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ASmayn1- Bromfield’s Preston Wilkey snaps the ball to Maynard’s Zach Boerman. Maynard and Bromfield have a cooperative football program. Nashoba Publishing/Kent Boynton.

ASmayn2-Ayer-Shirley quarterback Zak Walker scrambles on a keeper in Friday’s loss to the Tigers. Nashoba Publishing/Kent Boynton.

Asmayn3- Justis Wallace hauls in a 35-yard touchdown reception in Ayer-Shirley’s game last Friday night against Maynard.


By Ed Niser

MAYNARD — Ayer-Shirley quarterback Zak Walker threw 18 of 39 for 227 yards, and three touchdowns in the Panthers shootout loss to the Bromfield-Maynard Tigers 48-35.

Bromfield-Maynard continued to feed the ball to their shifty halfback, Sean Peterson, who racked up 107 yards in the first quarter alone.

“You think you have Peterson, you don’t,” said Ayer-Shirley head coach Jason Rivers. “This kid plays lights out. He spins, he cuts and he likes to finish runs. We knew where he was on the field offensively and defensively at all times.”

If you like a good defensive struggle, Friday night’s game wouldn’t have been to your liking. Tigers star running back Peterson had 23 carries totaling 262 yards and five touchdowns. Bromfield-Maynard went up by as much as 13 points with 9:34 left in the game. The Panthers would answer with a 20-yard touchdown pass from Zak Walker to Justis Wallace with 5:47 left in the game to cut the Tigers’ lead to 40-35.

“I am playing at points in time six or seven freshman and sophomores on the field. The score was 48-35. Thirty-five points is enough to win any ball game,” said Rivers. “Missed tackles on defense and not executing on offense in the second half really put our defense in a bind. ”

Maynard would tack on another touchdown for good measure on a 12-yard run by Peterson with 2:28 left. The Tigers defense would do the rest down the stretch to secure the win.

Peterson started the scoring bonanza Friday night with a 5-yard touchdown scamper with 7:13 remaining in the first quarter. Earlier in the drive, Peterson broke a 55-yard run down the left sideline to set up his touchdown, which gave the Tigers an early 7-0 lead following the Preston Wilkey extra point.

Senior Ayer-Shirley wide receiver Wallace wasted all of 14 seconds to take back the ensuing kickoff in for a touchdown from 82-yards out to bring the Panthers within 1, 7-6.

Maynard would answer back on their next possession with a touchdown run by Peterson on a sweep to the left side, where he bowled over a host of would-be Panthers tacklers on his way into the end zone, bringing it to 14-6. Maynard’s second touchdown was set up by a Zach Boerman bullet to Alex Martinec and a 30-yard gallop by Peterson into enemy territory.

Ayer-Shirley would find the end zone on a 35-yard laser from Walker to Wallace as time expired on the first quarter, cutting the lead to 14-12. The Panthers would go for the two-point conversion and Walker took it in himself, tying the game at 14-14 as the first-quarter came to a close.

Sean Peterson broke a 55-yard rush after some fancy footwork down the right sideline deep into Panther territory. Maynard freshman Stephen Peterson took over where his brother left off by pummeling his way into the end zone from 2 yards out to give the Tigers a 20-14 lead. The extra point was no good.

Zak Walker dialed up a 20-yard dart to his brother, Alex Walker, in the end zone to knot the game up again at 20-20 with less than 6:30 minutes on the clock. Ayer-Shirley forced the Tigers to go four and out. On their ensuing drive, they made the most of their possession. Zak Walker connected with tight end Richard on a 75-yard bomb down the sidelines to give the Panthers a 27-20 lead with 2:32 remaining in the half.

The Panthers gave the Tigers just enough time to punch the ball into the end zone one more time before halftime. Bryan Kiley headlined Bromfield-Maynard’s trip to the end zone with a 30-yard burst up the middle. Sean Peterson would punch the ball in from 9 yards out with just 28 seconds left in the first half. At halftime, Bromfield-Maynard trailed 27-26.

In the third quarter, Sean Kennedy romped across the goaline with 6:24 remaining. The score by Kennedy ultimately was the game-clincher.

In week nine, Ayer-Shirley will travel to Baldwinville to take on Narragansett. The Warriors are 6-2 overall on the season, coming off a decisive 60-34 victory over Saint Bernard’s. Bromfield-Maynard’s next game is against Murdock. The Blue Devils are coming fresh off a bye week when they travel to Maynard to take on the Tigers.