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

Grand opening for Littleton in shutout of Oakmont

LITTLETON – New field, same results.

The Littleton Tigers christened the new Alumni Field with a 22-0 shutout of the Oakmont Spartans Friday night in a battle of unbeatens.

Brad Klock rushed 21 times for 111 yards, two touchdowns and a two-point conversion, while the Littleton defense held Oakmont to just 40 yards of offense.

Kevin Frisoli was the star of the first drive, as he returned the opening kickoff 20 yards to the Littleton 40, then converted a 4th & 1 with a 37 yard rush down to the Oakmont 1 before punching in the game’s first score on the next play.

Frisoli added a spark on defense as well, recovering a fumble on Oakmont’s first play from scrimmage. From there, the Littleton offense needed just three plays to travel 40 yards, 35 of which came on a Will Scott keeper, before Klock ran it into the end zone from 5 yards out on the next play to make the score 14-0.

For the rest of the first half and the entire third quarter, the game was played almost exclusively between the 20s. The Littleton defense was stingy as usual, but their offense was hampered by penalties, including two chop blocks. Littleton quarterbacks combined to go 5-for-12 for 52 yards and an interception.

Eventually, the Tigers wore down the Oakmont defense with a 9-play, 50-yard drive that took up half of the fourth quarter and culminated in Klock’s second touchdown of the game. Austin Lynn ran in the two-point conversion to finish the scoring.

Any hope that the Spartans had of making a miraculous comeback and spoiling the opening of Alumni field were quickly dashed as Mike Crory picked off an Oakmont pass, allowing the Tigers to burn off the remaining 3:41.

“We told the kids all week, ‘The party has to be in the backfield,’” Littleton defensive coordinator Carlo Ferrante said. “They were in the backfield all night long. I’m proud of these guys, they gave us a great present tonight.”

LITTLETON 22, OAKMONT 0

O (2-1) 0 0 0 0 – 0
LIT (3-0) 14 0 0 8 – 22

Scoring plays

L – Kevin Frisoli 1 yard rush (Brad Klock rush)
L – Klock 5 yard rush (rush failed)
L – Klock 3 yard rush (Austin Lynn rush)

Individual stats (Littleton)

Rushing – Brad Clock 21-111, 2 TD



MIAA football – Littleton dominates Ayer-Shirley

AYER – The Littleton Tigers capped off yet another successful season with a dominating 48-12 victory over the Ayer-Shirley Panthers Thursday morning at Ayer-Shirley High.

With the score 8-6 in favor of Littleton to begin the second quarter, the Panthers had 1st and 10 at the Littleton 15. However, three consecutive backfield stops by Tigers defensive lineman Brady Hunt led to a turnover on downs.

From there, Littleton rattled off 40 unanswered points, including two rushing touchdowns and two passing touchdowns by Anthony Rausa, who racked up 140 total yards. 93 of those yards came on touchdown strikes to Jackson Ellis and Hunter Miller. Eric Rauker, who was named game MVP for Littleton, carried the ball 12 times for 91 yards and two touchdowns as well.

“Our starters played for about three quarters and Ayer-Shirley came out and played hard,” Littleton head coach Mike Lynn said. “They came out and hit us, their quarterback gave us problems and he did some good things in the first half. But then our guys started playing. We had a couple of untimely mistakes in the first half and our seniors rose to the occasion.”

The Tigers never punted, never trailed and held the Panthers to just 159 yards of total offense, 81 of which came on a first quarter touchdown rush by quarterback Steven Lawton (16 carries, 104 yards). Mick Mitrano had the other touchdown for Ayer-Shirley late in the fourth quarter.

It was the last game for an accomplished Littleton senior class that included Rausa, Rauker, Miller, Sawyer Landfors (6 carries, 82 yards) and many other key contributors. For Ayer-Shirley, they will return most of their roster next year, graduating just three players – running back Bryan Gintner, receiver Tyler Holmes and tight end Keith Kidder.

“This team has had a lot of solid players, a lot of very good players, but we never relied on one kid,” Lynn said. “It was different kids every game.”

“We’ve all been playing together for so long, we’re a pretty tight-knit group,” Rauker said. “We all work out together every morning, we all go to school together. It’s definitely something special, and I’ll miss it.”

Littleton finished the season at 8-3. Ayer-Shirley finished at 4-7.

LITTLETON 48, AYER-SHIRLEY 12

L (8-3) – 8 24 16 0 – 48
AS (4-7) – 6 0 0 6 – 12

SCORING PLAYS
L – Eric Rauker 2 rush (Anthony Rausa rush)
AS – Steven Lawton 81 rush (kick blocked)
L – Rausa 3 rush (Rausa rush)
L – Rausa 47 pass to Jackson Ellis (Rauker rush)
L- Rausa 46 pass to Hunter Miller (Rausa pass to Miller)
L – Rauker 6 rush (Sawyer Landfors rush)
L – Rausa 3 rush (Mitch Beaudoin rush)
AS – Mick Mitrano 2 rush (rush failed)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS
Passing: L – Rausa 3-3-95, 2 TD.
Receiving: L – Jackson Ellis 1-47, Miller 2-48, TD.
Rushing: L – Rauker 12-91, 2 TD; Sawyer Landfors 6-82 Rausa 8-45, 2 TD. AS – Steven Lawton 16-104, TD; Cole Casto 5-35.



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.