TOWNSEND — It’s been a frustrating season for Ryan DeMar’s North Middlesex Regional football team.
A defensive stop here, a third-down conversion there, and the Patriots would have signature wins over Groton-Dunstable and Nashoba Regional, and their season might look much different than the 0-6 record they brought into this week.
But on Friday night, everything fell into place for North Middlesex, and the result was a 33-7 win over Hudson High, before a Homecoming crowd at 1A Auto Field In Memory of John Young.
It was the Patriots’ first win on the newly renovated field and their first true Homecoming game in two years, as they played last year at Nashoba Tech in Westford.
The 33 points represented a season-high for North Middlesex. Junior Mark Thomas had three touchdowns, two of which came on fourth-down plays. The first was a spectacular 74-yard run on a fake punt in the first quarter. The second came on a 27-yard reception from backup quarterback Justin Mitchell. In between, Mitchell tacked on a 7-yard scoring run.
Mitchell, who stepped into DeMar’s two-man QB rotation when Joshua LeBlanc went down with a leg injury, added a 33-yard touchdown run, as North Middlesex built their lead to 33-0 late in the third quarter.
Before going down, LeBlanc had a 17-yard TD run to help the Patriots take a 12-0 lead into halftime.
But the story of the game was the North Middlesex defense. The Patriots, who came into Friday giving up an average of 33 points per game, locked down the Hawks from the opening drive. North Middlesex , led by Patrick Cronin, Jack Reidy and Jared Woods, sacked Hudson quarterback Giancarlo Orlandi five times and held the Hawks to just 63 yards rushing through three quarters.
Hudson finally broke up the shutout late in the fourth quarter on a 33-yard TD run by Vinnie Rodriguez.