NORTHBRIDGE, Mass. - One of the Cardinal Rules of baseball is don't give a quality opponent extra outs, or it will come back to haunt you. The same applies to football. Do not turn the ball over multiple times against a quality opponent and expect to have a chance to win.
David Prouty High School learned that the hard way Friday evening against Northbridge High School as they turned the ball over four times, including three in the first half. Northbridge would turn those miscues into 28 points, leading the Rams to a 49-0 demolition of the Panthers at Eugene R. Hurley Athletic Field in Spencer.
Northbridge wasted no time getting into the scoring action as they took the opening kickoff and methodically marched down the field in 3:45 before quarterback Matt Phelan hit Ben O'Donnell from 9-yards out. Jake Ryan would add the first of his five first half extra points, and the Rams had an early 7-0 lead.
Prouty attempted to match the score on their opening possession. Taking over on their own 34, Panther running back Marc Lamoureux ripped off a 19-yard sweep setting up a 1st and 10 inside Northbridge territory. The good feeling was short-lived for Prouty as a fumbled snap on the next play was recovered by the Rams. Four plays later, Northbridge was in the end zone with Cam Velasquez running it in from 11 yards out for a 14-0 Ram lead.
Prouty produced a well executed drive on their next possession as they marched 50 yards on 12 plays, all on the ground, in 5:54. However, Lamoureux was stopped for a 2-yard gain on 4th and 4 from the Northbridge 24, turning the ball over on downs.
Northbridge would show their big strike capabilities on their next possession. Phelan hit Ryan for a 26-yard connection moving the ball to midfield. After a 6-yard run by Dan Clasby, Phelan hooked up with Tanner Ropiak for an 18-yard pickup to the Prouty 26. One play later, Phelan would keep it himself for the touchdown and a 21-0 lead.
Prouty would again march into Northbridge territory with quarterback Tyler Golden connecting with Zachary Howard on a beautifully thrown 27-yard pass play moving the ball to their 47. Four plays later, facing a 3rd and 6 at the Northbridge 39, running back Stephen Beahn was stripped with Northbridge recovering.
Taking over at their 39, the Rams well-oiled passing game was in full throttle as Phelan connected on his next six passes using five different receivers setting up a 1st and 10 at the Panther 12. Three plays later, Clasby would punch it in off of a well executed draw play, and the rout was on.
A fumbled snap on Prouty's first play from scrimmage gave the Rams a 1st down at the Panther 16. O'Donnell ran for 10 yards setting up a 1st and goal at the Prouty 6. Velasquez would pick up half off the real estate before Phelan called his own number, taking it in from three yards out and an insurmountable 35-0 halftime lead.
Northbridge's second team would get into the scoring fun in the third quarter as backup quarterback Rob Fraser engineered a nine play 75-yard scoring march with Fraser keeping it himself from four yards out for the score. Included on the drive was a beautiful 44-yard pass from Fraser to Jurrell Cromwell. Alex Smith would add the point after, the first of two for him on the day.
Prouty would once again turn the ball over deep in Northbridge territory. Taking over at the Panther 26, the Rams methodically grounded their way down the field with Jack Bergen striking paydirt from 3-yards out to cap the scoring.
Northbridge (2-0) returns to action next Friday as they host Tantasqua. Prouty (0-2) will visit Oxford next Saturday.