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Needham Junior Football fights to finish

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Photo by Doug Fox

Needham Junior Football finished up its 2018 season hosting four squads from Weymouth and one from Attleboro at Memorial Park. Needham’s youngest squad - its third and fourth graders - continued to shine, while the eighth and sixth grade squads earned big victories, with the sixth graders shutting out their opposition for the fourth straight game. Unfortunately, C Squad missed out on a playoff berth by a strength of schedule tiebreaker for the third straight year.

A Squad – Needham 32, Weymouth 6 – The night marked the end of Jr. Football for the eighth grade A-Squad, but not before a dominant win over Weymouth (3-5) under the lights at Needham High School. Marcus Fuentes started the scoring with a one-yard touchdown run after a great pass and catch from quarterback Tyler Closuit to Ben Chapman. Fuentes continued the onslaught when by returning a punt 60 yards for a touchdown and then catching another pass for a 50-yard touchdown reception. After completing all three point-after attempts, Needham entered into halftime up 24-0.

The defensive line of Noah Patti, Owen Scholz, Conor Finnegan, Timmy Bruen, Matthew Hebert, Owen McCafferty and Riley Bloch held the Weymouth offense to less than a 100 yards of total offense. The third quarter was highlighted by an amazing 41-yard touchdown run by Josh Melia and a huge interception by Eric Aswad. It would have been a much closer game if it wasn't for the amazing work put in all night (and all season) by the offensive line. Gerald Pendergast, Will Sullivan, Micky Doyle, Gerry Neto and Alayna Cepada all made great plays to ensure the win – the final win for a great group of kids who will bring friendships and memories from their years in Needham Junior Football into the high school level next fall.

B Squad – Weymouth 20, Needham 6 – The final game for the B squad was another hard effort. While the team suffered another loss to drop to 1-7, B Squad will undoubtedly come back next fall stronger and ready to win. On offense, Andrew Spezzano had numerous runs to move the ball downfield.  Chris Kiesling, Sam Hughes, Anton Leshchiner and Lyle Corwin also worked hard until the final whistle. Jase Hannigan dashed for a 50-yard run late in the contest, got tackled at the five, but then punched it in on the next play to put some Needham points on the board. 

Gabe Quezada, Will Murray and Sean Murphy on the offensive line did an honorable job helping to keep the Weymouth defensive front back. Charlie Fondo had one of his best games all season at center. Teddy McKeigue, Nick Berney, Josh Morant and PJ Hartley worked hard on both sides of the ball.

C Squad – Needham 8, Weymouth 0 – C Squad (5-3) defeated a very tough 5-2 Weymouth team, thanks to a dominant defensive performance. The Needham defense helped the sixth grade team outscore their last four opponents 76-0 to finish the season. Middle linebacker Travis O’Brien started the scoring with the first safety of the season, tackling the Weymouth running back in his own end zone to put the Junior Rockets up 2-0 in the first. Defensive ends Dom Funke and Nick Ward, nose tackle Alex Rutley, defensive tackles Charlie Simeone and Emmett Lockwood-Mullaney, linebackers Denis O’Donovan, Ben Schreiber and Nick Sewall, safety Brandt Bickford and cornerbacks Reno Salvant and Nolan Joyce held Weymouth to just 40 yards of total offense with superb and aggressive form tackling.

Quarterback Aidan Williams scored the games only touchdown on a keeper, shortly after a 15 yard dart to tight end Ty Beerbohm to get the ball to the 1 yard line. Kicker Charlie Cianciolo performed a perfect onside kick in the second half to help maintain Needham’s lead. Power linemen Neel Samnaliev, James Keefe, Max Andelman, Cole Costello, Max Quereshi along with wideouts Will Connelly and Charlie McCourt helped the rockets move the ball in the 4th quarter to secure the big win. Needham finishes 5-3 for the season.

E1 Squad vs. Attleboro – The third and fourth grade squad played a great game at home against North Attleboro to wrap up their season. Quarterback Rory Funke rushed for a pair of touchdowns and Grayden Loeb’s extra point kick was the difference maker on offense. Matthew Mulaney and Bruno Haig’s running got Needham in range for the scores. Kicker Giovanni Virgilio was outstanding as was the rest of the offense, led by Emi Farre, Sam Drayer, Oliver Irons and Rob Mahar.

The defense really shut the door in the second half and did not allow a score. Jayden Montero’s last minute tackle helped save the game and Nicholas Hebert’s fumble recovery and tackling sealed it. The rest of the defense led by Collin Corbett, Dash Mendez, and Jacob Donis all played excellent in the second half and kept the opposing offense in check. Offensive captain Will Young cheered on his team from the sideline.

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