Robbie Brooks (#22) and Brad Picard (#47) team up for a tackle
By Steev Riccardo. Patriot staff photos (more follow)
DUDLEY - Usually when a high school football game is over, the head coach will call a huddle and address his team win or lose; what happened this past Saturday at Shepherd Hill was a bit out of the ordinary.
Shepherd Hill coach Chris Lindstrom didn’t go directly to his team’s huddle but instead went into a stunned Grafton Indians huddle and applauded the Grafton players’ effort following the Rams exciting 14-8 win. Moments later, Grafton head coach Mike Ross did the same thing, visiting and congratulating the Rams players.
Before the love fest began after the game, these two teams with eerily similar offenses played a grueling physical game that was close from start to finish. The Rams had the ball last and they won on the last play, that’s how close it was.
“Both teams came to play, it could have went either way,” said Lindstrom. “That was the best that we could play. It was more complicated than you can imagine, we probably switched our blocking schemes 15 times. It looks like we are both running one play but we run it many different ways. It’s no fun playing each other”.
Senior co-captain Drew Ravenelle gave the Rams the lead with 4:13 left in the first half when he completed a 22 play eleven drive with a 3- yard touchdown run. He also ran in the two- point conversion, making it 8-0.
The Indians tied the game with 3:34 left in the third quarter after an impressive drive of their own and up until the final drive of the game it looked like this game was heading towards overtime.
The Rams were trying to put together a final drive but were toppled by two holding penalties in a row, giving them a first down and thirty yards with less than twenty seconds left when Brad Picard broke free and ran 51 yards to the Indians 1- yard line.
After being held on first and goal, Ravenelle snuck in with time running out and the Rams emerged with the final second huge victory.
“I knew the last play was going to be something incredible. I told Tyler Simmons to push me into the end zone if he had to and he got on my back and he pushed me in,” said Ravenelle. “We left it all out there today, there is nothing left, they are one of the best teams in Central Mass hands down; they bring it every single play.”
“It was an absolute war out there,” said Rams Tackle Matt Petrelli. “That is one of the hardest hitting teams I have ever played. We played Auburn and Fitchburg last year and came out smacking and Grafton was right there with them. Every play was a battle.”
“We knew Grafton was a great team, it was like looking in a mirror out there. We have so much respect for Mike Ross and his team. I won’t be surprised if they don’t lose another game all year,” said Rams assistant coach Ryan Dugan.
On the coaches speaking in each other’s huddles after the game, Lindstrom said, “It hurts when you leave it out on the field. They are all our kids. It’s just a game of football we are teaching them how to be men.”
Shepherd Hill, now 3-0, will take on another tough foe next week when they meet Gardner on Friday night in Dudley.
Rams Chris Dutting (#24) in pursuit
Jake Gelb follows Tyler Palmerino on a running play
Matt Vertucci (#42) tries to break free
- Sunday, 23 September 2012
- Posted in Categories: : Sports