LYNN — Trailing by two touchdowns after just two possessions, Greater Lawrence suddenly seemed to steal back the game.
The Reggies scored once to start the second, then caused a fumble and marched to the 10-yard line poised for another touchdown.
But a costly penalty spoiled the Greater Lawrence drive, and that the proved to be the Reggies’ final golden opportunity to score as they fell to Greater New Bedford 20-6 in the State Vocational Bowl at a frigid Manning Field.
It was the second straight season the two teams had matched up in the Tech Bowl, with New Bedford prevailing a season ago as well, 17-14.
“That was a really good team,” said quarterback Marcos Ortiz. “But I’m not sure if we came out too nervous or what, because we couldn’t settle in and find a rhythm.”
The Bears showed their muscle out of the gates with a 10-play scoring drive that ate the first 5:10 of the game. After holding the Reggies to a 3-and-out on their first possession, Greater New Bedford struck again, this time in just three plays to make it 14-0.
“I said that, if we didn’t make mistakes we could win this,” said Greater Lawrence coach Tony Sarkis. “But we made mental and physical mistakes and that put us in a tough hole.”
The Reggies, however, were able to bounce back led by star running back Cristian Rivera. Greater Lawrence opened the second half with a 72-yard drive that Rivera finished off with a 22-yard sprint into the end zone.
After the two teams exchanged 3-and-outs, the Reggies forced a fumble that was recovered by Ryan Caredeo, and marched to the Bears’ 10-yard line.
“We finally got into a rhythm and we starting to make a few plays,” said Ortiz. “We were even turning the momentum. But then we started making mistakes.”
Greater Lawrence ended up turning the ball over on downs at the Greater New Bedford 25-yard line. With the Bears eating the clock with a tough rushing game, the Reggies would manage just three more possessions on the day, turning the ball over on downs at the New Bedford 24 in the third.
“Too many mistakes and too many penalties,” said Sarkis. “But they shouldn’t hang their heads. It was a good season.”
Yellow flags galore: The referees were working overtime last night, as Greater Lawrence and Greater New Bedford were flagged for a combined nine personal fouls in the game. That works out to 135 combined lost yards on penalties called after the plays, primarily late hits or taunting.
“We must have had close to 100 yards on penalties,” said Sarkis.
Ice cold: It certainly felt like the he calendar is about to turn to December, as the temperature fell to 28 degrees and the wind chill was a frigid 15 degrees on the sidelines in Lynn, according to weatherchannel.com.
Yet, many players from both sides chose to wear short sleeves. Kids need to learn there is a difference between being touch and just being silly.
A little creativity: Greater Lawrence’s nightmare scenario occurred in the second when prolific Cristian Rivera had to leave the game with a leg injury.
To fill the spot of their record-setting star, Marcos Ortiz moved from quarterback to running back and junior Ellicen Pena had the tough task of going from freezing on the sidelines to playing QB. He ended having the Reggies’ lone pass completion of the game before heading the sidelines when Rivera was ready to go.
Spreading it out: Greater Lawrence has become known for its run-heavy power-I offense over the years. But after falling behind and Rivera battling leg problems, the Reggies went to a five-receiver spread look starting late in the second quarter.
Coming up big: A bright spot on the Reggies’ defense was Ryan Caredeo. He recovered a fumble and led the squad with 10 tackles.
New Bedford Tech 20,
Greater Lawrence Tech 6
State Vocational Large School Bowl
New Bedford Tech (6-6): 14 0 6 0 — 20
Greater Lawrence (8-4): 0 6 0 0 — 6
GNB — Dale Easton 18 run (Justyn Soares kick), 4:50
GNB — Cory Ponte 7 run (Soares kick), 1:37
GL — Cristian Rivera 22 run (rush failed), 9:18
GNB — Ponte 2 run (kick failed), 8:22
RUSHING: GL (28-162) — Cristian Rivera 19-118, Marcos Ortiz 9-44; GNB (35-189) — Cory Ponte 18-97, Dale Easton 15-95, Dom Woodbury 2-(-3)
PASSING: GL — Ellicen Pena 1-2-0, 1, Ortiz 0-10-1; GNB — Michael Carballo 1-6-0, 31
RECEIVING: GL — Jake Barchard 1-0; GNB — Easton 1-31