A Lyons tale: QB’s late TD boosts Generals
ANDOVER - After 39 minutes of scoreless football, a call from deep in the Hamilton-Wenham playbook determined the outcome of last night’s Division 3A playoff game between the unbeaten Generals and Newburyport.
With the ball on the 5-yard line and 32 seconds remaining, Generals quarterback Trevor Lyons rolled right on a wide-side bootleg, a play that was used only two other occasions all season, and beat two defenders by diving into the end zone to give Hamilton-Wenham a 7-0 victory.
“We were going into the attack a little bit,’’ said Hamilton-Wenham coach Andrew Morency. “It’s something we knew we had and it’s kind of ironic that was the play that broke it open.’’
Lyons would not be denied.
“There was no way that they were going to keep me out of the end zone,’’ he said. “I had to get in.’’
With 5:28 remaining, the Generals were the beneficiaries of a short punt that left them with only 40 yards between them and the end zone.
Hamilton-Wenham (11-0) picked up two big fourth-down conversions on its final drive, the first on a fourth-and-1 play on which Lyons kept the ball and pushed forward behind his offensive line.
The second was on fourth and 16 with only 2:22 left.
Lyons was quickly forced to loft a pass over three charging defenders, and he managed to find running back Elliott Burr in space.
Burr rumbled for 30 yards, ultimately setting up the winning touchdown.
Hamilton-Wenham looked to set the tone early when Lyons busted a 68-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage. However, it was called back because of an illegal procedure penalty, and the defenses then dug in for the long haul.
“The way the game was going, we were hoping that wouldn’t come back to haunt us,’’ said Morency of the early penalty.
What haunted Hamilton-Wenham instead was the Clippers defense, which stacked the box and slowed down Lyons and Burr.
Evan Habib came up with three big stops in the backfield and Jared Bradbury was seemingly everywhere for Newburyport, coming up with two pass deflections and two sacks.
“They’ve been hot lately,’’ said Morency of the Clippers defense. “We had the idea that this was going to be a slugfest.’’
The Generals will play in their first Super Bowl Saturday vs. Bourne.
“It’s the greatest thing ever,’’ said Lyons, who finished with 75 yards on the ground.
“I’m going to look back on this in years to come and I’ll never forget this.’’