passes in the first half, one each to Jacob Lafferty (three catches, 77 yards; one sack), Jack Buckley (three catches, 48 yards; 10 carries, 70 yards), and Kyle Corkum (two catches, 39 yards; one sack). Overall he completed nine of 17 passes for 177 yards.

The G-D Crusaders class of 2016, above, is the third consecutive G-D senior class to have never lost a game to Tyngsboro.

The G-D Crusaders class of 2016, above, is the third consecutive G-D senior class to have never lost a game to Tyngsboro.

Happy 4th birthday, Local Sports Productions!

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Above, a photo from the first ever Local Sports Productions broadcast, a Thanksgiving football game between the Bedford Buccaneers and the Concord-Carlisle Patriots, which took place on this day four years ago (and, by the way, is still available for download in the On Demand section). The computer and facial hair have changed, the client base and ring collection have grown substantially, but the love of Mountain Dew remains the same.

Thanks to all the viewers, listeners, clients, players, coaches, and parents who have helped LSP grow, and here’s to many more years of growth, memories, and excitement.

This Thursday I’ll be covering the Groton-Dunstable Crusaders vs. Tyngsboro Tigers Thanksgiving football game. Then check back in the coming days for the winter broadcast schedule.

Oh, and once again, I have some exciting developments in the works. Nothing is official yet, but follow LSP on Facebook and Twitter to be notified when it is.

As always, thanks for tuning in!

-Sam



G-D’s mistakes pave way For SPM victory

GROTON – Everything that could have gone wrong for the Groton-Dunstable Crusaders did Friday night in their 30-6 loss to the St. Peter-Marian Guardians at G-DRHS.

Quarterback Seamus Leary paced the Guardian offense by completing 11 of 18 passes for 171 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for a touchdown on a 6-yard scramble that saw him flip over a G-D defender to cross the pylon.

The Crusaders were plagued by miscues, including four false start penalties, four dropped passes, three sacks, two blocked punts, an interception, a missed field goal, and a missed extra point.

“Last week we probably got away with some mistakes, and that wasn’t going to happen against a better team like St. Peter,” Crusaders head coach Tom Sousa said.

A blocked punt turned into the game’s first score as SPM’s Alec Simonovitch scooped up his own block and returned the ball 41 yards for a touchdown, putting the Guardians up 7-0 with 7:31 to go in the first quarter.

“We put ourselves in a bad spot,” Sousa said. “They came very hard on the first series and attacked us. They won the line of scrimmage… our mechanics [on the punt] were very slow.”



The Crusaders defense stood strong after Ryan Carey intercepted a Michael Tammaro pass on their next drive, stopping a fourth down try in the red zone. But their offense continued to sputter, and after getting inside the Guardian 10-yard line on their first possession of the second quarter, two false start penalties, two incomplete passes, and a missed 28-yard field goal attempt gave the ball back to the Guardians, who capitalized on the ensuing series with a field goal to take a 10-0 lead into halftime.

After receiving the second-half kickoff, the Guardians (2-0) went to work with a purpose, marching down the field with an 11-play, 80-yard drive that culminated in a Leary-to-Simonovitch touchdown pass to extend the lead to 17-0.

The Crusaders (1-1) finally got on the board in the third quarter as Tammaro (8-for-17, 89 yards) found Jack Battles for a 13-yard touchdown pass, his only reception of the game, but after a missed extra point, the Crusaders were still down 11, 17-6.

SPM running back Anthony Baldino (8 carries, 93 yards) made the Crusaders pay for the miss on the next play from scrimmage, shedding five G-D defenders to bust off a 66-yard touchdown rush to put the game out of reach.

“Give [SPM] credit, they’re a good team,” Sousa said. “We thought we had a chance to turn the momentum at that point, and it didn’t work out that way.”

Crusader running backs Logan Higgins and Shane Dawson combined for 115 all-purpose yards.