LAWRENCE — Losing big to Central Catholic two weeks ago wasn’t much fun for Haverhill, but it did result in a positive.
“After the Central game, we had a reality check,” said Haverhill coach Tim O’Connor. “We realized we had to put our best athletes on the field where they could help us.”
Specifically, that meant giving senior captain and defensive stalwart Tommy Maguire added duties on offense, which proved to be a stroke of genius in the Hillies’ 26-12 victory over Lawrence last night.
Maguire rushed for 68 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries, caught four passes for 39 yards, rushed for two extra-point conversions and returned an extra-point try 102 yards on an interception.
“I love it,” said Maguire, who was awarded a game ball following the victory. “I’ll do anything they want to help the team, but this was fun.
“That was a tough loss to Central but, like coach (O’Connor) said, it’s how you come back that matters.”
After a week off, Haverhill came on strong in the first quarter, scoring on a 3-yard run by sophomore Ian Kessel (23 carries, 107 yards) and adding a strange 2-point conversion when Michael Kwegyir-Attah recovered a blocked kick and ran the ball in.
Lawrence came back with a pair of touchdowns, a 1-yard run by QB Nelson Valerio and a 32-yard strike to Luis Crispin, to take the lead. But Maguire intercepted two extra-point pass attempts, returning the second one 102 yards for two points to make the score 12-10 at halftime.
The second half was all Haverhill with Kessel and Maguire scoring TD runs of 19 and 12 yards. Haverhill’s defense stymied the Lancers throughout the last two quarters, holding them to just 20 yards on the ground and 45 through the air. Also, Kessel helped the Hillies prevent a fourth quarter comeback with five carries for 39 yards and two first downs.