Sluggish start, costly mistakes too much to overcome for Highlanders

On September 20, 2017, in Latest News, by The Somerville Times

By Beckett Bathanti

The Somerville High School Highlanders hung in the game early, but ultimately fell 28-16 to Lynn English High School Bulldogs on Friday at Dilboy Stadium.

Head Coach Makonnen Fenton said the effort was there, just not the execution. “We fought hard, but we didn’t do what we were supposed to do. When you don’t do what you were supposed to do, you lose,” he said.

Long, sustained drives by Lynn English left Somerville’s defense sucking air and made them susceptible to big plays. “Our defense held up for a while, but they get tired when they’re on the field the whole game,” Fenton said.

The Bulldogs marched right down the field early, capping off their opening drive with a 17-yard touchdown run from senior running back Ski Gaston.

Somerville responded with a methodical drive of their own, resulting in a 37-yard kick from Emerson Klemz that cleared the cross bar by an extra five to ten yards.

On the ensuing kickoff, Lynn’s junior kick returner Prince Brown gashed the Highlanders’ special teams squad for a 90-yard touchdown.

Devin Curley’s extra point made the score 14-3 in favor of the Bulldogs.

Similar to last weeks’ win against Peabody, Somerville came out swinging in the second quarter.

Senior quarterback Elijah Jefferies hooked up with Gio Pierre for a beautiful 38-yard fade route, as Pierre tight-roped the sideline, going out of bounds at the Bulldog 3-yard line.

Jefferies plunged in to the end zone on the next play and Klemz booted the extra point to pull the Highlanders within 4.

Lynn English moved the ball methodically down the field, helped along by a 22 yard run by Gaston.

The Bulldogs looked poised to extend their lead as junior Matt Severance plunged inside the Highlanders’ 20-yard line on back-to-back quarterback keepers.

On the next play, Severance threw a jump ball into double coverage that Somerville defensive back Carlos Fernandez came down with in the end zone for a touchback.

After making their way all the way down to the Lynn English 19, the Highlanders began a sequence of self-sabotage as the second half wound down.

A pair of incomplete passes followed by back to back offside penalties put Somerville in a 3rd and 20 hole.

The Highlanders picked up a few yards to put themselves to put themselves firmly in Klemz’s field goal range, but he never got the chance to kick.

A low snap left the Highanders with no option but to fall on the ball as time ran out in the first half.

Somerville received the second half’s opening kickoff, but could not get any offense going and gave the ball back to Lynn after a quick 3-and-out.

The Bulldogs proceeded on a long scoring drive, relying mostly on short passes and quarterback keepers by Severance.

By the time Gaston found the end zone on a pitch, there were under three minutes remaining in the third quarter, with the score 21-10 in favor of Lynn English.

The Highlanders cut the lead to 5 on their next possession, helped along by a crucial 4th down conversion by running back Fred Castin and a big completion to receiver Moise Nazaire, who was brought down at the Bulldogs’ 1-yard line.

Castin tumbled into the end zone from there, and after Klemz missed the extra point, the score stood at 21-16.

What momentum the Highlanders built from that drive quickly evaporated as Gaston dashed forty yards into Somerville territory.

Lynn English continued to milk the clock with a heavy dose of run plays, culminating in a touchdown by Severance that put the game out of reach with two and a half minutes remaining.

“Special teams, offense, defense. We didn’t do anything right,” Fenton said.

He was somber after the game, vowing to correct his team’s miscues after their first loss of the season.

“They say, ‘sometimes things look better on film,’ but I don’t know,” Fenton said. “We’ll take a look tomorrow, and fix whatever the problem is.”

Players were not made available for comment.

The 1-1 Highlanders travel to Gloucester to take on the 2-0 Fighting Fishermen.


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