HAVERHILL — Tim O’Connor understands why he was doused last night, but he thought the drenching was premature.
Following the Hillies’ 41-20 victory over Methuen, with Haverhill improving its record to 6-2 and clinching its first winning season since 2001, several players surprised their coach by pouring a jug of ice water on him.
“I didn’t expect it ... I know these kids haven’t had a lot to celebrate in a long time, but this is just a step,” said O’Connor. “We still have a lot more to do to get where we want to be.”
Agreed senior quarterback Tommy Morgan: “I didn’t even know about it (clinching the winning season) until there were five minutes left in the game and some guys were talking about it. This was just a big game we wanted to win.”
Once again, it was the offense that fueled the victory, with Chance Brady leading the way. He rushed for five touchdowns and 257 yards, including 181 yards and four TDs in the second half when the Hillies pulled away. He now has rushed for 1,637 yards and 27 touchdowns on the year.
Morgan did his part by passing for 137 yards and a touchdown, 32 yards to Jordan Javier. It was Javier’s 10th TD reception of the year.
“It’s nice that we have more balance this year,” said O’Connor. “It makes it a lot easier to move the ball.”
Haverhill’s defense also got into the act. After allowing Methuen junior William Weinhold to rush for 137 yards on 18 carries in the first half, the Hillies held him to 14 yards in the second half.
“We made some adjustments and that helped, but I think the defense is just getting better,” said O’Connor. “It’s a young group that is learning.”
Junior Michael Kwegyir-Attah was particularly effective from his outside linebacker slot, making five tackles in an eight-play sequence, and O’Connor also lauded the play of Joshua Noel and Stephane Bristol.