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Lions bust Ghosts in double overtime

By Andrew Klegman
Published: October 2008

The Newton South boys’ football team defeated the Westford Grey Ghosts on Sunday in double overtime, 27-21. Senior Captain Derek Russell was 16 for 39 with 3 touchdowns and 1 interception.

“It was an exciting game. We beat them in a close game last year, and we knew they were gunning for us. But today, we were able to show that we are legitimate contenders for the [Dual County League] title, Russell said.

Close games have not fallen in the Lion’s favor this season. The Lions opened the season with a 15-12 loss to Bishop Fenwick, followed by a 35-32 loss to defending Dual County League champion Wayland. Going into Sunday’s game, the Lions had lost 3 games by a total of 7 points. “This was really a statement game. We played hard, and were finally able to come out on top in a close game, junior Nick Caggiano said.

As of late, however, the football team has shown some signs of improvement with two quality wins over Weston and Bedford. However, the team has also been riddled with injuries. Senior Captain Mike Heller and junior running back Tevin Osbourne were both inactive going into Sunday’s game.

“I wanted to help the team. Having Me and Kwame in the back field we could really hurt other team’s defense with the run. But our defense showed up today and that’s why we won. Every one came to play, Osbourne said. Regardless of injury, the offense is still averaging just under 24 points a game this season, which has been one of the team’s strengths.

The Lions fell behind early when the Ghosts scored on their first possession by way of a 30-yard pass from Westford quarterback Nick Habosian. South responded with a 17 play drive that was halted by a Westford interception.

After an unsuccessful first quarter, the second quarter was dominated by juniors Willie Allen, Kwame Francis-John, and Adam Sangiolo. Allen had an 88-yard touchdown catch and Sangiolo recovered a fumble which led to a Francis-John two yard touchdown run. Going into the half, South led by a score of 14-7.

Unfortunately the second half began much like the first half did. The Lions put together two drives that were both halted by turnovers. Fumbles by Evan Goldberg and Francis-John had South with their backs against the wall. A two yard run by Westford Running Back Ian McEnaney ¯capped off a 14 play drive and the game was tied again, 14-14.

South had possession for almost the entire fourth quarter and was able to drive the ball down to the Grey Ghost goal line, with just under five minutes to go. Fumbles again haunted the Lions. Westford recovered on what appeared to be a miscue between Russell and Francis-John.

Westford took over with just under two minutes left. Led by quarterback Nick Habosian, the ghosts moved the ball 67 yards into south territory. As time expired, the ghosts missed a 27 yard field goal by inches that would have won them the game.

According to Dual County League regulations, when a game goes into overtime, each team gets the ball at their opponent’s ten yard line and has four plays to score. If there is still a tie at the end of this first over time session, another overtime session occurs with the same format.

The Lions won the coin toss, and began the first overtime with possession of the ball. Russell was sacked on third down, leaving South with a 4th and 15 situation. Undaunted, Russell connected with Junior Willie Allen for a touchdown. After the extra-point, south led 21-14. The Ghosts responded with a 15 yard pass of their own to knot the game at 21.

In the second overtime, the Ghosts began with the ball. Their drive proved unsuccessful as it ended in a botched field goal attempt. The Lions took over on the ten yard line. On second down, Russell dove into the end zone for what appeared to be the game winning play.¯A holding penalty brought the play back and left South on the 14 yard line. Russell found Junior Chris Lewis in the end zone for the game-winning touchdown.

The victory improved South’s record to 3-4, while Westford fell to 5-2. South’s next game is home against Boston Latin (0-7).

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