IPSWICH — The Ipswich High football team picked up its first win under head coach Greg Brotherton last night in a 14-0 shutout win over visiting Georgetown.
The victory meant even more to Brotherton, a former Tigers star and first-year head man, considering that legendary Ipswich coach Jack Welch — who coached Brotherton in the 1990s — was in attendance for the win. Immediately after the game, the two men embraced on the sideline.
“Doing it in front of him was special. He was my high school coach and role model growing up,” said Brotherton of Welch. “He gave me a hug on the sideline, and the hair on the back of my neck was sticking up”
The Tigers (1-3) saw senior quarterback Kyle Blomster really begin to grab hold of the offense. Instead of relying on his go-to receiver, Nate Glaster (1 catch for 18 yards), Blomster was making the right reads in the pocket and hit five different receivers in the game. He finished 13-of-17 for 121 yards and a 20-yard touchdown pass tom Aleks Kuljic in the third quarter..
Blomster also had a team-high 79 yards rushing on just five carries, including a huge 48-yard touchdown run on Ipswich’s opening drive to give the hosts a quick 7-0 advantage.
“You can’t lock in on one guy. Kyle was making the right reads,” explained Brotherton. “We threw the ball 17 times and I’d say on 14 of those, he made the right read.”
Junior Eddie Flaherty continues to be the do-it-all man for the Tigers. After his 14-tackle performance last week against Hamilton-Wenham, Flaherty was once again a force on defense in making a pair of tackles in the backfield in the second half. After Georgetown (0-4) recovered a whacky onsides kick to begin the third quarter, Flaherty intercepted Royals’ signal caller Daniel Lambert on fourth down. On offense, Flaherty rushed for 22 yards on seven carries and had four catches for 28 yards.
“He’s been doing it all year,” Brotherton said of Flaherty. “We made an adjustment (at halftime) bringing him closer to the line of scrimmage because they were bouncing it outside. He’s the type of kid who’ll stick his nose in anywhere.”
Kuljic had a game-high 48 yards receiving as he and all the Ipswich receivers showed tremendous ball skills. Kuljic had an impressive first-down catch in the first half when he snagged a ball way over his head on a comeback route and held on despite taking a vicious hit.
Ipswich showed those same great ball skills on defense too, coming away with three interceptions on 10 Georgetown passes. The Royals lost their starting signal caller last week and Lambert was an end converted to quarterback. His passes sailed high all evening.
But to the Tigers’ credit, they flocked to the ball and came down with the pigskin every time it was in their vicinity. Junior linebacker Matt Carey had an interception on a tipped ball in the third quarter while sophomore Jake Long, who was playing due to an injury in the Ipswich backfield, picked off Lambert with a great athletic play in the fourth quarter.
The Tigers, despite being 1-3, have made steps each week and Brotherton feels optimistic about the season if his boys can continue to move forward.
“It’s a relief (to get the first win). I knew it was going to happen it was just a matter of when. The weight’s off our back,” said Brotherton. “It’s another step forward. If we keep doing that we’ll be OK.”