SUDBURY, Mass. -- On a wet and windy night at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School, the Reading Rockets improved to 6-0 on the season using the same methods they have all year: solid defense and a three-headed running attack.
Reading shut out Lincoln-Sudbury (3-3), 21-0, notching the team its third consecutive shut out.
“I thought that this was a trap game if there ever was one,” said Reading head coach John Fiore after the win. “We played a pretty tough game coming into this game and we certainly got to them first but we were on the road with bad weather and stuff -- we’re happy to get out of here tonight.”
The Rockets spread the ball around on offense in the first half. Running back Larry Gilligan (11 carries, 66 yards, one touchdown) was the first to hammer away on the opening offensive possession but the drive finished off with a 21-yard touchdown run by Zack Bates (10 carries, 64 yards, one touchdown).
The next time the Rockets had the ball, they went right back at it.
This time, Bates and quarterback Brian Bourque carried the load, and the eight-play drive was capped off with a touchdown run by Gilligan from 14 yards out. On the night, only one other player besides Gilligan, Bates or Bourque touched the ball on offense for the Rockets.
After going up 14-0 in the first quarter, Reading’s offense sputtered through the middle periods of the game, but Bourque eventually got things going again in the second half. He put the finishing touches on the game by running in a 60-yard quarterback draw in the fourth quarter.
“I think the kids had some tough floods in there and offensively we had some rough moments but we got it going late,” said Fiore. “We got some people blocked in the fourth quarter and finished it off.”
Bourque rushed the ball 18 times for 158 yards and one touchdown.
The L-S defense was plagued by injuries coming into the game, and moved around defensive lineman Zach Smerlas in an attempt to counter the right side of the Reading offensive line. Smerlas lined up on right tackle Jeff Covitz, but Reading ran wherever it pleased on the Warriors’ defense.
L-S, however, did do a good job defending Reading’s passing attack. Bourque was troubled by the defensive line and managed to complete two of 11 passes for six yards on the night.
The Warriors tried to mount a fourth-quarter comeback, as the rains calmed temporarily, but quarterback Matthew Cahill had some strange miscommunication with his wide receivers.
On a drive that he completed four of seven passes for 42 yards and seemed to be in rhythm, things suddenly went wrong for Cahill. With the ball on the 16-yard line, the quarterback was intercepted by Reading sophomore Greg Connery -- putting the comeback chances on hold.
However, L-S got another shot to score after its defense forced Reading to go three and out -- only to have Cahill intercepted again on the first play by safety Connor Sheehan. That turnover led to another Reading touchdown and ultimately sealed the Warriors’ fate.
“The defensive line stops the runs and gets the pass rushed,” said Bourque of Reading’s defense. “They make the decisions that we have to react to so it starts up there for us on defense.
Reading now has put together an impressive 19-game win streak, dating back to its loss to Walpole in the Division 2 playoffs back in 2008.
“Is it that many?” questioned Reading head coach John Fiore when posed with the statistic. “I like to believe that they are only thinking about Belmont tomorrow morning but I am sure that there are times when the players think about being part of a pretty good three-year run. But it really doesn’t matter, it’s about next week now.”
Bourque echoed coach Fiore’s statement.
“We just take this season one game at a time,” said the quarterback.
READING 21, LINCOLN-SUDBURY 0
Rea 14 0 0 7 --- 21
L-S 0 0 0 0 --- 0
R - Zack Bates 21 run (Nick Scali kick)
R - Larry Gilligan 14 run (Scali kick)
R - Brian Bourque 60 run (Scali kick)