HAVERHILL — Whittier could not have asked for a better way to start yesterday.
The Wildcats forced a turnover on the game’s opening drive, quickly jumped ahead with a touchdown, then added to their advantage when Justin Reyes turned in maybe the best play of the season with an acrobatic touchdown catch from Connor Bradley.
Unfortunately for Whitter, it would only be downhill from there, as North Shore responded with touchdowns on all six of its drives the rest of the game to beat the Wildcats 44-14.
“We weren’t consistent,” said Whittier coach Kevin Bradley. “That is a very good (North Shore) team and they found our weaknesses and exploited them over and over. We couldn’t fix the little things, and they became big things.”
The loss snapped a six-game winning streak for Whittier, which had not lost since opening day. The Wildcats remain unbeaten (1-0) in the CAC Large, with three league games remaining.
“Even though we were 6-1, we knew we had tough games on the way,” said Bradley. “We didn’t execute, especially in the second half. If we had played the second half like we did the first half, it could have been a different story.”
The Wildcats started fast when, following a turnover, Connor Bradley connected with Scott Bonneau on a beautiful 35-yard touchdown pass. The sophomore QB then ran in the two-point conversion for an 8-0 lead.
North Shore responded with a score to make it 8-6, but Whittier struck right back when Bradley lofted a pass to Justin Reyes, and the 6-foot-3 basketball star was able to tip the ball to himself for a tremendous catch and score.
But that would prove to be the last time the Wildcats would lead. Following the early turnover, North Shore scored on its final six possessions of the day. Most of the Bulldogs’ damage was done on the ground as they tallied 278 rushing yards. They completed just two passes, one going for a touchdown.
Connor Bradley led the Wildcats, completing 11 of his 19 passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns, and had another score go through the hands of a teammate on Whitter’s other drive into North Shore territory.
He had to pick up some extra slack as sophomore running back Jesus Sanchez, who entered the game fifth in the area in rushing with 799 yards, left early in the second half with an injury.
“It was good that we were able to throw the ball,” said Kevin Bradley. “But we struggled in the run game, special teams and defense. We have a big game next (Shawsheen), so it’s going to say a lot about that character of this team how we bounce back from this loss.”
North Shore Tech 44, Whittier 14
North Shore Tech (6-2): 6 14 16 8 — 44
Whittier (6-2): 8 6 0 0 — 14
W — Scott Bonneau 35 pass from Connor Bradley (Bradley run), 6:00
NS — Tim Andersen 2 run (pass failed), 1:55
W — Justin Reyes 12 pass from Bradley (pass failed), 8:46
NS — Ross Murphy 4 run (rush failed), 6:38
NS — Andersen 4 run (Murphy run), 2:12
NS — Chris Sudak 5 run (Bryan Jackson pass from Andersen), 3:36
NS — Jackson 6 pass from Andersen (Sudak run), 2:02
NS — Sudak 4 run (Andersen run), 6:43
RUSHING: W (29-116) — Jesus Sanchez 10-60, Robby Gramstorff 5-22, Jake McCartney 2-13, Josh Barton 2-6, Jaylin Deveau 1-5, Krystofer Beaudet 7-5, Miitchell Censullo 1-4, Joe Murach 1-1; NS (41-278) — Tyler Skane 3-93, Ross Murphy 15-63, Chis Sudak 12-57, Tim Andersen 6-47, Daniel Ramirez 2-14, Jasmany Sanchez 3-4
PASSING: W — Connor Bradley 11-19-1, 127, Censullo 0-1-0; NS — Andersen 2-5-0, 35
RECEIVING: W — Scott Bonneau 3-51, Deveau 6-42, Justin Reyes 2-34; NS — Yordany Sanchez 1-29, Bryan Jackson 1-6