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Junior football goes 3-1 vs. Brockton

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The Needham Junior Rockets hosted Brockton for a full slate of games in week six and finished 3-1 in its competitive divisions.

A Squad (8th Grade) – Brockton 35, Needham 20 – The grade eight Jr. Rockets fell to 0-6 on the season with a tough loss to Brockton Saturday Night. After an early touchdown for the Rockets was called back due to penalty, Kyle Corbett and Ruben Melkonian got the scoring going for Needham with scores of their own late in the first half with a successful extra point attempt by Ryan Hurley. The Rockets were unable to match the Brockton offense point-for-point, however, and saw the Boxers pull away by two scores late in the fourth quarter.

Defensively Andrew Barnett recorded his first career interception. And the defensive line handled the run very well, lineman Sam Danna, Jessie Litchman, Freddie Hamwey and Cam Hebert all stuffed the interior run all night.

B Squad (7th Grade) – Needham 24, Brockton 13 – B squad played a solid game against Brockton on Saturday led by a great defensive effort by Krystian Reese (one interception) and Micah Taylor (one interception) and fumble recoveries by Jason Silver and Adrian Rufo.

On offense, great blocks by Hansen Miller, Thomas Hartley, Peter Papakryrikos, Alex McKay, Isaiah Grupee and Chris Closuit afforded Brendan Morley a late 60-yard touchdown run to put the Rockets up by two scores and hold on for a 24-13 victory to improve to 4-2 on the season.

C Squad (6th Grade) – Needham 14, Brockton 0 – It was some sweet revenge for C Squad (4-2), as the Jr. Rockets shutout a Brockton team that beat them once in the regular season in 2015 and again later in the playoffs to end the Rockets’ season. A ferocious defensive effort led by Rafael Montero, Daniel Altshuler, Angela Demaio, Finn Leavitt, Riley Bloch, George Darwin and Conor Finnegan kept the Brockton offense in check all night. Ben Chapman returned a 22-yard interception for a fourth quarter touchdown, and Tyler Closuit intercepted another fourth quarter pass to seal the victory for Needham.

The Rocket offense controlled the line of scrimmage and the clock thanks to great work by offensive linemen Tommy Langford, Wyatt Fromm, Scott Palmatier, Ted Carter, Matthew Hebert, Drew Eldridge, Timmy Bruen, Warren Gillis, Ronan Tennis, Chanu Lim and Cam Fox. Marcus Fuentes broke through for a 22-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. Jonah Bloch also ran tough, dragging and carrying Brockton tacklers with him all day.

D Squad (5th Grade) – Needham 20, Brockton 7 – This weekend was another great showing by D Squad in its 20-7 win over Brockton to improve to 3-3 on the year. Offensive linemen Gabe Quezada, Sean Murphy, Connor Dempsey and PJ Hartley worked hard all day to keep the Brockton pass rush back. Stellar lead blocking by Tyler Reif, Jake Furman, Owen Kopf and Andrew Spezzano paved the way for three Needham touchdown runs by Spencer Chapman, Jase Hannigan and Josh Morant. Chapman also tacked on two successful extra points.

E1 Squad (4th Grade) vs. Brockton* – The E1 team scored through the ground, air, and special teams for a strong showing on Saturday. Quarterback Jack Barrett threw his first pass of the season to Travis O’Brien who rumbled 55 yards for a touchdown. O’Brien found the end zone again on a kickoff return and running back Alex Rufo scored on a 35 yard sweep and was perfect kicking extra points.

Defensive end Sean Baker made several big tackles for loss for the Rocket defense, leading a line that disrupted the Brockton offense all day. Safety Denis O’Donovan and cornerbacks Nolan Joyce, Reno Salvant, and Matt Rutter all made good tackles to limit long gains.

E2 Squad (2nd/3rd Grade) vs. Brockton* - The E2 Jr. Rockets had a tough match this week as they faced a strong Brockton team. The defense held strong with Kieran Collins, Aidan Mack, Rory Kizer and Will Sacher all dominating the trenches.

The E2 offense showed up ready to work but was faced with some challenges along the way. The Rocket offense had multiple small gains that finally led to a touchdown by AJ Scholz in late the second half.

* Note that scores are not kept for the E1 and E2 instructional levels of AYF Football.

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