By Bob Albright
---- — AMESBURY — Ben Cullen will not play another down of football at storied Landry Stadium, but it’s safe to say that Amesbury’s senior tri-captain will have plenty of fond memories to look back on when he watches the game tape of last night’s final home game against Ipswich. The 165-pound speedster rushed for 83 yards and scored three touchdowns to lift Amesbury to a convincing 35-14 win.
“It’s something I thought about a lot and it’s real special to come out here and win like we did in our final game,” said Cullen, who got some great blocking up front from his line which includes fellow seniors Zach Fitzgerald, Danny Norton, Sam Springis and Matt Napoli.
“The whole line blocked really well and opened up some big holes. It was real good blocking by everyone.”
Cullen scored on runs of 1, 35, and 5 yards to propel the Indians (2-3) to a commanding 29-7 lead before Amesbury’s senior band members had even taken a bow at halftime. His 35-yard jaunt in the second quarter came just one play after the Indians had recovered a Tiger (1-4) fumble and saw the senior barrel through a gaping hole on the right side.
“Ben has been good for three years, he’s no secret out there,” said Amesbury coach Thom Connors. “We’ve just kind of organized things around him, and because people key on him that opens up things for other guys.”
A brilliant one-handed catch by Amesbury sophomore Ray Melis set up Cullen’s final score late in the first half and effectively took all the air out of Ipswich’s sails with 22 minutes still to play.
Fellow senior captain Mac Short also made his last game at Landry a memorable one as he not only passed for 121 yards from his quarterback spot, but also kicked a pair of field goals in the second half. Along with Cullen, Amesbury got a great ground game from sophomore Ryan Foley who led the Indians with 99 yards on just seven carries. Amebury rushed for 197 yards on 31 carries in total.
“We got a big game out of Ryan Foley and Ray Melis had a terrific catch,” said Connors. “Our skill guys made some big plays, but I thought our line played well too.”
Both teams came into Friday’s contest after notching their first wins of the year, Ipswich over Georgetown (14-0) and Amesbury over Hamilton-Wenham (20-13), and early on it looked like the Indians were intent on posting back-to-back wins.
Foley found the edge on Amesbury’s first drive and sprinted 33 yards for the first score of the game.
The Tigers would take to the air for their only score of the half as senior quarterback Kyle Blomster connected with classmate Nate Glaster on a 53-yard pass play to get things going. Two plays later, Blomster found Eddie Flaherty from 29 yards out to tie the game with two minutes to go in the opening quarter. Cullen and the Indians would take over from there, however, scoring the final 22 points of the half.
Amesbury will look to make it three in a row next Saturday when it travels to Georgetown.