BILLERICA — Just one stop.
That was the difference between Haverhill leaving Billerica with its fourth straight victory and the host Indians escaping with a 35-33 upset win that snapped a two-game losing streak.
Behind the punishing running of All-Star running back Chance Brady (229 yards and three touchdowns) and the polished passing of quarterback Tommy Morgan (14 of 24, 185 yards and two TDs), the Hillies held a pair of leads. Morgan’s second scoring toss to sophomore Jordan Javier on the first drive of the second half put Haverhill ahead 20-14.
But Billerica (2-4) used a physical presence to shake QB Jordan Bolarinho loose for 74 yards and two rushing TDs, then bookended a recovered onside kick with a pair of third-quarter TD passes to senior Matt Clifford that gave the Indians an untoppable 28-20 advantage.
Haverhill (4-2) scored to close within two early in the fourth but Billerica ground out a 75-yard march ending on a 1-yard Bradley Drewek lean to the end zone for the winning tally with 4:49 remaining.
“They made adjustments, made some great coaching decisions, and we just couldn’t stop them,” said Haverhil head coach Tim O’Connor. “We got physically beat up a little bit up front, especially in the second and third quarters.”
Super sophomore No. 1: Phillip Panici was a presence on both sides of the ball for the Hillies, lead blocking several of Brady’s bigger runs at left guard and doing his bit to shut down Billerica with a team-high 13 tackles, three for loss. “We have two kids that play both ways and he’s the only sophomore,” O’Connor said. “We knew (right from preseason) he was going to be pretty good.”
Super sophomore No. 2: Nick Orekoya was a thorn in Haverhill’s side all night and just as painful. The active defensive back drilled John Ramsdell a half-yard short of converting a fourth down, pounded Javier to create an incompletion and rocked Shain Roche on two straight plays to shut down a Hillie drive. Orekoya finished with 11 tackles.