By Jeff Hamrick firstname.lastname@example.org
---- — NORTH ANDOVER — Bottled up and held in check much of the night, Chance Brady still managed the final word.
The area’s leading rusher erupted over the final two minutes, scoring two of his three touchdowns and powering Haverhill to a 38-22 victory over North Andover last night.
The Scarlet Knights (4-5 overall, 3-2 MVC 2) did a decent job against Brady, limiting the senior to an average of 3.6 yards on his first 27 carries. But with Haverhill (8-2, 4-1) holding a thin 22-14 advantage, Brady busted loose with 84 yards and a pair of touchdowns on his final four carries.
“In the beginning, I was getting hit quite a bit,” Brady said. “But my (offensive) line stepped up and my fullback Jordan Hunt sealed some blocks. It just worked out great for us.”
The biggest carry was a 34-yard burst in which the Hillie captain dragged a tackler the final 10 yards before a couple more Knights helped bring Brady down at the 2.
“All I could see was the end zone,” said Brady, whose touchdown two plays later gave Haverhill a 30-14 lead with 1:56 remaining. “I knew he was on my back, but I really wanted that touchdown. I could feel myself being dragged back and could feel weight (on the jersey) but I was just thinking about the end zone.”
Down but not out: After Brady’s touchdown, North Andover answered Brady’s touchdown with a 76-yard kickoff return by Bubba Shkliew, who had caught a 35-yard touchdown from Casey Walsh early in the fourth. Walsh and Shkliew hooked up for the two-point conversion that kept the Knights within one score.
But after recovering the on-side attempt, Haverhill secured matters on the last of Brady’s three touchdowns, a 48-yard blast with 1:34 left.
The Closer: Brady finished with 181 yards on 31 carries. On the season he now has 1,955 yards on 232 attempts (12.7 yards per carry) and 30 touchdowns. That kind of production helps ease the sting of failing to land a postseason berth.
“I just want to set an example for the younger guys,” said Brady, whose first touchdown capped a 96-yard drive at the end of the first half. “The whole season doesn’t revolve around the playoffs. Yes, I wanted to go and I was devastated when we didn’t (qualify) but If I just rolled over and died that would make me a terrible leader.”
Unable to keep pace: One week after rushing for 402 yards, North Andover’s Nick Oswald was held to 45 yards on 15 first-half carries. He was held out of the final two periods with concussion-like symptoms.
Haverhill 38, North Andover 22
Haverhill: 6 16 0 16 — 38
North Andover: 0 7 0 15 — 22
H — Shain Roche 9 pass from Tommy Morgan (pass failed), 0:59
NA — Matt Iannone 6 pass from Casey Walsh (Ryan Quinn kick), 8:32
H — Tommy Maguire 91 kickoff return (John Ramsdell pass from Morgan), 8:16
H — chance Brady 1 run (Jordan Javier pass from Morgan), 0:17
NA — Robert Shkliew 35 pass from Walsh (Quinn kick), 10:07
H — Brady 1 run (Brady run), 1:56
NA — Shkliew 76 kickoff return (Shkliew pass from Walsh), 1:43
H — Brady 48 run (Javier pass from Morgan), 1:34
RUSHING: H (33-181) — Brady 31-181, Morgan 2-0; NA (34-107) — Nick Oswald 15-45, Tom Stabile 5-28, Walsh 12-27, Shkliew 2-7
PASSING: H — Morgan 22-31-188 (1 interception); NA (13-22-145, 1) — Walsh 13-21-145 (1), Shkliew 0-1-0RECEIVING: H — Ramsdell 9-51, Roche 5-55, Javier 4-52, Brady 4-30; NA — Shkliew 7-57, Matt Iannone 3-44, Tyler Whitley 2-35, Oswald 1-9