By Hector Longo
---- — HAVERHILL — At some point, the Hillies had to score or an end like this was inevitable.
“Smoke and mirrors carried us this far,” said Haverhill High head coach Tim O’Connor.
Make that smoke, mirrors and one nasty defense.
But last night in the Division 2 North semifinals, Haverhill ran into a gritty, opportunistic group from Lincoln-Sudbury that pounced on a pair of poor punts and seemingly every other Hillie mistake in a 27-6 win.
“That’s a very good football team, from a very good conference, and offensively, we just are what we are,” said O’Connor.
After scoring no offensive touchdowns in the playoff-opening win last week vs. Lynn English, the Hillies looked on the cusp of breaking through. Four trips inside the L-S 15 yielded only six points, though, and ultimately, that would spell doom.
Next week, Haverhill fills out the regular season dance card with Reading before a Thanksgiving date against Lowell.
“We had our chances,” said O’Connor.
The best opportunity came with momentum in the third quarter when down 20-6, Patrick Yale picked off a Warrior pass and returned it to the Hillie 48.
Haverhill marched right down the L-S 8, but couldn’t stick it in, failing on downs.
While Haverhill bowed out of the playoffs, the Hillies got major efforts from their usual suspects. Yale was everywhere in the defensive backfield. Johnny Ramsdell hauled in the Hillies’ lone TD, a 46-yard TD strike in a 3-catch, 76-yard night. Piero Garcia caught four balls for 48 yards.
Defensively, tackling machine Phil Panici delivered his expected 15-stick performance.
Lincoln-Sudbury 27, Haverhill 6
Lincoln-Sudbury (7-3): 7 7 6 7 — 27
Haverhill (6-4): 0 0 6 0 — 6
LS — Greg Roder 7 run (Roder kick), 6:09
LS — Sam Collello 27 pass from Ben Collello (Roder kick), :56.6
LS — Sid Warrenbrand 17 interception return (kick wide), 10:09
H — Johnny Ramsdell 46 pass from Shane Finn (kick wide), 8:56
LS — Otto Saccardo 6 run (Roder kick), 1:02
RUSHING: Haverhill (24-100) — Shane Finn 3-(-5), Johnny Ramsdell 2-13, Ian Kessel 13-44, Bryam Discua 1-6, Tommy Maguire 2-10, Stephane Bristol 3-32; LS (40-163) — Roder 13-66, Saccardo 10-41
PASSING: Haverhill — Finn 13-22-1, 178; LS — B. Collello 5-8-1, 75
RECEIVING: Haverhill — Ramsdell 3-76, Piero Garcia 4-48, Bristol 2-(-2), Discua 3-21, Pat Yale 1-15