NORTH READING — It was another record-setting day for C.J. McCarthy. North Reading’s workhorse senior running back ran to the tune of 48 carries for 276 yards and four touchdowns.
The Hornets held off Lynnfield 42-35 in their 55th annual Thanksgiving matchup.
Needing only 130 yards to surpass Carl Lipani’s record of 1,776 yards, McCarthy ran for an 11-yard score with 1:15 remaining in the first half. The run put him at 138 yards on the game, and solidified his record-breaking season. An announcement was made to the crowd at the beginning of the fourth quarter.
“It feels good. Carl is my good buddy, so I’ll give him a text after this game,” said McCarthy, who was teammates with Lipani before he graduated last year. “It just feels really good.”
McCarthy finishes the season with 1,922 yards rushing to go along with 31 total touchdowns — also a school record. “We knew we were going to rely heavily on him,” said North Reading head coach Jeff Wall. “People were apprehensive about us coming into this year without Carl and if C.J. would be able to handle the load. I think he above and beyond did his job.”
McCarthy finished his Hornets career off not with a rushing touchdown, but with an interception return for a touchdown. He also had two picks to go along with his monstrous 48 rushing attempts and finished with 15 touchdowns in his last three games.
North Reading’s running game has been the focal point of their success lately. Yesterday they ran 75 plays — all rushes.
Coach Wall wanted to change up the tempo after the game’s very first play which saw Lynnfield’s Jonathan Knee sprint 64 yards for a touchdown.
“They were scoring quick when they got the ball,” said Wall, “so we had to slow it down and keep it out of their hands, because we know they’re very talented on offense.”