Shrewsbury loses Thanksgiving Day game to Wachusett Regional

By John Orrell, Contributing Writer

SH colonialsShrewsbury – When the Shrewsbury High varsity football team spoiled the holiday fun for Thanksgiving Day rival Wachusett Regional in 2013 by connecting on an 18-yard TD pass in the end zone as the clock ran out for a 21-20 victory, it set off one of the most frenzied celebrations ever seen on the Colonials home field.

That same sense of euphoria was not to be replicated when the two teams returned to match up at Shrewsbury for this year’s holiday classic, as the visiting Mountaineers achieved their quest for payback by delivering a 27-14 victory that assuaged some of the pain that has lingered for the past 24 months.

The Mountaineers were clearly on a mission to erase 2013’s painful memory that has haunted them since their last appearance here and players, especially the seniors, were determined that lightning would not strike twice.

“We knew Wachusett was big and physical and we were going to have to try and stop their run between the tackles and we were going to have to run the ball between the tackles,” explained SHS head coach John Aloisi postgame. “Unfortunately, they controlled the line of scrimmage a little better today and that was the difference.”

Wachusett set the tone before much of the Colonial faithful had taken their seats when kickoff returner Ryan McCarthy took the opening kickoff to the house racing 80 yards with some fancy tightrope walking along the Shrewsbury sideline. McCarthy managed to stay in bounds to put his team up 6-0 as the extra-point conversion attempt failed.

Shrewsbury (4-7 on the season) answered back with a three-play drive that culminated with a Jake Ayisi 33-yard TD run that put the Colonials on top for what would be the only time in the game. Wachusett proceeded to kick the offensive adrenaline into high gear with an 11-play, 65-yard march that was capped by running back Colin Cummings’ one-yard plunge to the end zone putting the visitors on top to stay.

Shrewsbury threatened to close the gap before halftime marching to the Wachusett six yard-line, but a field goal attempt as time ran out broke left missing the uprights.

The Wachusett defense stiffened in the second half stopping Shrewsbury on drives that resulted in several changes of possession. A 49-yard third-quarter strike from QB Ben Lucier to Jeff Williamson put things out of reach by extending the lead to 20-7. Running back Josh Furtado finished the day’s scoring not long after with a one-yard TD run to extend the advantage to 27-7.

Shrewsbury closed the gap with a late fourth-quarter QB draw as quarterback Drew Campanale found a seam and raced thirteen yards to the end zone to close the deficit to 27-14, but for the Colonials, it was too little, too late.

“What killed us today were penalties,” said senior lineman and co-captain Chandler Couture, whose team was heavily penalized on the day including a TD pass to receiver Nick Martin that was negated by a holding call. “We beat ourselves but we can’t do anything about that. We did pretty well. I’d love to win on Thanksgiving and go out with a senior win, but you can’t always get what you want.”

Aloisi, while clearly disappointed with the game’s outcome, had praise for his team that fought hard from start to finish, but was in agreement on Couture’s assessment of the referee calls against them.

“Throughout the season we played really hard,” he said. “I credit Wachusett for being a good, strong team. I think we shot ourselves in the foot today with a lot of penalties too, but overall we fought hard.

“This is a really cool atmosphere today. Our community really came together. We had a good crowd. We had youth football kids here. We had a lot of alumnae come back. I think it’s a special day for the kids, especially the seniors. Unfortunately, we came up a little short.”

Awards presented postgame on behalf of the Knights of Columbus went to Couture as overall game MVP, Avisi as offensive MVP and Jared Godek as defensive MVP.





















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Posted by on Nov 30 2015. Filed under Byline Stories, Shrewsbury, Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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