By Dan Harrison
---- — IPSWICH — Hamilton-Wenham broke off a pair of long touchdown runs in yesterday’s 21-2 Thanksgiving Day win over Ipswich.
But the Generals really took control of the game with the play from their defensive line and defeated the host Tigers for the second time this season.
Led by seniors Alex Rogers (one and a half sacks) and Luke Sprouse (one sack) along with junior Nolan Wilson (one and a half sacks), the H-W (5-6) defensive front didn’t just stuff the Ipswich run game. They also used its length to bat down passes and keep Tigers signal caller Kyle Blomster and the Ipswich passing attack from ever getting into rhythm.
“We worked on that (getting hands up in the passing lanes) all week. The game plan was to make him (Blomster) throw through us so we needed our hands up because he is such a tremendous quarterback,” said H-W coach Andrew Morency. “Good football is good defense on Turkey Day and I thought our seniors and our defense took control.”
The Tigers (2-9) managed only one first down in the opening half and didn’t move the chains again until late in the fourth quarter. The Generals held the hosts to just 44-yards of total rushing yards and just 59 yards through the air. The Tigers didn’t find any success in the passing game until they started rolling Blomster out of the pocket as Rogers, Sprouse and Wilson batted four passes down at the line of scrimmage.
“Their d-line is outstanding and they’re very aggressive,” said Tigers head coach Greg Brotherton. “Their D-line was faster than our offensive line. We couldn’t establish the run. The wind wasn’t a concern because Kyle has a strong arm and our short passing game was there. We just have to be able to run the ball and we couldn’t.”
The Tigers took the opening kickoff and Eddie Flaherty fumbled on the team’s first play from scrimmage giving the Generals offense great field position. But the Tigers defense, led by middle linebacker Derek Chamberlain, stood tall and forced a punt.
On H-W’s next possession, sophomore running back Cam Macri (114 yards on 14 carries) broke a third and 12 run to the outside for a 69-yard touchdown dash. Ipswich had dialed up a double-A-gap blitz anticipating a pass but Morency kept it on the ground and Macri rewarded him with the TD-scamper.
H-W’s Jack Clay took a second quarter, QB-sneak for a one-yard touchdown on fourth down and then in the fourth quarter, senior running back Ian Dickey iced the game with an 88-yard touchdown run. Dickey (174 yards on 21 carries) had appeared to be stopped a yard into his run but the senior spun out of the tackle, managed to keep his balance and then burned his way down the sideline.
“The wind was a factor but our game plan was to run the ball and stick with it,” noted Morency. “We knew they were going to put guys in the box but we kept with it. And that was two great running backs (Macri and Dickey) having their moment in the sun.”
The Tigers scored their only two points of the contest after Clay’s touchdown when Ipswich blocked Ryan Gray’s extra point attempt and Robbie Glavin was corralled the pigskin and ran 90-yards for two points.
However, considering two early fumbles and the fact that the Ipswich offense showed little life, the Tigers defensive effort was impressive. Chamberlain led the way along with fellow middle linebacker Curtis Levasseur. The Tigers defensive line, led by Dakota Petrie, also had a strong effort.
“Those types of things get your head hanging but I thought the kids responded well on defense and I’m proud of the effort-especially from the seniors,” said Brotherton. “Coach Morency told me after the game he thought we were a lot more physically tough than when we played earlier in the season and that’s encouraging to me as a coach.”
Hamilton-Wenham 21, Ipswich 2
at Jack Welch Stadium, Ipswich
Hamilton-Wenham (5-6) 7 6 0 8 — 21
Ipswich (2-9) 0 2 0 0 — 2
HW-Cam Macri 69 run (Ryan Gray kick)
HW-Jack Clay 1 run (kick blocked)
I-Robbie Glavin 90 conversion return
HW-Ian Dickey 88 run (Dickey rush)
RUSHING: Hamilton-Wenham — Ian Dickey 21-174, Cam Macri 14-114, Peter Duval 3-9, Christian Ecker 1-5, Luke Sprouse 1-(-2), Jack Clay 4-(-9); Ipswich — Derek Chamberlain 7-64, Eddie Flaherty 2-5, Nate Glaster 3-1, Kyle Blomster 5-(-26).
PASSING: Hamilton-Wenham — J. Clay 1-3-2-0-0; Ipswich — Blomster 9-20-59-0-0.
RECEIVING: Hamilton-Wenham — Ecker 1-2; Ipswich — Aleks Kuljic 5-29, Flaherty 2-11, Glaster 1-11, Robbie Glavin 1-8.