Schaefer’s breakout season continues in Cloe-O’Brien Bowl for 3-0 Pembroke football team

  • Pembroke Academy’s Shawn Burrows (50) jumps high in celebration after a touchdown from teammate Nate Quinn during Saturday’s game against Merrimack Valley in Pembroke, the annual Cloe-O’Brien Bowl. PA improved to 3-0 with a 16-7 win. MICHELLE WELDON / Courtesy

  • Pembroke Academy’s Jack Schaefer (6) takes a well-earned breather during Saturday’s game against Merrimack Valley in Pembroke, the annual Cloe-O’Brien Bowl. Schaefer was the Pembroke MVP as the Spartans improved to 3-0 with a 16-7 win. MICHELLE WELDON / Courtesy

  • Pembroke Academy’s Shawn Burrows (50) celebrates after making a tackle with Aiden Weldon (32) during Saturday’s game against Merrimack Valley. MICHELLE WELDON / Courtesy

  • Pembroke Academy’s Jack Schaefer (6) weaves through traffic with the ball during Saturday’s game against Merrimack Valley in Pembroke, the annual Cloe-O’Brien Bowl. Schaefer was the Pembroke MVP as the Spartans improved to 3-0 with a 16-7 win. MICHELLE WELDON / Courtesy

Monitor staff
Published: 10/11/2020 4:23:08 PM
Modified: 10/11/2020 4:22:58 PM

PEMBROKE – The Pembroke Academy football team has faced plenty of adversity in recent years, so Spartans head coach Will Moher knows who to call on in those times – senior Jack Schaefer.

In a defensive game where points and big plays were scarce, Schaefer had a rushing touchdown, an interception and a touchdown-saving tackle to lead PA to a 16-7 win against Merrimack Valley in the annual Cloe-O’Brien Bowl on Saturday.

Schaefer (12 carries, 79 yards) was named the Spartans’ MVP for the second year in a row, but this was the first time Pembroke has beaten MV and lifted the Cloe-O’Brien trophy since 2012.

“Jack is what we call a baller,” Moher said. “He is a competitive kid. One of those kids who you never have to tell to get up for a moment ... When we are in a tough spot, I know we can hand off to (Schaefer) and we’re in good hands. I know when I give it to him, the ball is safe, going forward.”

Pembroke is now 3-0, but Saturday’s win didn’t feature 40-plus points like the first two games of the season. The Spartans totaled just 176 yards against a tough Pride defense that was led by co-MVPs Seth Baylus and Jake Currier (sack, tackle for loss).

Senior defensive tackle Jeff Hollins (three tackles for loss), sophomore linebacker Nick DeBello (two tackles for loss) and sophomore cornerback Matt Holis (two tackles for loss) were also part of the defensive effort from MV (1-2), which shut down Spartan quarterback Ryan Casey (1-for-7).

“We stayed with them,” MV head coach Joe Raycraft said. “We made some mistakes and they capitalized. Defensively we played well and our interior people did a great job and shut down the pass.”

The only scoring in the first half came from Harry Army, the Pembroke soccer star who was playing in his first football game and made his first kicking attempt, a 19-yard field goal to give the Spartans a 3-0 lead. They took that edge into halftime after Schaefer intercepted a pass by Noah Miller (9-for-17, 141 yards) on a play from Pembroke’s 18 yard line with 29 seconds left in the half.

Schaefer’s 10-yard catch on the opening drive of the second half was PA’s only successful completion of the game, and Schaefer made it sure it counted when he finished that drive with a 4-yard scoring run with 8:23 left in the third.

MV answered when Travis Knouse (13 carries, 35 yards; two catches, 24 yards) scored on a 5-yard run just about a minute later to cut the deficit to 10-7 and give the Pride some momentum. But the Spartans took it back by giving the ball to Nate Quinn (13 carries, 39 yards, TD) and Logan Longacre (eight carries, 51 yards), grinding out the clock and getting the final points on a 9-yard run from Quinn with 3:50 left in the game.

“The run is what won it for us today,” Moher said. “When things weren’t going well, I knew I could turn back to the guys running the ball.”

Pembroke’s defense also had big plays, with lineman Aiden Weldon (five tackles for loss), Cody Montambeault, Cody LeClair, Devin Bourget, Ethan Harmony (three tackles for loss), Shawn Burrows and Manchester Central transfer Aaron Slater playing well up front, and Charlie Ransom and Longacre coming up with interceptions.

Schaefer also made a highlight-worthy play late in the third quarter, cutting off Baylus (two catches, 54 yards) as he was sprinting down the sideline on a 53-yard gain that otherwise would likely have gone for a touchdown.

“As (Jack) goes, we go,” said Moher, “he’s our leader offensively, and defensively, too.”

Schaefer was named to the Division II North Conference Second Team last year, and last week he was named a Player of the Week in the High School Football Report. It’s great that Schaefer and the 3-0 Spartans are starting to get noticed, but they want more.

“We have a lot of work to do, but we’re obviously excited,” Schaefer said. “We’ll take today to celebrate, but Hillsboro-Deering (Hopkinton) is another tough opponent that we have to prepare for. I have a lot of things to get better at ... but our hard work is paying off. It feels good.”

“(MV) had a pretty good plan,” Moher said. “By no means are we taking these teams lightly. The 3-0 start is amazing, but if you end 3-2 it isn’t as cool. We know we have tests ahead of us, but I think our kids are up for the challenge.”




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