HAVERHILL — It's been an exhausting year for the Haverhill Hillies, but in the second half of yesterday's 41-14 loss to Tewksbury, the Hillies showed more signs of life than they have all season.
On the opening drive of the second half, running back Malcolm Novello burst 53 yards to the right side, beating the linebackers and safeties down the sideline for a score.
On Tewksbury's second play after the kickoff, the Hillie defense swarmed, causing a fumble and later in the half, Jeremy Martinez tacked on a 14-yard touchdown run as the Hillies outscored Tewksbury 14-7 in the second half.
"We've started slow in every game and it's been killing us," said Haverhill head coach Tim O'Connor.
"You can't come out at this level of high school football and spot teams big leads like that. You need a full 60-minute effort and I we haven't been able to have one yet."
Tewksbury scored on every drive in the opening half, and didn't punt the ball until late in the fourth quarter.
Novello was the bright spot for the Hillie offense, rushing for 115 yards on 19 carries.
"Malcolm's a senior and he's trying to get into college so we want to be able to showcase him like that," O'Connor said. "He wants to show people that he has the ability to play at that next level, and he does. He's a good runner; works really hard."
Novello missed some plays in the third quarter getting stretched out on the sidelines, but was right back in the mix a few plays later, with Connor Tufts often serving as his lead blocker.
Tufts, a junior former quarterback turned fullback, is listed at 5-foot-11, 200 pounds. He was the Hillie middle man, rushing up the gut in short-yardage situations and lead blocking for Novello, who showed shifty side-to-side moves and bursts of speed into the open field.
"He has the ability to get around people," O'Connor said. "Obviously he's a strength for us and we were just trying to play to our strength. He ran well."
Tewksbury 41, Haverhill 14
Haverhill (0-9): 0 0 6 8 — 14
Tewksbury (3-6):14 20 7 0 — 41
T — Sean Connolly 4 run (Sean McCarthy kick), 6:50
T — Anthony Acari 22 run (McCarthy kick), 1:47
T — Chris Bettano 15 pass from Connolly (kick failed), 6:47
T — Acari 30 pass from Connolly (Ryan Vibber pass from Connolly), 4:57
T — Acari 5 run (kick blocked), 0:24
H — Malcolm Novello 53 run (kick failed), 7:03
T — Connolly 48 interception return (McCarthy kick), 6:02
H — Jeremy Martinez 14 run (David Herook pass from Tom Morgan), 3:40
RUSHING: H (29-125) — Malcolm Novello 19-115, Jeremy Martinez 3-9, Connor Tufts 5-5, Tom Morgan 2(-14); T (22-156) — Anthony Acari 8-711, Chris Bettano 8-38, Sean Connolly 3-37, David Gallotto 1-3, Brad Gahagan 1-5, Daniel Altavesta 1-2.
PASSING: H — Tom Morgan 4-12-2, 19; T — Sean Connolly 8-10-0, 197, Zak DiRocco 0-2-0, 0
RECEIVING: H — Jeremy Martinez 1-4, Nick Defusco 2-10, David Herook 1-5; T — Kevin Saunders 4-90, Ryan Vibber 1-34, Anthony Acari 1-30, Joe Hulme 1-18, Chris Bettano 1-15