EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

September 22, 2013

Opportunistic Methuen wins third straight

By Mike Abelson
sports@eagletribune.com

---- — METHUEN — Luckily for the Methuen football, style only matters in figure skating and gymnastics.

The Rangers took advantage of three Cambridge turnovers and a slew of Falcon penalties to churn out a 21-18 win at Nicholson Stadium yesterday afternoon in a game that was postponed a day.

The win made Methuen 3-0 on the season for the first time since the late Larry Klimas was coach.

“We got lucky a little bit,” Methuen coach Tom Ryan said. “We gave them a couple of touchdowns. That was a sloppy game on defense for us. We expect more out of our kids and more out of our coaching staff preparing our kids better than that.”

The Rangers were again paced by their dual-threat star, Austin George-Williams. The QB accounted for 212 of Methuen’s 296 yards (155 passing, 57 rushing). He also accounted for all of Methuen’s points with three touchdown passes and all three extra points.

George-Williams was able to spread the wealth in the passing game, connecting with five different receivers. His favorite targets were Christian Monserrat and Evan Lacroix. Both wideouts had four catches and a touchdown.

Monserrat’s touchdown, at the end of the second quarter, showcased the star wrestler’s athleticism as he had to toe the sideline to reel the ball in. The score proved to be the eventual game-winning touchdown. Monserrat also had a pair of key first downs in the run game and had a solid day on punt and kick coverage.

“He’s part of that senior skill group that we rely heavily on,” Ryan said. “We rely on those guys to almost play perfect everyday. He’s the epitome of that. He does well on kicks, he does well on defense. He runs tough when we need a first down.”

Methuen’s offense was in midseason form, but the defense had to adjust throughout the game to contend with Cameron McMillian. The tall, athletic Falcon quarterback was a terror for the Ranger defense. McMillian had a game-high 242 all-purpose yards.

“We contained him enough; that quarterback is lightning fast,” Ryan said. “He has a different gear than we’ll probably see all year. We stopped them on the big plays when we needed to.”

Cambridge set the tone early with a blocked punt that set up a McMillian touchdown run, but the Rangers responded the following possession when George-Williams found Lacroix from 10 yards out. George-Williams found Spencer Bilich early in the third quarter to put the Rangers ahead.

McMillian rushed for another pair of touchdowns before game’s end, including an impressive 52-yard scamper in the third quarter.

Ruddy Severino intercepted McMillian in the final minutes to ice the game.

Controlling its destiny

In the new-look MIAA, Methuen’s 3-0 start is huge. Considering that all three wins have come against Division 1 competition, the Rangers are sitting in a fine position to make the playoffs.

Even with the D1 portion of its schedule behind them, Ryan said that he and his team have to concentrate on its MVC schedule and continue to improve. Up next is the first of two dates against Thanksgiving rival Dracut.

“I understand the points, but my only concern now is to find a way for my team to beat Dracut by one point,” Ryan said. “If we think we can overlook anybody we’re crazy.”

agateHed:Methuen 21, Cambridge 18

agateText:Cambridge: 6  6 6 0 — 18

agateText:Methuen (3-0): 7 14 0 0 — 21

agateText:First Quarter

agateText: C — Cameron McMilian 17 run (pass failed), 7:53

M — Evan Lacroix 10 pass from Austin George-Williams (George-Williams kick), 4:18

agateText:Second Quarter

agateText: M — Spencer Bilich 24 pass from George-Williams (George-Williams kick), 10:39

C — McMillian 11 run (pass failed), 1:45

M — Christian Monserrat 13 pass from George-Williams (George-Williams kick), :21

agateText:Third Quarter

agateText: C — McMillian 52 run (run failed), 0:00

agateText:INDIVIDUAL LEADERS

agateText:RUSHING: M (37-141) — Austin George-Williams 20-57, Will Weinhold 14-53, Christian Monserrat 2-24, Kenny Sullivan 1-7. C (35 - 142) — Cameron McMillian 22-136, Shaquille Anderson 12-17, Troy Auguier 1-(-11)

agateText:PASSING: M — George-Williams 15-24-0, 155; C — McMillian 7-19-1, 106

agateText:RECEIVING: M — Evan Lacroix 4-43, Weinhold 3-21, Monserrat 4-42, Spencer Bilich 3-38, Brian Cole 1-11. C — Anderson 1-3, Alex Domond 2-23, Deshaun Velez 2-45, Elijah Booker 2-35