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Junior Rockets battle Flyers

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Needham Junior Football had its first set of home games of the 2017 season on Saturday as Framingham came to town. In the competitive divisions, NJF went 2-2 with the fifth and seventh grade squads picking up victories. For week four, NJF heads to Norwood.

B Squad – Needham 23, Framingham 20 – The Needham B Squad (2-1) received a pep talk from former Patriot Thomas Clayton and came out flying on Saturday afternoon. Rafael Montero powered the ball down Framingham’s throat thanks to dominant play by his offensive line of Conor Finnegan, Wyatt Fromm, Matthew Hebert, Cam Fox, Will Sullivan, Ronan Tennis and Owen Scholz. The power-running led to a Marcus Fuentes touchdown. Then, Tyler Closuit punched in another score. Rafael hit Marcus for a 20-yard touchdown pass to wrap up Needham’s scoring.

The B squad defense played bend but don’t break and had several of big plays. Daniel Altshuler, Ben Chapman, Noah Patti, Scholz and Closuit came up big all day. Exhausted from the heat facing Framingham with the ball down by three, the Needham defense dug deep and made the final big play to get the stop it needed. Rafael ripped out the ball and Finn Leavitt outfought three Framingham players to recover the ball and seal the win.

C Squad – Framingham 6, Needham 0 – C Squad (1-2) lost a hard fought game, 6-0, to an opportunistic Framingham team. The C squad defensive effort was phenomenal, allowing Framingham only one first down throughout the entire game. Outstanding play on the defensive front led by Gabe McCarthy, Mike Hegarty, Sean Murphy, Cam Schreiber and Andrew Spezzano held Framingham in check all day, with each player having big stops. Framingham's winning score came on a deep pass plucked out of the air despite great pressure and coverage by the C squad secondary.

The C squad offense moved the ball well with tough yards gained by Spencer Chapman, Tate Hoffmeister, Andrew Spezzano, Jase Hannigan and George Addona. The offensive line, led by PJ Hartley, Connor Dempsey, Mike Hegarty, Sean Murphy and Gabe Quezada also provided time for QB George Addona to connect with tight end Lyle Corwin and half back Jase Hannigan for solid downfield gains.

Safety Denis O'Donovan makes a first down saving tackle early in the first half.

Safety Denis O'Donovan makes a first down saving tackle early in the first half.

D Squad – Needham 19, Framingham 6 – The Needham D Squad (2-1) roared to a 19-6 victory over Framingham in their first home game of the season. Wing back Travis O'Brien found the end zone once and fullback Dom Funke found it twice more, including a 40 yard run up the middle behind the blocking of guard Max Andelman, tight end Reno Salvant, and tackle James Keefe. Wing back Harry Dummer and Brandt Bickford also pitched in with several first down runs behind the blocking of wide receivers Alex Rufo and Nolan Joyce.

Defensively, the Junior Rockets limited Framingham's offense to a few first downs behind a series of furious rushes from nose tackle Alex Rutley, defensive tackle Emmett Lockwood-Mullaney, and linebackers Ben Schreiber, Jack Barrett and Denis O'Donovan.

E1 Squad vs. Newton – E1 had a tough matchup on Saturday. Twins Yadiel and Yariel Lara showed great speed in the backfield with Aiden Mack, Shaun Villa and Daniil Landau blocking in the middle. In the second half, AJ Scholz scored a touchdown and made a perfect kick for the two-point conversion with Brady Bloch as the long snapper and Tyler Langford holding the ball.

Defensively, Yadiel Lara had an interception to end a Framingham drive. Jake Heckman and AJ Scholz had a devastating hit preventing an extra point. Rory Kizer did a fantastic job keeping the plays inside. Zoe Zalvan and Johanna McIntyre for had extremely strong supporting roles.

E2 Squad vs. Framingham - E2 continued their hot streak with their successful home opener against Framingham. Quarterback Rory Funk’s first half rushing touchdown got the Junior Rockets off to a great start. The offense led by Graden Loeb, Robert Mahar, Matthew Mullaney, Will Young, JT Ciccone, Giovanni Virgilio, and Joza Wang were able to execute effective plays all day.

The defense once again was stellar and was able to keep Framingham on their heels all day. On one particular play, Jacob Donis saved what was a sure touchdown with a hustling tackle and then the rest of the Needham defense took over with a sack from Colin Corbett and another sack from Dash Mezdez to drive Framingham back. Then, the rest of the defense, led by Sam Drayer, Cedric Steele, and Nicholas Hebert were able to keep Framingham out of the end zone. Another late touchdown by Rory Funk made the crowd erupt.

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

The combined fifth and sixth grade cheer squad stands proud at the first home game.

The combined fifth and sixth grade cheer squad stands proud at the first home game.

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