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Needham Junior Football’s fourth week saw a full slate of games against Framingham. The A squad hosted Framingham at Memorial Field under the lights on Saturday night while the rest of the squads visited Framingham on Sunday morning and all came out on top.
A Squad (8th Grade) – Framingham 28, Needham 8 – The 8th Grade Jr. Rockets suffered a tough loss to visiting Framingham on Saturday night. The Falcons may have won by multiple scores, but the score was not an accurate depiction of the hard fought effort shown by the Rockets, despite missing 9 players due to injuries.
Defensively, PJ Corwin had an outstanding game at linebacker, complimenting the play of Aiden Gallagher, and James O'Conner to hold the Falcon short passes and interior runs to minimal gains. Drew Desing, Tommy Fullbrook, Will McDonald, and Julius Sanchez also stood tall in the defensive backfield while Matthew McIntyre, Steven Mackenzie, Ryan O'Neil, and Ryan Hurley fought hard on the defensive line.
Offensively, McDonald and Desing shared time at quarterback and both passed effectively throughout the night. A touchdown pass capped of the first quarter when Desing and running back Ruben Melkonian connected on a 28-yard catch and run to the end zone. As always, the score was capped off with a successful two-point PAT attempt by Ryan Hurley. The offensive line, captained by Marcus Emerson and featuring Griffen Hession, Thomas Cardoza played exceptionally well all night long. .
B Squad (7th Grade) – Needham 26, Framingham 12 – B squad orchestrated a great comeback on Sunday in Framingham after going down 12-0 early in the game. The Jr Rockets showed great character and clawed their way back into the game by shutting down the Framingham offense in the second half with some great defensive play by Ryan Hannigan, Nick Duggan, Hanson Miller, Krystian Reese, John Ogletree, Chris Northrup and Jason Silver.
Behind great offensive line blocking, the Jr. Rockets put up three scores in the second half with Adrian Rufo and Griffin Colwell running in two scores. Brendan Morley caught a third score leading to a 26-12 Needham victory.
C Squad (6th Grade) – Needham 18, Framingham 6 – C Squad got off to a bit o a slow start on Sunday morning but luckily did just enough to beat Framingham. The offense had its struggles early with several clock management and execution mistakes but was able to find its rhythm in the second half. Stout defensive play turned into points for the Rockets as Paolo Agualimpia, Daniel Altshuler and Rafael Montero were all able to find the end zone. Paolo’s touchdown was setup by a 50-yard punt return by Marcus Fuentes while Daniel and Rafael’s were off of defensive fumble recoveries in the opposing red zone.
The defense played bend but not break defense sprinkled with lots of big plays. Angela Demaio was the MVP for this game forcing two fumble recoveries and kicking a perfect onside kick that was recovered by Agualimpia. Rafael, George Darwin, Josh Melia and Ben Chapman also had big tackles for loss that stopped Framingham drives.
D Squad (5th Grade) – Needham 13, Framingham 6 – The D squad came together for another great win against a very big and well-coached Framingham team, and proved that in the end size was no match. Both Andrew Spezzano and Spencer Chapman had their first career touchdowns. Jake Furman, Lyle Corwin, Connor Dempsey, Will Kizer, and Christian Cummings had some solid yardage gaining runs.
The defense held up well with Sean Murphy, PJ Hartley and Gabriel Quezada dominating their lanes. Gabe McCarthy chased the quarterback all day and had two sacks. Jimmy Rochford had several nice tackles this week preventing multiple first down runs for Framingham. Cam Schreiber, Charlie Fondo, Ronan Mackey, Mike Hegarty and Evan Dunn were all over the field. The defense did an outstanding job of being exactly where they needed to be, and in turn recovered numerous Framingham fumbles throughout the game.
E1 Squad (4th Grade) vs. Framingham* – Defensive tackle Yan Shtein and cornerback Alex Rufo combined to make the play of the game in the first quarter. Shtein broke through and pushed the Framingham running back deep into the backfield where Rufo came up from his position on the edge, meeting the Framingham running back in the backfield, initiating contact, and then stripping the ball away, returning the fumble back 80 yards for a defensive score.
Offensively, Travis O’Brien continued his tough running through the middle for several long gains breaking tackles behind a strong push from linemen Andrew Carter, Will Connolly, Alex Rutley, Dom Hamwey, Adler Kukoleca, and Sean Baker. Running backs Denis O’Donovan and Nolan Joyce also found success running off tackle. On defense, the secondary consisting of Ben Schreiber, Jack Barrett, Matt Rutter, Reno Salvant came up and made good tackles to stop any possible long gains by Framingham. Defensive tackle Charlie Simeone forced and recovered a late fumble to stop a particularly potent Framingham drive.
E2 Squad (2nd/3rd Grade) vs. Framingham* - E2 had a difficult matchup this week. However, even being down a couple of key players the team rallied on to another successful game. Jake Heckman, Kenneth Ronchinsky, and Kiernan Collins had strong roles on defense this week making some great tackles, and working to keep Framingham under control.
The second half of the game is when the E 2/3 Jr. Rockets turned up the heat, scoring two touchdowns by Tyler Langford and Emerson Wilson. The E 2/3 team has come a long way in the past four games and is looking forward to the second half of the season.
* Note that scores are not kept for the E1 and E2 instructional levels of AYF Football.