Senior quarterback Will McDonald (2) scrambles to his right and fires a pass on the run. Photo by Mike Flanagan.
By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
Coming off a 42-24 victory against Brookline on March 26, the Needham High School varsity football team looked to make it two wins in a row on Friday as the Rockets hosted rival and No. 3 Natick.
The last time these two teams played, September 6, 2019, Natick rolled to 42-0 season-opening victory.
Friday's game at Memorial Field in Needham saw a similar storyline to the 2019 matchup: another dominant performance from Natick's Bentley-bound senior quarterback Will Lederman, who threw for one touchdown and ran for two more. Lederman's twin brother, Christian, a defensive end, tied the Natick program record for career sacks with 4.5.
Despite losing senior quarterback and captain Will McDonald early on to injury, the Rockets hung in with the No. 3 Redhawks throughout the first half. Needham's defense forced a turnover on downs on Natick's opening series. Following a Needham punt, Lederman drove Natick down the field and capped off the drive with a six-yard touchdown run to put the Redhawks ahead, 7-0.
Still 7-0 midway through the second quarter, Lederman used his legs on consecutive quarterback keepers to generate first downs and move Natick down inside the red zone. On second-and-four from the 16-yard-line, Lederman dropped back and found a streaking Nick Ofodile down the far sideline for a 16-yard touchdown, doubling Natick's lead to 14-0 at halftime.
Following a Needham punt to open the second half, a long run by Jayln Aponte set up Natick inside the Needham 10-yard-line. A two-yard touchdown run by Lederman, his second of the day, on third-and-goal extended Natick's lead to 21-0. On the first play of Needham's ensuing series, David Seiche picked off a pass up the seam and returned it 45 yards for a pick-six to put the Redhawks ahead, 28-0. A three-and-out by the Rockets was followed up by a six-yard touchdown run by Nizayah Montas to make it 35-0. Natick's defense held on to pitch the shutout as the Redhawks prevailed by the 35-0 final.
For funny and incisive sports analysis as well as video highlights of games, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter and Instagram handles @flano0.