Desmond lifts Norton
BRIDGEWATER - All season, Sean Ryan has gotten the headlines for Norton's football team, and deservedly so. But in the biggest game of the season it was teammate Brian Desmond who stepped into the limelight. The wide receiver/defensive back caught a touchdown pass and hauled in a pair of interceptions to help lift the Lancers to a thrilling, 14-6, win over Abington in the Division 3 semifinals last night.
"Brian Desmond is an extremely capable player, and a great athlete," said Norton coach Rob McCoy. "When the ball is in his hands he can do great things and he certainly showed that tonight."
Ryan was his usual self on the ground, rushing for 129 yards and a touchdown, but it was a team effort offensively.
The Lancers moved the ball early and got deep into Abington territory on their second possession thanks to a 34-yard pass from Brendan St. Germain to Darren Doucette. But on second-and-goal, Abington's Ian Campbell blasted Ryan and the ball popped loose, recovered by the Green Wave.
Norton continued to attack, and finally broke through near the end of the half. Ryan started the drive with a 15-yard run into Abington territory. St. Germain then found Desmond for 13 yards over the middle just as he was belted, and the Lancers were in business. Another 16-yard run by Ryan brought the ball into the red zone.
On the next play, St. Germain again found Desmond over the middle at the 5-yard line, and he avoided a tackle and waltzed into the end zone for a 15-yard TD and a 7-0 lead with 1:49 left in the half.
Abington drove to the Norton 9 as the half wound down, thanks to a couple of great plays by Kristian LaPointe, but three straight incompletions ended the drive and the half with Abington trailing, 7-0.
The Green Wave opened the second half with the ball and went back to the running game, but it was a 23-yard pass on third down from Steve Perakslis to Zach Littman that kept the drive alive. LaPointe took over from there, running in from 6 yards with 2:43 left in the third quarter.
The Green Wave elected to go for two and went with a little trickery. LaPointe took a toss and looked to throw, but couldn't find an open receiver and the pass fell incomplete.
Leading, 7-6, Norton couldn't muster anything on its first drive of the second half and gave the ball right back to the Green Wave. Abington had momentum, as Perakslis found Littman three times for 45 yards and got his team to the 11-yard line.
On first and goal, Perakslis had an open receiver, but as the ball was in the air, the receiver fell, and Desmond took advantage, intercepting the ball at the goal line. Abington got the ball back deep in its territory but turned it over on downs. Ryan ran it in from the 9 with 1:54 left for a 14-6 lead.
Keith Faxon returned the subsequent kickoff to the Norton 42, giving the Green wave hope, but three plays later Desmond made an acrobatic catch on a jump ball for his second interception.