A traditional power in the Boston City League, East Boston's football team has struggled this year.
But after losing three of its first four games this season, including getting shut out by Latin Academy in the season opener and by rival Madison Park last week, the Jets (2-3) finally got back on track Friday night with a tough 38-16 win against Charlestown at East Boston Stadium.
“We had a great week of practice after last week’s loss, so we’ll have to step up again next week and it’s great to set the tone in this one,” said East Boston senior running back Connor Henry, who rushed for 117 yards and four touchdowns.
“The seniors, we’re all stepping up now, the whole team is getting better and we just have to keep it up the rest of the season. We can’t get too riled up from it. We have to keep calm and play Westie next week.“
The victory didn’t come easily however. After the Jets took a 24-0 lead into the locker room at halftime, Charlestown (1-3) got two rushing touchdowns in the third quarter from Donnell Dunn, who finished with 122 yards rushing.
After Dunn’s first touchdown cut the lead to 24-8 with 6:17 to play in the third quarter, Charlestown's 6-foot-4-inch sophomore lineman Brandon Scott blocked East Boston’s punt to give his team the ball on the 11 with 3:54 left in the third quarter.
Dunn scored his second touchdown on the next play to make the score 24-16.
“We changed back to an offensive alignment that we knew was going to work,” Charlestown coach George Munroe said. “[Dunne] is our leader for a reason.”
“Yeah we all know as a team so we’re OK.”
On its next drive, East Boston was called offsides and recovered its own fumble twice before it found itself with a fourth and 2 on the Charlestown 36. That’s when junior tight end Jose Harry came up with two huge yards on a handoff up the middle for the first down.
“If we don’t get that, it’s a one touchdown game at that point and it could go either way,” East Boston coach John Parziale said. “It was big to get that and go down and score.
“A win is a win is a win. We needed it bad. Charlestown gave us some fits there, they came back in the second half, I think we fell asleep for awhile and good for Charlestown. They gave it to us, but we came back a little bit in the end.”
Four plays later Henry scored his fourth touchdown on a 20-yard run.
Orlindo Grey, who rushed for 161 yards for the Jets, iced the game with a 91-yard TD run with 3:35 left.
“I was really anxious during the game,” he said. “I had a big break and once I relied on my team I really gave it all. I did it for them. “
Charlestown freshman quarterback Frammy llevaria went down with a neck injury in the final play of the game and was taken to the hospital, but he was moving his feet and talking.
"He'll be OK," Munroe said.
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