BYFIELD, Mass. -- Lawrence Academy came to Governor’s Academy for a win, and they got one, but it was not a giveaway. The Spartans fought for four quarters, keeping the Govs to just one score on their way to a 20-7 win.
"There’s two ways to play our team," said Lawrence Academy (4-0) coach Mike Taylor. "Either you lay down and die or fight. These guys did a heck of a job fighting."
And to the end they did. With 4:20 left in the game and Lawrence Academy leading 20-7, Governor's Academy’s Kirk Ryder recovered a fumble at the Govs’ 40. A three pitch flea flicker from Tate Jozokos to Frank Barba brought the Govs down to the 24, within striking distance of making the game a one score tossup.
"It was definitely supposed to run a little smoother," said Jozokos, referring the two players who were nearly tackled before he got the ball again. "I just ran to space, chucked it up and hoped for the best. It was definitely supposed to run smoother; it was kind of scary actually."
Two plays later Governor’s Academy gave up the ball, but a Lawrence Academy three and out gave them one more shot at the end zone.
The Govs got down to the 12, but Lawrence’s Dan Giovacchini (six tackles) stopped Elijah Morrissey for a five-yard loss, finally quelling the fire that the Govs kept up all game despite the disparate size matchup.
"Our kids, when they play with some emotion and some passion, they bring it pretty well," said Govs’ coach Mark Gerry, who said he suited up 27 players for today’s game.
"The kids knew they were in this game, they knew they could play with these guys and I can’t say enough about their character, their persistence and their heart. ‘The few, the proud’ we call ourselves when we come out to practice. Numbers are one thing, but having the right kids on the field is another thing."
If this were a fight, Governor’s Academy (1-3) landed one early on the Spartans’ chin. Morrissey took a sweep right fifty-five yards for a score with under a minute gone in the game.
"We knew they’d be flying after the ball," said Gerry. "So we figured we’d try to trick them. We got a break, a good run and went up early."
But the extra point Camden Means put between the uprights would be the last time a Govs’ player would be responsible for the ball passing the plane.
Five plays after the failed onside kick by Governor’s, Daniel Giovacchini bounced outside left and dodged tacklers en route to a 24-yard touchdown run. The failed rush attempt left the game at 7-6.
Governor’s came out flat on the next drive. Attempting a double reverse, the first play went for a six-yard loss. On the next play, Lawrence Academy’s Ryan Welch body slammed Govs’ quarterback Jozokos for a three-yard loss.
"Ryan Welch, probably the hardest player on the team," said Lawrence Academy’s quarterback and safety Michael Orloff. "Doesn’t get a lot of credit, but he’s the one in the trenches getting held, cut and all of the dirty stuff that happens to him. I give him a ton of credit. He’s an animal on defense."
A two yard-gain on the next play finished the three and out series for the Govs. Lawrence Academy scored six minutes later on a silent snap quarter sneak to the left by Orloff (9 rushes, 45 yards), catching The Academy defense off guard. This time, a failed passed left the score at 12-7 with 24 seconds left in the first quarter.
With 6:44 left in the first half, Lawrence Academy recovered a fumble at the Govs’ 37 yard line. Five plays and 2:25 later, Marcus Grant caught an 11-yard toss from Orloff in the front right corner of the end zone. Orloff ran for the extra point for the Spartans’ final score of 20-7.
"We’re a tough football team," added Taylor. "Next week, we've got another team on the schedule. I don't even know who it is, because we take it one game at a time."
Who’s your daddy?
With 6:19 left in the third quarter, Orloff went down on offense and limped off the field favoring his right leg. Governor’s got the ball back, and began to drive. That’s when the Lawrence Academy sideline began the slow chant, “Daddy’s baaack”. They were referring to Orloff, who went on to make three of his seven tackles of the day on that drive.
"They used to call me general," said Orloff. "Being quarterback and being safety… they knew that when Daddy came back into the game everything was going to be alright."
Lawrence Academy 20, Governor’s Academy 7
Law (4-0) 12 8 0 0 --- 20
Gov (1-3) 7 8 0 0 --- 7
G – Eli Morrissey 55 run (Joe Uglietto kick)
L – Daniel Giovacchini 24 run (rush failed)
L – Michael Orloff 4 run (pass failed)
L – Marcus Grant 11 pass from Orloff (Orloff rush)