LEXINGTON — Unlike a company of 18th-century armed Englishmen, the Methuen Rangers yesterday came to this town, conquered and left feeling better about themselves than they had in quite some time.
Snapping a four-game losing streak that had spoiled a once-promising season, the Rangers rode a dominant defense to a 26-14 victory over Lexington in a Division 1 North consolation game.
“We needed a win bad,” said linebacker John Maginnis, who recorded a safety, recovered a fumble and posted two of Methuen’s three sacks. “We started off 4-0, which was a huge start for us, and then all of a sudden we lost four straight. We were in a slump. The team was down. Kids were starting to leave practice, quitting and stuff.”
A big-play passing attack produced all the touchdowns, including a pair that soared 54 yards or more. Methuen used only six plays to find the end zone on those three possessions combined.
In fact, the only sustained drive the Rangers produced went 80 yards on nine plays and resulted in a 26-yard Austin George-Williams field goal.
That was more than a stifling defense needed as the Rangers held Lexington without a first down until 3:09 left in the third. The Minutemen used an interception to get their first touchdown after a 5-yard possession earlier in the period.
“It means on defense, we came out and get stops,” Maginnis said. “We get possessions for the offense. If the defense gets turnovers, it means we’re in good shape.”
The Rangers also got fumble recoveries by Willy Weinhold, Evan Lacroix and Kenny Sullivan.
It was a memorable day for the 5-9, 160-pound Weinhold, who scored all three touchdowns on receptions of 59, 26 and 54 yards from George-Williams.
When it was over, Lexington compiled only 58 yards of total offense, including a measly 8 yards on 17 rushing attempts.
“We needed a game like this,” Methuen coach Tom Ryan said. “We certainly did. I thought our game plan was solid. The assistant coaches did a great job putting that together, and we executed it perfectly. The defensive ends Evan Lacroix and Willy Weinhold won the game for us because they did exactly what they were told to do by the assistant coaches.
Methuen also had trouble running the ball, putting up only 31 yards on 35 carries, but fortunately a ground game wasn’t required yesterday.
“It felt like we ran the ball better than that, to be honest with you,” Ryan said. “I guess statistics don’t lie. But we ran it enough to keep (Lexington) honest. Certainly we threw it enough to move the ball and do what we had to do. But obviously our defense was the story of the day.”
Methuen 26, Lexington 14
Methuen (5-4): 14 3 0 9 — 26
Lexington (3-6): 0 0 14 0 — 14
M — Willy Weinhold 59 pass from Austin George-Williams (Christian Monserrat run)
M — Weinhold 26 pass from George-Williams (pass failed)
FG George-Williams 26
L — Jeffrey Costello 5 run (kick failed)
L — Rhett Adley 39 run (Adley pass from Costello)
M — Weinhold 54 pass from George-Williams (George-Williams kick)
M — Safety, John Maginnis tackle Costello in end zone
RUSHING: Methuen (35-31) — George-Williams 17-25, Weinhold 12-6, Mike Baglieri 1-3, Luis Perez 2-3, Maginnis 1-0, Kenny Sullivan 1-(-3), Monserrat 1-(-3); Lexington (17-8) — Adley 2-39, Daniel Johnson 1-1, Mike Fernandez 5-(-4), Costello 8-(-13), Team 1-(-15)
PASSING: Methuen (16-28-277, 1 interception) — George-Williams 15-27-232, 1; Brian Cole 1-1-45; Lexington — Costello 11-19-50
RECEIVING: Methuen — Evan Lacroix 6-72, Weinhold 5-150, Monserrat 4-47, Sullivan 1-8; Lexington — Adley 4-22, Shawn Phelan 3-31, Fernandez 3-(-2), Connor Murphy 1-(-1)