HATHORNE — The visiting Shawsheen Rams operated efficiently and quickly Friday night against Essex Tech, scoring three touchdowns in the second quarter on their way to a 27-13 win.
After a scoreless first quarter, the teams combined for 28 points in the second: two Ram rushing touchdowns by Caleb Caceras were followed by an Essex Tech scoring pass from Harry Lynch to Marco Schrippa that covered 77 yards and made it a one-score game late in the second quarter.
Shawsheen bounced right back after the Schrippa score with a bit of backfield trickery. Sophomore quarterback Sidney Tildsey tossed the ball to Caleb Caceras, and when the line went after the Ram back, he tossed the ball to Mavrick Bourdeau, who hit Ryan Copson with a 29-yard scoring pass to put the Rams up by 14 at the half.
Early in the third quarter on their first possession, Shawsheen coughed up the ball near midfield, where Hawk Trevor O’Neill grabbed it at the Rams 35. Nine plays later Lynch found P. J. Norton for a 7-yard scoring play, the kick was blocked, but Essex Tech had made it a one score game, 21-13, with over 20 minutes left.
Shawsheen’s defensive line was tough on Essex Tech’s offense all night, putting pressure on the Hawks, forcing them to make quick reads, and try to get the plays off much faster than they had to last week against Blue Hills.
When they weren’t forcing the Hawks to accelerate their offense, they were quick punting, three times in the game, all three pinning the home team down inside their 10-yard line. The pressure on the Hawks forced them to punt the ball away from near their goal line three times. Shawsheen made the home team pay on the third punt, Dante Graziano grabbing the ball at the Ram 49 and bringing the rock down to the Hawks 19 with 6:47 left in the fourth quarter.
Ram QB Tildsley found Bourdeau from 25 yards out for an insurance score, and Shawsheen gained a little bit of revenge after a tough loss to the Hawks last fall, improving to 2-1 on the season.
Essex Tech falls to 2-1, and will be faced with another tough matchup next weekend against Manchester-Essex, another team that likes to operate quickly and has good size on the defensive front.
“Their speed and their physical play is what was a little overwhelming for us, this group has not seen that kind of size and speed yet this season. We saw it tonight for sure,” Hawks coach Dan Connors said. “It’s good we see it in week three, so we can kind of work on it and make adjustments, and it’s certainly going to be key for us to work on that and get better at dealing with that speed, that quickness. We have some things to fix, but I’m confident we can fix them in time for Manchester-Essex, another team with speed and size on the defensive front.”
Rams coach Al Costabile said he knows that his size and speed on the defensive line makes it very hard for opponents to operate successfully in the trenches.
“Our defensive line is one of the strengths of our team, that’s for sure, we made it tough on them all night,” Costabile said. “That’s a good team over there, they’re well-coached, and they;re going to win a lot of games this year. We were able to come out on top this time, it’s always a great matchup when these two teams play.”