HAVERHILL — With Chance Brady banged up and out of action, Haverhill went to the “closer by committee” theory.
Defensive lineman Curtis Robart came through with a pair of tackles in the backfield.
Stephane Bristol ripped through from the edge and lowered the boom on two bone-rattling sacks.
Matt Serra had a late interception, and Brady’s backfield replacement, Tommy Maguire, eventually made it a two-TD game with a 17-yard TD burst up the gut.
But it wasn’t until Serra pounced on a botched Lawrence hook-and-ladder pitch that the Hillies could actually proclaim that the resilient Lancers were done, 28-20.
“We rely on Chance so often, this was crucial for the defense to really step up,” said the senior Robart. “The defense handled it just fine. We had to slow them down, and we got to the quarterback. This was huge.”
The victory pushed the Hillie mark to 7-2 on the year, and it was especially gratifying for the defense, considering Brady left the game mid-second half. Coach Tim O’Connor said Brady suffered a “stinger” in punt coverage.
Brady did manage 137 yards and a TD on 22 carries before he left with the Hillies up 21-14.
From disaster comes victory: Tommy Morgan turned near disaster – fumbling a snap on 4th-and-goal from the 1 – into gold when he scooped up the loose change, evaded the rush and spotted a wide-open Jordan Javier standing alone in the end zone on what was intended to be a running play.
The TD gave Haverhill the advantage for good with 1:44 remaining in the third.
Lancers show grit: Lawrence High coach Mike Yameen had to be proud of his kids’ and their effort, coming off their first win last week.
Down but not out at 1-7 coming in, Lawrence fought to the end and had a chance in the final minute when Nelson Valerio hit George Urena for a 61-yard TD bomb to cut it to 28-20 and Nathaniel Cruz recovered the onside kick.