HAVERHILL — While some might say defending 4A Eastern Massachusetts champ Whittier might have bitten off more than it could chew by scheduling Division 1A Revere, no one can deny that the Wildcats did some heavy-duty gnawing on the visiting Patriots yesterday afternoon.
Whittier was unable to maintain a 14-point third-quarter lead before being shut out in overtime en route to a 40-34 setback to Revere.
"We were confident," said Whittier's Jordan Britton, who anchored an offensive line that powered the Wildcats to 429 yards rushing on 65 attempts. "We know we have the talent to play with anybody. We have the line and the running backs that can play with anyone like this."
Offensively, the Wildcats (1-1) pounded the Patriots, who scored five of the game's final six touchdowns. But Whittier, which ran 40 more plays than Revere, was unable to contain running back Trea Weathers, who gained 103 of his 149 yards in the second half.
Weathers scored his third and final touchdown on the second play in overtime before the Patriots (2-0) held the Wildcats to zero yards on their possession in the extra frame.
After the teams traded touchdowns on the game's first two possessions, Whittier (1-1) took command the rest of the first half with two touchdown drives that both culminated in touchdown runs by Jack Creesy, who added a two-point conversion. Mark Asemota, who gave the Wildcats a 6-0 lead with a 3-yard run, ran for a conversion that gave Whittier a 22-8 lead at intermission.
Revere, which scored 48 first-half points in a season-opening victory over Medford, cut its deficit when Tom Portrait went 70 yards with the second-half kickoff, but Whittier immediately reclaimed a 14-point advantage with an 85-yard drive that Shane Surette ended with a 9-yard run.
The Patriots racked up more big plays when Weathers went 64 yards for a score and Drew Lauria hauled in an 86-yard scoring pass from Paul Norton that narrowed Whittier's lead to 28-26 at the end of the third quarter.
Moments later, Surette put Whittier ahead 34-26 with an 80-yard explosion. Like they did the entire game, Wildcat linemen made key downfield blocks on the run. Surette, who had 119 yards on eight attempts, was one of three Wildcats who surpassed 100 yards rushing, joining Asemota (144) and Creesy (103).
"We knew coming in that we were going to be the better line," Britton said. "We have the confidence in all of our linemen that we can be the best line on the field in every game."
Revere tied the score midway through the fourth on a 5-yard run by Joe Amaya followed by a two-point conversion pass.
"This was a good opportunity to see what we've got, playing a school of this caliber," Whittier coach Kevin Bradley said.
"You have to see what they're going to do, and I think we stood our ground with them. It was a fight in a phone booth."