By Dan Harrison
---- — HAMILTON — Alex Rogers’ 2-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter of Hamilton-Wenham’s 28-14 win over Ipswich Saturday afternoon proved to be the game-winning score.
But to the Generals — and the entire Hamilton-Wenham community — Rogers’ TD grab meant so much more.
Seven days prior to the game, Rogers’ mother, Pamela Wells, was tragically killed in New Hampshire while on a bicycle ride. It was an emotionally charged week for head coach Andrew Morency’s football team, which dedicated this game to their senior tight end and his family.
“With all Alex has been through, he showed a lot of courage with all that’s going on,” explained Morency. “The seniors wanted to get this one. It’s the kind of thing that really brings a team together.”
Senior tailback Ian Dickey, starting for injured sophomore Cam Macri, rose to the occasion for the Generals (1-2) carrying the ball a school-record 36 times for 162 yards and three touchdowns. Dickey scored first half touchdowns of 1 and 4 yards, respectively, before punching in the game-clinching touchdown from 7 yards out in the game’s final two minutes.
Senior right guard Ryan Cavanaugh and sophomore left tackle James Craig executed the combo-blocking scheme on off-tackle plays while tight end Nolan Wilson and fullback Peter Duval were strong on kick-out blocks.
“That was our goal and mine specifically: playing for Alex and his family,” Dickey said after the game. “Our offensive line was incredible. They made it easy.”
Dickey converted some big fourth down runs, one on his 4-yard touchdown and another late in the game to set up his final score. On the other side of the ball, he picked off Ipswich (0-3) signal caller Kyle Blomster on the Tigers’ final two possessions.
Ipswich scored both of its touchdowns on fourth down passes from Blomster to Nate Glaster (6 catches for 85 yards). The first was a 43-yard strike in the second quarter that tied the game at 7-7; the second came in the third quarter on an 11-yard jump ball that Glaster was able to pull down in traffic.
Blomseter completed 13-of-22 passes and, outside of his two fourth quarter interceptions, showed a lot of poise.
“It’s confidence. We put a lot of pressure on him in practice to make him accountable,” said Ipswich coach Greg Brotherton. “He’s getting better. Now it’s a matter of getting more consistent and making the right reads.”
Duval had a monster game at middle linebacker for the Generals, making life hard for Ipswich fullback Derek Chamberlain (13 rushes for 50 yards) while Cavanaugh had a sack and a batted pass.
Defensive tackle Ricky Nardella blocked an Ipswich punt to give the Generals the ball on the Ipswich 29-yard-line with under two minutes in the half. Five plays later, senior quarterback Jack Clay hit Rogers on a tight end look-in pass to put H-W ahead, 21-7, going into the locker room.