Hillsboro-Deering-Hopkinton football claims 22-13 win vs. Pembroke Academy 

  • Jack Morrall (24) runs for a touchdown for Hillsboro-Deering-Hopkinton during the first quarter on Sunday against Pembroke Academy. Morrall had two touchdowns and two 2-point conversions to help the Redhawks (3-1) to a 22-13 win against Pembroke (3-1). JEFF SULLIVAN/ sullivaneventphotography.com

  • Jack Morrall (24) crosses the goal line for a touchdown for Hillsboro-Deering-Hopkinton during the first quarter on Sunday against Pembroke Academy. Morrall had two touchdowns and two 2-point conversions to help the Redhawks (3-1) to a 22-13 win against Pembroke (3-1). JEFF SULLIVAN/ sullivaneventphotography.com

  • Pembroke Academy’s Cody Lecliar celebrates after recovering a fumble agasint Hillsboro-Deering-Hopkinton on Sunday in Hopkinton. Leclair had four tackles-for-a-loss to lead the PA defense, but HDH won, 22-13, handing Pembroke its first loss of the season. JEFF SULLIVAN/ sullivaneventphotography.com

  • Pembroke Academy’s Jack Schaefer (6) gets tackled from behind by Hillsboro-Deering-Hopkinton defenders Vincent Waddell (50, bottom) and Jack Morrall (24, top) while Eli Tanuvasa (left) waits for him. The HDH defense held the talented Schaefer to just eight yards on seven carries in a 22-13 win. JEFF SULLIVAN/ sullivaneventphotography.com

  • Pembroke Academy’s Scotty LaChance (right) hauls in a pass that he will turn into a touchdown during Sunday’s game against Hillsboro-Deering-Hopkinton. LaChance had four catches for 119 yards , but HDH beat PA, 22-13. Both teams are now 3-1. JEFF SULLIVAN/ sullivaneventphotography.com

Monitor staff
Published: 10/19/2020 9:13:30 AM

HOPKINTON – Maybe it’s because both teams came in with something to prove. Maybe some of the calls were questionable. Maybe it was a combination of both.

The referees threw the penalty flag 24 times, but in between the yellow flags raining down on the field, Hillsboro-Deering-Hopkinton and Pembroke Academy made some excellent plays. In the end, HDH made a few more.

Junior Jack Morrall scored on the ground (57 yards on 14 carries), in the air (59 yards on three catches), ran in a pair of 2-point conversions and had an interception, leading the Redhawks over previously undefeated Pembroke Academy, 22-13, on Sunday at Houston Field.

“Today was our worst game ever with penalties,” HDH head coach Jay Wood said. “It was a quality game, minus all our penalties and misgivings. If we could ever put those things away and really play a clean game we’d be good to go. But we did enough to win.”

Both teams are now 3-1 heading into the final weekend of the regular season and both programs still have plenty to prove. The Spartans are eager to show their 3-0 start was not a fluke and that they’re as good as their record indicates. The Redhawks are in Division II for the first time and eager to show they can compete at a higher level.

Pembroke lost 160 yards on 13 penalties, while HDH lost 119 yards on 11 flags (279 yards combined). Ten personal fouls were called (one was declined), six on the Spartans and four on the Redhawks. Eight of those personal fouls came in the second half, including six in the fourth quarter.

“It got a little chippy there at one point, but that’s competition,” Wood said. “(Pembroke) is coming in undefeated and they want to keep their streak going. And we want to beat them.”

Morrall scored on a 19-yard run on the first drive of the game to give the Redhawks a 6-0 lead.

“This senior class has overcome a lot of things, but this is the first time we’ve trailed this year,” Pembroke head coach Will Moher said. “Which is remarkable, considering where they’ve come from.

The following drive had eight penalties, but senior receiver Scotty LaChance (119 receiving yards, four receptions) had two spectacular catches for 22 and 35 yards and senior quarterback Ryan Casey (11-for-22, 187 passing yards) connected on an 18 yarder to Jack Schaefer (57 receiving yards, five receptions) to tie the game, 6-6, with 3:11 left in the first quarter.

Harry Army’s extra point gave Pembroke a 7-6 lead. 

Schaefer sacked Hopkinton quarterback Mike Oberheim (5-for-10, 127 passing yards) for a loss of six on the next possession forcing the Redhawks to go three-and-out, but Aidan Hudak-Hall forced and recovered a fumble, giving HDH the ball back. Oberheim connected with John Jacobsen on a 54 yard pass on the next play and Morrall ran in for two more points to give the Redhawks a 14-7 lead with four seconds left in the first quarter.

The score stayed that way for the second and third quarters, but things started to unravel for the Spartans when four personal fouls in a five-minute span (including one on Moher) gave the Redhawks excellent field position, setting Morrall up for a 20-yard scoring catch and allowing the Redhawks to take a 22-7 lead with 10:56 left in the game.

“Obviously we need to get a lot better at self-discipline, myself included. It starts at the top,” Moher said. “We had a lot of good players that made one or two mistakes here and there that disproportionately hurt us.”

Morrall picked off Casey later in the fourth, but Pembroke senior Nate Quinn recovered a fumble to give Pembroke possession near midfield with just under three minutes to go in the game. 

LaChance made his second highlight reel-worthy catch of the game, breaking away from strong coverage from Jacobsen, bobbling the ball twice while running with his arms outstretched, and finding his balance after the catch to run to the end zone on a 38-yard play, making the score 22-13 with 2:12 left on the clock. 

The Spartans failed on the 2-point conversion attempt that would have made it a one-possession game and Morrall and senior fullback Dylan Barrett (72 yards on 14 carries) had good runs to secure a first down and run out the clock.

Although penalties were responsible for moving the ball 279 yards (compared to 262 yards by HDH’s offense and 240 yards by Pembroke’s) the Redhawks’ defense, led by senior linemen Hudak-Hall and Alex Brown (six tackles, four for loss), and senior linebacker and captain Vincent Waddell (seven tackles), was strong against a formidable Pembroke running game.

Schaefer was held to 8 yards on seven carries, Quinn ran for 39 yards on seven carries and Logan Longacre ran for 9 yards on five carries for the Spartans.

“We’ve been practicing shooting gaps and cut blocking,” said Brown, one of the four Redhawk captains. “That really worked to our advantage with our big guys not getting pushed back or our defensive ends going up field too much. We had a lot of success with our defensive coordinator Chase Phaneuf. He’s really good at calling plays and he knows how to get the job done.”

“The linemen really showed up to play,” Morrall said. “It made my job really easy and ultimately led to a good team win. Overall, defense was a bright spot for us.”

Cody Leclair had four tackles for loss to lead Pembroke’s defense.

Both teams know what they need to work on as the end of the regular season approaches. Pembroke will host undefeated Bow (3-0), while HDH will host St. Thomas (0-4). Both games are slated for Saturday.

“This was probably more of a stress test on us than anything and we showed some cracks,” Moher said. “Not our best effort no matter how you cut it. We’ve got plenty to work on this week.”

“It was difficult (to stay calm down the stretch),” said Morrall. “They were chippy, but so were we. It was just a matter of not responding and not letting them get into our heads and getting back to the huddle. We’re gonna work on that and be better for next week.”

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