By Dan Guttenplan
---- — AMESBURY — The North Reading football team is determined to prove it belonged in the Division 4 playoffs, and Amesbury was on the receiving end of that statement last evening.
The Hornets (5-4) posted a victory in Amesbury for the first time in program history, 42-28, at James J. Landry Stadium in the Division 4 North consolation round.
C.J. McCarthy had 32 carries for 264 yards and five touchdowns in one of the top performances in North Reading history.
Last night brought North Reading’s winning streak to three, and it marked the second straight week the Hornets scored 42 points.
Since the Hornets had their backs against the wall on the final week of the regular season — needing a win to remain in consideration for a playoff berth — they have recorded 14-plus point victories over Pentucket, Winthrop and North Reading.
North Reading did not make the playoffs due to Hamilton-Wenham’s automatic entry as a top-two finisher in the Cape Ann League Baker Division.
“At one point, we thought we had a shot at the playoffs as the No. 8 team,” coach Jeff Wall said.
“Hamilton-Wenham got the automatic bid, and that woke our kids up a little bit. All we talked about was showing people we deserved to be in the upper bracket.”
North Reading jumped to a 20-0 lead. The Indians started the game with an impressive drive inside the North Reading 10, but Mac Short was intercepted by Blake Tamlyn-Hayden in the end zone.
North Reading took control in the second quarter when Tamlyn-Hayden broke a 45-yard touchdown run to make it 14-0.
On the ensuing kickoff, North Reading recovered a loose ball that deflected off an Amesbury player’s helmet, setting up another possession that started in Amesbury territory.
McCarthy finished off that drive a few minutes later to give North Reading a 20-0 lead.
North Reading rushed for 448 yards in total.
“They didn’t do anything we weren’t prepared for,” Amesbury coach Thom Connors said.
“We just couldn’t stop them. When we did, we couldn’t convert it into points. We were in a track meet, and they had some breaks that hurt us.”
North Reading 42, Amesbury 28
North Reading (5-4): 6 20 8 8 — 42
Amesbury (4-5): 0 14 7 7 — 28
NR — C.J. McCarthy 6 run (run failed), 4:03
NR — Blake Tamlyn-Hayden 45 run (McCarthy run), 8:55
NR — McCarthy 1 run (kick failed), 4:20
A — Ryan Foley 12 run (Mac Short kick), 2:57
NR — McCarthy 3 run (run failed), 1:06
A — Ben Cullen 7 pass from Short (Short kick), 0:00
A — Sam Springis 52 fumble return (Short kick), 6:43
NR — McCarthy 2 run (McCarthy run), 4:53
NR — McCarthy 6 run (McCarthy run), 9:33
A — Short 4 run (Short kick), 4:25
Rushing: NR — McCarthy 32-264-5; Tamlyn-Hayden 11-142-1; Ryan Sanborn 11-25; Nicholas O’Connell 2-7; David Smith 1-6; Amesbury — Cullen 12-60; Short 5-18-1; Foley 2-13-1.
Passing: A — Short 12-21-144-1-3.
Receiving: A — Cullen 5-51-1; Pat Scanlon 3-67; Foley 3-17; Ray Melis 1-9.