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.”


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


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)



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


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


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.

2015 Fall Sports Preview: Groton-Dunstable Crusaders Football

Head coach: Tom Sousa (1st year, had been long-time assistant at Chelmsford, replaces Derek Asadoorian who took head coaching position at Gardner)

2014 results: 6-5 (lost to Shepherd Hill in Division 4 Central quarterfinals)

Playoffs results (if any)

Key contributors lost: Joey Orlando, RB (graduated)

Captains: TBA

Players to watch: Nate Forbes, jr. QB; Mike Tammaro, jr. QB; Shane Dawson, sr. RB; Chris Sweeney, junior RB; Jack Battles, sr. WR; Billy Mittchell, sr. WR; J.C. Thorburn, sr. OL; Aiden Hoey, sr. OL; Eric Tupua, sr. OL; Justin Griffin, jr. LB; T.J. Fetterolf, sr. DB

Biggest games on schedule: “Right now, the opener vs Quabbin (September 11th, 7 p.m. at G-DRHS)

Team strengths: Senior Leadership

Areas that need improvement: Depth

Team goals: “Perform our best at every opportunity and beat Tyngsboro.”

Overall impression of the team/other comments: “Very impressed with the dedication the players have shown through their summer conditioning and the opening of practices.”

Derek Asadoorian leaving Groton-Dunstable for Gardner

Derek Asadoorian has resigned from his post as head football and softball coach and math teacher at Groton-Dunstable Regional High School to move on to Gardner High School, where he will become head football coach and teach math as well.

G-D principal Michael Mastrullo said that the decision was made by Asadoorian because he wanted to be closer to his family.

“I know he was happy at G-D, so it was not a desire to leave GD, but rather a family decision,” Mastrullo said. “With his kids growing, long teaching and practice hours, coupled with a long commute, it all added up to an untenable situation. The decision to leave was solely Derek’s decision. Derek was a great coach and a better teacher. He will be missed by the staff and students. Our loss is certainly Gardner’s gain.”

Asadoorian confirmed those sentiments in a separate statement.

“It was a difficult decision to leave G-D,” he said. “I have spent 15 years there creating relationships and working as hard as I could for the students and athletes of GD.  There were a multitude of factors that went into the decision to leave in favor of Gardner High, not the least of which is proximity to home.  I am looking forward to the new challenge of being a math teacher and head football coach in a different high school, as well as any other positions where my experience may be beneficial.  There are things I will miss, in particular, I will miss the people of G-D.”

G-D has hired Tom Sousa as the new head football coach. Sousa had been a long-time assistant for the Chelmsford High School football team.