New England Football League Lowell Out-Grits Generals in a Battle for the North | New England Football League
New England Football League

Lowell Out-Grits Generals in a Battle for the North

Northern Division battle ends in overtime.
                                                 

By Jonathan Perez

Lowell, Ma – The cool breeze over Cawley Stadium would have you fooled into believing that this was a Fall playoff game. But this Week Four matchup between the Lowell Nor’easter and the North Shore Generals will definitely have playoff implications. Both teams came into this bout with a 2-1 record and in a 3-way tie atop the Northern Division. Both these contenders looked for cracks in the opponent’s armor in the first quarter, ending that first quarter without a score for either team.

The second quarter started with the Lowell Nor’easter driving for a score through the use of a play action pass. QB Tim Bushey was able to find tight end Justin Chiklis in the back of the end zone for the first score of the game. Both defenses stiffened up in the second quarter and the Generals came up with an interception to shift the momentum back in their favor. Not to be outdone, MLB Malcom Wynn of the Nor’easter delivered a crushing blow to North Shore QB Kevin Amparo who was subsequently side lined for a few downs after. Upon returning, Amparo guided his team to field goal range and they kicked a 51 yarder to cut the margin to just 4.

The following 30 seconds of football proved to be the most exciting of the evening as both teams exchanged kickoff returns for touchdowns. The first was by Lowell’s #11 Anthony “Frenchie” Courtois for 95 yards and a score. The second by #7 of the Generals, Jesse Fowler for 94 yards and a touchdown, leaving the score at 14-10. Lowell retained the advantage going into half-time.

Lowell received the ball to start the second half and was immediately met with adversity. The North Shore defense stripped and recovered a fumble. Unfortunately for the Generals, their offense could not capitalize and they went three and out forcing them to punt. After a spectacular return once again by #11 Anthony “Frenchie” Courtois, kicker Richie Grasso was in position to make a 30 yard field goal that gave Lowell a 17-10 lead.

In the fourth quarter the Nor’easter defense came up with some big pass deflections by Malcom Wynn and Adam Scott. Andrew Siafa also had a notable night defensively coming up with his third sack of the night in the fourth quarter. Siafa also nearly intercepted the Generals by beautifully picking up RB Chris Lane out of the backfield and shadowing him along the Nor’easter sideline.The General’s defense flustered QB Tim Bushey forcing a turnover on downs which allowed North Shore RB Chris Lane to rip off an exhilarating run to even the score.

With a tie game, both teams exchanged possessions in the winding minutes. The Nor’easter tried a last second field goal with Grasso to end the game but it was blocked by a surge of Generals who were not going to give up the game that easily.

In sudden death over time, the Nor’easter took possession of the ball and would quickly get to work. After a couple of miscues, QB Tim Bushey faked a hand off to Nate Adames and threw a short pass to RB Joseph Harris in the flat. Harris made the first defender miss, ran through the second, and it was off to the races for the deciding score of the game. After the game, QB Tim Bushey, who had a roller coaster of a night offensively, stated that, “At times they made it very uncomfortable in the pocket. It’s hard to see down field when you got a DT in your face and defensive ends closing the pocket on you. They got to me a few times but I have great teammates and they kept me composed.” speaking of the Generals defense who forced multiple interceptions and had several sacks on the night. When asked about that last touchdown pass he said, “Nothing compares to the feeling of throwing a game winning pass. But let’s be real I threw the ball 5 yards down field Joe did the rest. That’s what I love to do, throw short and let these athletes do the rest.”

This was indeed a night in which two top contending teams in the North left it all on the field. Coach Pearson of the Nor’easter was proud of his team’s effort and commended the Generals mentioning that “it was a hard fought battle and it came down to which team was going to make the least amount of mistakes and who would capitalize on the other’s mistakes. We were trying real hard to keep 12 (QB Kevin Amparo) and the General’s offense off the field. They are a dangerous team. 12 can stretch plays and their receivers are very good ‘yards after catch’ players and extremely dangerous. In the end we had more grit and more of a desire to win.”

This was indeed a battle and one that surely will impact the playoff picture down the road. If this game is any indication of how teams with an influx of youth and veteran leadership are going to be, the NEFL will continue to uphold its title as The Premier Semi Pro Football League in the nation.

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