HAVERHILL — “Let’s keep playing.”
That wasthe general message delivered by Greater Lawrence yesterday morning after the Reggies took apart Whittier in the second half on their way to a resounding 42-12 victory.
The convincing win lifted the Reggies to 8-3 and kept their hopes alive for a slot in next week’s State Vocational Large School Bowl at Lynn Tech. They’ll find out this morning if they qualify.
After yesterday, there is nothing that senior stars Cristian Rivera and Marcos Ortiz and the rest of the Reggies want more.
“I want one extra game, I don’t want to see the year end yet,” said Rivera. “It’s gone so fast.”
Said Ortiz: “Last year, we came up short (in the State Voke Bowl) and we want to redeem ourselves.”
After the performance the dynamic duo had yesterday, it’s understandable that they’d want to keep playing.
Rivera, who entered the game with 1,682 yards rushing, scored five touchdowns, one coming on a 66-yard kickoff return, and rushed for 208 yards on just 15 carries. Ortiz rushed for 102 yards and a touchdown and completed 5 of 9 passes for 82 yards.
Ahead 16-12 at halftime, Rivera and Ortiz took over in the second half, gaining 226 yards between them on 15 carries. Ortiz had 88 yards in Greater Lawrence’s last two possessions, usually after faking a handoff to Rivera.
”Cristian was running hard, so when the defense keyed on him it allowed me to get open space,” said Ortiz.
The Reggies dominated play from scrimmage in the second half, but the turning point may have come on the third quarter kickoff. Whittier kicked a ground ball up the middle and Rivera scooped up the ball, found a quick hole and went almost untouched 66 yards for his third of five scores.
“It’s the first time I’ve ever returned one (for a touchdown),” said Rivera. “It felt good.”