Bourne defense up to task
LYNN - A defiant second-half defensive performance helped Bourne cap off an undefeated season with a 16-14 victory over Hamilton-Wenham in the Division 3A Super Bowl at Manning Field yesterday.
“We really tightened up our defense in the second half, which was just outstanding,’’ Bourne coach John McIntyre said. “Our defense really saved the game for us.’’
It was the first Super Bowl title for the Canalmen, who were down, 14-8, after a high-paced first half that ended with Generals quarterback Trevor Lyons wincing in pain from a right shoulder injury that sidelined him for the remainder of the game.
Bourne got on the board first as Jacob Achstetter had a 32-yard reception and a 34-yard run, setting up Joe Epps’s 5-yard sweep for his 23d TD of the season.
“It was a team effort,’’ said Epps, who had 66 yards on 15 carries. “If they were shutting me down, then we had our other running backs, our wide receivers, and our quarterback stepping up. It was the team that got it done.’’
Hamilton-Wenham (11-1) got its potent ground attack moving at the start of the second quarter, with Lyons leading an 11-play drive, all on rushes.
On third and 9 from the Bourne 16-yard line, Lyons scrambled through the middle of the Canalmen defense, then spun to elude two defenders and was stopped at the 1. Eliot Burr punched it in on the next play.
Lyons found tight end Luke Wendt for the 2-point conversion to the tie the score, 8-8. On the next drive, Bourne fumbled on third and 6 and Wendt pounced on it, putting the Generals on the Bourne 44.
Lyons dropped back to pass on first down, tossing a deep spiral down the middle to Matt Putur, who streaked past the defense and caught the ball in stride to put the Generals ahead, 14-8.
But the strike came at a cost because Lyons went to the sideline holding his throwing arm.
“I felt so bad for him, he is a [heck] of a football player,’’ McIntyre said. “That changed the complexion of the game a little bit.’’
Midway through the third quarter, Bourne capitalized on a fumble recovery by Drew Girouard, marched down field, and on the 10th play of the drive, Jason Moriarty rolled to his left and found Nick Pereira in the back corner of the end zone to tie the score. Moriarty’s 2-point conversion put Bourne back on top.
“We knew it was there all day and that play was open,’’ Moriarty said. “This team knows how to win and we just did what we had to do and put it in the end zone.’’
An 18-yard pass late in the fourth quarter from Steve Brao to Putur sparked some life into the Hamilton-Wenham offense, but back-to-back sacks by Jack Schmitt and Colin Lanoie, and a busted direct snap to running back Dakota Stevens brought up fourth down.
As Brao dropped back, Achstetter came charging through the line and swatted down the final pass attempt.
“To go 13-0 is just incredible,’’ McIntyre said. “You don’t even think of it. I haven’t even had a chance to relax yet and now I’m going to sit back and really enjoy this.’’
“This is the best thing that’s ever happened,’’ said Girouard. “We couldn’t have asked for anything more and we are going to bring this to the grave with us.’’