LOWELL, Mass. -- Lowell had a chance to tie Saturday night's game with No. 6 Chelmsford late in the fourth quarter and they needed one yard to continue their drive, but that did not occur. Instead, Lions junior defensive lineman Lou Ferrer stuffed Ngaiiva Mason for no gain, giving the Lions the ball back and a chance to go ahead two touchdowns. Despite giving up one more, this defensive stop gave Chelmsford the cushion they needed to ride out the rest of the 28-22 win over its Merrimack Valley Conference rival.
“It was gut check time for us at that point,” Chelmsford head coach Bruce Rich said.
In the third quarter, Chelmsford fumbled the ball on the opening drive and had a three-and-out series while Lowell was able to get on the board with 9:08 left in the third and again on the first play of the fourth quarter, tying the Lions 14-14 and showing signs of a potential upset. Chelmsford then took two straight drives into the end zone, one 4:06 (54 yards) and the other 2:21 (71 yards).
Lowell was able to score with six seconds left to bring them within eight and R.J. Noel’s PAT rush brought it within 6, but a failed onside kick allowed Chelmsford to cruise.
“We’ll take a win,” Rich said. “I don’t care who it is in this league … they’re hard to get.”
The 5-foot-11, 290-pound junior came up with a huge tackle late in the fourth to get the ball back for the Lions, but Rich is used to seeing Ferrer tackle opponents. As a wrestler for Chelmsford, Ferrer has plenty of practice grabbing and slamming guys down to the mat. Rich thinks that he transfers some of those skills well into football.
“Lou plays low,” Rich said. “He’s very, very good in clinches and he knows how to get by people. Again, he plays low, he’s an immovable object, so he kind of spear heads that front line and the other guys are making plays off of him.”
PLENTY O' PENALTIES
Aside from the usual off sides, pass interference and false start penalties, roughing the passer and unnecessary roughness penalties were flying fairly frequently for both teams.
“The game got a little chippy, there was some extra stuff going on,” Rich said.
When asked if they were discussing chemistry after the play was dead, Ferrer made it clear that the Lions and Red Raiders were not talking about bonds or the periodic table.
“It was a lot of talking back and forth going on after the plays… A lot of penalties on us but we kind of stuck in there and played hard."
Rich was not so convinced that the players were aware of their surroundings due to the energy at Cawley Stadium and chalked it up to adrenaline.
“It was such a physical game; I don’t think the kids heard the whistle every time.”
GIVE ME SOME MORE
The Chelmsford offensive line opened up holes late in the fourth quarter to allow running backs Eddie Sheridan and Colby Emanouil the space they needed to get the first down, but in each case on fourth and one, Sheridan and Emanouil got more than they needed. They knew that a one score lead against Lowell wouldn’t be enough to secure the win, so the backs and the linemen gave a little more than expected to pull out the win last night.
“Our line blocked real well tonight,” Rich said. “They bought 7, 8, 9 guys, they were coming all night long. I thought we picked up many of their stunters.”
Sheridan, (2 rushing TDs) appreciates the feeling of getting the ball down the stretch in a tight situation and getting the necessary yardage.
“That’s my favorite part of the game, just getting that yard, I love it.”
Sheridan admitted that like any team, the lineman and the running backs go back and forth with barbs, but when it counts, in the fourth quarter marching down the field, there is no contention in the Lion pride – they are hunting together.
“We’re a family. We play hard and finish hard.”
CHELMSFORD 28, LOWELL 22
C (8-1) 0 - 14 - 0 - 14 --– 28
L (5-4) 0 - 0 - 7 - 15 –-- 22
C – Colby Emanouil 15 run (PAT failed)
C – Eddie Sheridan 13 run (Sheridan pass from Emanouil)
L – Gilberto Brown 40 pass from R.J. Noel (Connor McHugh kick)
L – Noel 11 run (McHugh kick)
C – Sheridan 2 run (Charlie Calenda kick)
C – Emanouil 41 run (Calenda kick)
L – Brown 9 pass from Noel (Noel rush)