The Nashoba Tech Vikings set the tone with a pair of short touchdown runs by junior Anthony Panetta in the first quarter and never looked back in taking their season opener with a 28-6 victory over South Shore before their home fans in Westford on Friday night.
Panetta scored on a 4-yard run and the 2-point conversion rush made it 8-0. He wasn’t done, again finding the end zone, this time on a 3-yard plunge, to hand the Vikings a 14-0 lead after the opening quarter.
Nashoba Tech made it 22-0 when junior quarterback Murphy Senecal tossed a 20-yard TD strike to sophomore Zane Beausoleil with 5:14 left in the second quarter. South Shore finally got on the board with 37 seconds left in the first half.
Following a defensive third quarter which saw both offenses stall, the Vikings made it 28-6 thanks to Connor Buchman, who scored on a 5-yard run early in the fourth.
Springfield Cent. 38, Central Cath. 0 >> In a battle of perennial heavyweight powers, Central Catholic was no match for the Springfield squad.
Springfield Central scored six points in the first quarter and then took off to lead 22-0 at halftime. Touchdowns and two-point conversions in the third and fourth quarters accounted for the final score in the season-opener for both squads.
William Watson scored on 51 and 23-yard runs for the winners. The schools have staged some epic duels in the last couple of years.
Maynard 20, Chelmsford 17 >> The Lions were upended in their season opener during a non-league clash that may surprise many.
Quarterback Kyle Wilder struck for a pair of touchdowns, but it wasn’t enough for the Lions.
The quarterback found Dan Craig early in the first quarter on a 23-yard TD reception. Wilder went 9-for-31, throwing for 97 yards. He also factored in on the run, rushing for 70 yards, including an 18-yard strike in the third quarter.
Kicker Mike Bierwirth rounded out the Lions’ scoring, booting a 27-yard field goal in the second quarter, cutting the Maynard lead to 14-10. Chelmsford’s Kai Everett also played well, earning 96 yards on 14 attempts.
Westford 44, Dracut 6 >> Jake Cullen threw for a pair of touchdowns, and rushed for a third, as Westford downed Dracut.
The Ghosts’ quarterback was in fine form, going 5-for-6 for 88 yards, and two TDs, including a 46-yard heave to Matt Higgins to open the game.
Westford built a 21-0 cushion in the first quarter, with Cullen sending in Luke Fremault from 32 yards, before charging in on a 30-yard scamper to end the stanza.
Running back Anthony Rudimen was tough to catch, breaking 82 yards on six carries, and scoring a pair of touchdowns in the second quarter, giving his team the commanding 37-0 edge at halftime. Kicker Peter Burden made six PATs to expand the lead.
NHIAA Division 2
Pelham 41, St. Thomas 0 >> Two-time defending state champion Pelham moved up a division prior to the season and so far it hasn’t made a difference.
The Pythons are still dominating. They improved to 2-0 with an easy win under the lights at home against their visitors from Dover.
The well-oiled machine led the Saints at halftime 28-0 and then 41-0 after three quarters. Jake Travis set the tone by scoring on a 2-yard run and then a 21-yard run in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Jake Cawthron caught a 57-yard scoring pass from Travis and then Travis sprinted 44 yards to paydirt to make it 28-0 at halftime. In the fourth quarter, Alex Carroll scored on a 8-yard run and Jake Cuilla’s 15-yard capped the scoring.
Travis rushed six times for 119 yards, while Carroll also went over 100 yards on the ground, finishing with 107 on nine carries. Ethan Demmons piled up 53 yards on seven carries.
In the passing department, Travis threw for 69 yards on three completions. St. Thomas did not complete a pass.
Pelham head coach Tom Babaian said, “We were able to establish the ground game and early, and it set the tone for the rest of the game. We played tough and we made some plays in the passing game, and our defense was able to make key stops throughout the game. We need to address our turnovers, mistakes, and penalties, so we need to get back to work and continue to improve.”
Worcester Tech 22, Ayer Shirley 20 >> The Panthers lost in overtime in heartbreaking fashion.
Cam Marshall scored off a fourth down double deflection, but the conversion failed, giving Worcester Tech the golden opportunity they were searching for from the 10 after the teams were tied 14-14 after regulation.
Ayer Shirley scored with 2:49 left in the half, knotting the game at 14. The Panthers led 8-6 at halftime, with Worcester Tech holding the 14-8 lead late in the third quarter. The teams went back and forth all night in Worcester.