By Dan Harrison
---- — MANCHESTER — The Ipswich football team had a picture-perfect end to the first half on the road last night at Manchester Essex when Kyle Blomster connected with Nate Glaster for a touchdown pass with five seconds left in the second quarter.
The end of the game for the Tigers, however, was more of a worst case scenario. The Hornets rallied to tie the game late in the fourth quarter and after a missed Ipswich field goal in double-overtime, ME signal caller Craig Carter scored on a fourth-down, QB-sneak to give the hosts the 26-20 win.
Up by eight in the final quarter, the Tigers (1-5) allowed a 19-yard touchdown pass from Carter to Liam Logue that came on fourth down with just under four minutes left. Carter was nearly brought down a number of times by the Ipswich pass rush but was able to elude the pressure and find his man downfield.
On the ensuing conversion attempt, the Ipswich defense met Chris Dumont in the backfield but the Hornets running back broke a tackle and carried two Tigers into the end zone to tie the game at 14-14.
“In the fourth quarter things came undone a little bit,” admitted Ipswich head coach Greg Brotherton. “We fumbled a jet sweep-that was a drive killer. We had the quarterback sacked four or five times but we couldn’t wrap up. It’s been our achilles heel all season. I guess we have to do more form-tackling in practice.”
Ahead by just a point with 55 seconds left in the half, Blomster took the Tigers 52-yards in four plays to put Ipswich ahead 14-6 going into the locker room. He hit Glaster with a 24-yard, over-the-shoulder touchdown pass that Blomster dropped in perfectly.
Glaster had three catches for 37 yards on that drive alone with Eddie Flaherty adding an 11-yard reception as Blomster went 4-for-4 on the drive.
“It’s pretty much built into our offense because of our offensive philosophy,” Brotherton said of the two-minute drill. “Everything is hurry-up so th kids are used to that. It comes second nature. Kyle made the right reads and the receivers were getting out of bounds. We didn’t panic”
In the first overtime, the Tigers allowed a 12-yard touchdown pass from Carter to Dumont but were able to tie the game on a one-yard touchdown run by Curtis Levasseur. In the second overtime Ipswich was forced to take a 24-yard field goal and Aleks Kuljic missed wide left.
Carter scored the game-winner from a yard out four plays later.
“We just executed better (in the fourth quarter). We’re there, we just haven’t been able to make plays when we need to and we were able to do that tonight,” said Manchester Essex (3-3) coach Mike Athanas. “I’m proud of the kids, they played hard all game.”
Curtis Levasseur scored a four-yard touchdown run in the second quarter to put the Tigers on the board. The Hornets responded with a four-yard Dumont touchdown run after a big play on fourth down where Carter rolled out of the pocket and found Seth Cohen for a 41-yard pass down to the Ipswich two-yard line.