LUNENBURG -- If Groton-Dunstable needed to prove any remaining doubters wrong, they did so Friday night with a commanding 34-12 win over Lunenburg on the road.
Junior signal caller Mack Eberheart continues to improve his recruiting profile with his cool-as-a-cucumber demeanor, and lights-out performances. Eberheart ran for 104 yards, and was 10-of-16 passing for 162 yards and three TDs. The Crusaders boast a 9-1 record with just one game remaining, and it is a big one. Groton-Dunstable squares off with Thanksgiving rival Tyngsborough in a winner-take-all battle for the Mid-Wach C regular season crown.
"Mack has done a nice job for us. We expect that of Mack. He is in the spot to make big plays when it matters, and he's done a great job at that for us all season," said Groton-Dunstable head coach Derek Asadoorian.
Groton-Dunstable's offense sputtered on their first series, fumbling the initial snap. The Crusaders were unable to rebound from the early series miscue and were forced to punt.
The Crusaders punted the ball away three times in the first quarter, and turned the ball over on downs leading to a scoreless first quarter. It took just two plays in the second quarter before Eberheart had enough of the stalemate, running across the field in a horseshoe pattern 60 yards towards the goal line. Place kicker Corey Ramich sent the ball through the uprights for the PAT, putting Groton-Dunstable out in front 7-0.
Lunenburg's Greg Abare completed the football version of hitting a homerun and making a diving catch the next half inning. Abare completed a strip sack of Eberheart to start the Blue Knights drive from the Crusaders' 31-yard line. He then spearheaded and capped off an eight-play, 31-yard drive with a plunge from 2 yards out into the endzone to cut the Crusaders' lead to 7-6 with 1:53 remaining before halftime.
Groton-Dunstable was not done scoring. Eberheart set up the drive with a 24-yard pass completed by Alex Dihonis. Eberheart would later fire a 16-yard bullet to senior running back Quintin Forbes for the touchdown with just 42 seconds left in the second quarter. The extra-point attempt by Romich fell short, and the Crusaders took a slim 13-6 lead into the break.
The Blue Knights took the kick to begin the half, but turned the ball over on a great gang tackle by the Crusaders' defensive line that jarred the ball loose from Lunenburg running back Bobby Colgate. The turnover set up a captivating touchdown drive by Eberheart and the Crusaders offense. Facing fourth down, Eberheart connected with Matt Manning for 16 yards to place the Crusaders inside the Lunenburg 20 yardline. Eberheart would batter his way in from 2 yards out for his second touchdown of the evening to extend Groton-Dunstable lead to 20-6 with 1:31 left in the third quarter.
Abare took off up the middle on a quarterback keeper and strided 40 yards to the endzone for his second touchdown of the game to cut the Crusaders lead to 20-12 with five ticks left in the third quarter.
The Crusaders were not done scoring. Eberheart hurled a picturesque spiral into the crisp late autumn sky to Drew Moore, who romped 65 yards to paydirt to put the game out of reach at 27-6 with 10:38 remaining in the game.
Groton-Dunstable would tack on another late touchdown in the final two minutes to put the Blue Knights out of their misery. Eberheart placed the ball inside a narrow window to Dihonis for a 21-yard completion.
"We didn't execute 100 percent today," said Asadoorian. "There were some plays I thought we had a chance to make. I am happy with what we did accomplish, and I am hoping we tighten things up going into Thanksgiving against Tyngsborough."