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.
Consolation for Brady: On a last-ditch drive deep in their own territory, Brady sprinted to the Billerica 34 where he was battered by two defenders and fumbled. Billerica recovered and didn’t give the Hillies another shot until just 22 seconds remained. Brady was visibly upset after the game but O’Connor went over and consoled the senior standout. “I just told him it’s all good, that there are greater things in the world than high school football. He’ll be fine and we’ll bounce right back. We’ll be ready to go back to work Monday.”
Billerica 35, Haverhill 33
Haverhill (4-2): 12 0 8 13 — 33
Billerica (2-4): 7 7 14 7 — 35
B — Jordan Bolarinho 36 run (Steven Trask kick), 7:59
H — Jordan Javier 17 pass from Tommy Morgan (kick failed), 4:55
H — Chance Brady 7 run (pass failed), 1:34
B — Bolarinho 1 run (Trask kick), 0:25
H — Javier 30 pass from Morgan (Brady run), 9:13
B — Matt Clifford 9 pass from Bolarinho (Trask kick), 6:37
B — Clifford 18 pass from Bolarinho (Trask kick), 2:56
H — Brady 5 run (run failed), 9:50
B — Bradley Drewek 1 run (Trask kick), 4:49
H — Brady 14 run (Patrick Yale kick), 3:30
RUSHING: H (29-255) — Chance Brady 24-229, Shain Roche 2-17, Tommy Morgan 3-9; B (36-171) — Bradley Drewek 18-84, Jordan Bolarinho 15-74
PASSING: H — Morgan 14-24-0, 185; B (12-20-0, 129) — Bolarinho 12-19-0, 129; Matt Clifford 0-1-0, 0
RECEIVING: H — Jordan Javier 7-85, Roche 4-51, John Ramsdell 3-49; B — Alec Mattar 3-47, Clifford 3-44, Mike Casey 3-20, Kevin Casey 3-18