GROTON — Just put Friday night’s 41-0 victory over Blackstone Valley Tech into the ‘CCC’ category for the Groton-Dunstable football team – complete, clinical and convincing.
The Crusaders received another outstanding defensive effort, limiting the Beavers to 75 total yards on 44 plays, keyed by Jake Penney (eight tackles), Jack Schafer (seven tackles and a sack), Shane Penney (five tackles) and Riley Baxter (four tackles, fumble recovery).
They complemented that defensive performance with a balanced offense that rolled up 337 total yards, 226 on the ground and 111 through the air. Brad Prasky was outstanding, rushing for 106 yards and a touchdown on seven carries, completing the only pass he attempted for 14 yards and a touchdown, and adding three conversion kicks. Also playing well offensively for the Crusaders were Matt Hamel (six carries, 53 yards, one touchdown) Jake Penney (six carries, 41 yards, one touchdown) and quarterback Ryan Romich, who rushed for 19 yards and completed five of seven passes for 97 yards and a touchdown. Jimmy McLean played a strong game on both sides of the ball and added a two-yard touchdown run, while Ben Preston caught a touchdown pass and a two-point conversion. Brett Ursprung also caught a touchdown pass and turned in a solid, two-way effort. In addition, the offensive line of Ryan Welch, Kevin Kieda, Geoff Mueller, Bill Li and Schafer opened holes for the running back all night and provided solid pass protection.
“We had a great defensive effort and our line controlled both lines of scrimmage,” said Groton-Dunstable head coach Derek Asadoorian. “We were sluggish offensively in the first half, but we had six different players score touchdowns. I think we proved tonight that we have a number of weapons and I like the way things are coming together.”
Schafer’s third down sack forced a Beavers’ punt on the first possession of the game, and Hamel’s 29-yard punt return set the Crusader offense up at the Beavers’ 27-yard line. Jake Penney moved the sticks with a 12-yard run, and three plays later Hamel sliced into the end zone from four yards out. Prasky’s PAT made it 7-0 with 3:17 left in the first quarter.
A 37-yard pass completion from Warner Witherell to Dan Lumb moved the Beavers to the Crusaders’ 10-yard line, but on fourth and goal, Schafer and Cam Willcox teamed to drop Beau Mewhiney for a seven yard loss.
The Crusaders padded the lead by driving 74 yards on four plays, capped by a 47-yard bomb down the left sideline from Romich to Ursprung. Romich connected with Preston for the two-point conversion to send the Crusaders to intermission on top 15-0.
The Crusaders broke the game open by scoring on all three of their possessions in the third quarter.
Jake Penney capped a 58-yard, four play drive with a seven yard run, and Prasky’s successful kick made it 22-0 with 8:49 left in the third quarter.
Less than two minutes later, Baxter pounced on a fumble at the Beavers’ two-yard line, and McLean scored on the next play to extend the advantage to 28-0.
Groton-Dunstable’s defense forced a three-and-out and the offense stayed hot, rolling 80 yards on six plays for another score. Prasky scored from three yards out after having a 54-yard jaunt earlier on the drive. Prasky toed the conversion kick to make it 35-0.
The Crusaders finished off the scoring with 3:40 left when Prasky found Preston in the back of the end zone for a 14-yard hookup.