By Hector Longo
---- — METHUEN — At one point late in the third quarter, an exasperated Tom Ryan turned to his bench and barked, “We just don’t know how to win!”
Sorry, coach, but your Methuen High Rangers have played four games so far, and winning seems to be all they know.
“I’m an emotional cat, what can I say?” said Ryan after his boys finished off Dracut High in style, 35-20, to move to a perfect 4-0.
Ryan’s Rangers continue to defy the critics, moving to 2-0 in the MVC small race with Haverhill, Tewksbury and North Andover lying ahead in the next three weeks.
“Look, I’ve got good kids, good athletes. I mean I inherited a very good team,” said Ryan. “We’re a tough, little football team, and it’s about time people started to realize that.”
Methuen took care of business against its Turkey Day rival with an offense that churned out 377 yards and didn’t turn the football over.
The Rangers rode senior Willy Weinhold and the halfback punished the 0-3 Middies in a 27-carry, 174-yard, three-TD day.
“It was definitely a good day for the running game,” said Weinhold. “The sweeps were working great today. The guys out there dig a great job in their stock blocks, and I felt very fresh, because I didn’t play much defense out there.”
Weinhold’s proficiency on the ground kept drawing Dracut forward, and twice the Middies got burned deep. The young man inflicting the damage? Ranger senior Brian Cole.
The 5-foot-10, 170-pound senior caught Austin George-Williams TD bombs of 35 and 52 yards, the latter which ultimately put the Middies away for good.
“It’s been a long wait, but this makes it worth every minute,” said Cole, whose TDs were career firsts.
“First two this year, first two ever. Both of them were great calls, and on each of them (George-Williams) really made a play. I just happened to be the guy to run underneath them. It’s unbelievable.”
Methuen led 23-14 at halftime and held a comfortable lead over the entire second half. The Middies never got to within one score as Ryan’s club proved it had the mettle to close teams out.
George-Williams, along with tossing the two TD bombs, was a nice complement on the option run game, rolling up 60 yards on 13 carries.
The Methuen defense stood tall, too. Christian Monserrat and Johnny Maginnis killed Dracut drives with interceptions, while Mike Golio, Evan Lacroix, Nick Comerford and Luis Perez had big plays in stuffing Dracut’s run game.
“We’re 4-0 and that’s pretty good,” said Cole, the younger brother of ex-Ranger Bobby Cole. “We want to play this season at 11-0, though. That’s how good we want to be.”
Methuen 35, Dracut 20
Dracut (0-3): 7 7 0 6 — 20
Methuen (4-0): 3 20 6 6 — 35
M — Austin George-Williams 23 field goal, 5:22
D — Gabe Hernandez 20 pass from Tyler Bassett (kick good), :45
M — Willy Weinhold 20 run (kick wide), 10:22
M — Brian Cole 35 pass from George-Williams (George-Williams kick), 9:20
D — Austin Bobb 45 pass from Bassett (kick good), 8:20
M — Cole 52 pass from George-Williams (George-Williams kick), :38
M — Weinhold 14 run (kick blocked), :36
D — Adam Gagnon 52 run (rush failed), 7:36
M — Weinhold 4 run (kick wide), :58
RUSHING: M (42-267) — Willy Weinhold 27-174, Austin George-Williams 13-60, Christian Monserrat 2-33; D (34-239) — Bassett 15-93, Gagnon 10-100
PASSING: M — George-Williams 4-9-0, 110; D — Bassett 9-17-2, 109
RECEIVING: M — Brian Cole 2-87, Monserrat 1-10, Johnny Maginnis 1-13