Boston High School: Charles LaPaglia

No. 20 Westford holds off Marshfield charge

October, 9, 2010
WESTFORD, Mass. -- The mettle of the Westford Academy Grey Ghosts was tested in the fourth quarter but the team responded accordingly and held off the visiting Marshfield Rams, on their way to a 27-13 victory on Saturday night.

Marshfield pulled to within seven points of No. 20 Westford after head coach Lou Silva dialed up a 44-yard touchdown on a double-pass from Charles LaPaglia to Jonathan Fraser early in the fourth quarter. But after that score the Grey Ghosts showed their grit.

On its next offensive possession, Westford’s drive came to a third and 14 in Marshfield territory when quarterback Patrick Dugan tossed up a 34-yard touchdown to Mark Cornelius. The touchdown stretched the lead back to 14 and put an end to any chances Marshfield had at a comeback.

“Toward the end we knew we needed a score going down the field to ice the game,” Dugan said about the final touchdown. “After a blown coverage on my behalf…[Mark Cornelius] and I knew we needed to step up, make a play and get the job done.”

The game marked the return of a healthy Cornelius to the Grey Ghosts’ lineup after he was limited in the last two games due to injury.

The receiver helped spread the field for the Westford offense and finished with two catches for 78 yards and one touchdown. He also added an interception on the last play of the first half.

“We knew it was cover zero coming in, so we knew they were going to play us man-to-man and took it a little personally,” Dugan said about the connection between he and Cornelius.

Dugan completed 6 of 10 passes for 141 yards and three touchdown passes to three different receivers as the offense had an all-around solid night.

The Grey Ghosts defense was no slouch either.

The Rams struggled to get past the front-seven of Westford’s 3-4 defense. On the defensive line Mike Mizzoni, Joe Donnelly and Scott Herald stuffed the gaps and linebackers Zach Ingalls, Ethan Stokes, Mark Hennessy and Cam Martin made the stops.

“We tried to play hard-nosed defense and smash them as much as we can,” said Mizzoni. “Its just a lot of reacting from what they do.”

Marshfield ended the game without a player running for more than 30 yards on the night.

“Our front seven has done a great job all year,” Westford head coach Rich McKenna said of his defense. “Last year, our run defense was a little suspect so all the kids took offense to it and are really trying to prove everyone wrong.”

Ingalls played big at outside linebacker for Westford but was also a dependable running option on offense. The senior captain played multiple positions on offense for the Grey Ghosts and finished the game with 13 carries for 58 yards and a 25-yard touchdown catch. He also had an 85-yard kickoff return touchdown on the opening kickoff.

“Zach Ingalls is an awesome football player and we are blessed to have him,” McKenna said. “The kid just has a non-stop motor.”

Both teams struggled on special teams. Westford blocked a punt and a point after touchdown attempt and Marshfield blocked a punt as well.

M - 6 0 0 7 - 13
W - 7 7 6 7 - 27

First quarter
W - Ingalls 87 kickoff return touchdown (Justin Mount kick)
M - Bryan Mey 7 run (kick blocked)

Second quarter
W - Ingalls 25 pass from Dugan (Mount kick)

Third quarter
W - Mount 31 pass from Dugan (kick failed)

Fourth quarter
M - Fraser 44 pass from LaPaglia (Brendan Doherty kick)
W - Cornelius 34 pass from Dugan (Mount kick)

Dracut's miscues, Marshfield's good fortune

September, 12, 2010

MARSHFIELD, Mass. – Jonathan Fraser was Mr. Opportunity on Saturday. When the opportunities came knocking in Marshfield’s season-opener versus Dracut, Fraser seized upon them.

After falling behind 7-0 to the Middies, it came on a play call that was a variation of the old halfback option pass. Later, it came on a loose ball Fraser scooped up and took 68 yards to put the Rams on top.

In a microcosm, Fraser’s contributions were telling of how Marshfield claimed its 33-20 win. The Rams made plays and Dracut was the team shooting itself in the foot.

“We didn’t know what to expect tonight,” Rams head coach Lou Silva said. “Based on last year and what we had coming back, we really weren’t sure. I was really proud of our kids tonight. There were a couple of times they could’ve folded, but they hung in there.”

Marshfield (1-0), the defending Eastern Mass Division IIA champions, lost 24 players from last year’s squad and will rely on players like Fraser to make plays this season.

The first chance to do so came on a pass from Charles LaPaglia — the Rams’ starting tight end. LaPaglia split out wide and took a swing pass from quarterback Mark Pomella. He then faked the run, pulled back and hit Fraser in stride for a 35-yard touchdown.

“We practiced that play all week,” Fraser said. “We knew it was coming. There’s a little pressure to think about having the ball in the air all that time, but we nailed it.

“We’ve run variations of it [in the past], but I didn’t think they were expecting for our starting tight end to be able to throw the ball that far.”

Fraser made his next big play on the ensuing drive, a 68-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown.

“Our middle linebacker Joe Hastry made a nice strip on the ball and it came right up to me,” Fraser said. “It was a like a routine ground ball, then I just had to beat that guy to the end zone.”

Marshfield held a 20-7 halftime lead despite accruing just 64 yards of total offense in the first half.

But Dracut (0-1) looked poised for a comeback at the start of the second half. Senior quarterback Matt Silva hooked up with running back Keith Hamel on an 81-yard touchdown on the first play from scrimmage of the third quarter.

Silva accounted for each of the Middies’ three touchdowns (two passing, one rushing) while completing 16 of 25 passing attempts for 267 yards. He also registered 16 carries for 72 yards.

But the Rams’ bend-but-don’t-break defense held just enough to secure the win, creating turnovers at opportune times — such as Fraser’s fumble recovery and a fourth-quarter interception by LaPaglia to stall a promising Dracut drive.

“We just wanted to make them work for it,” Silva said. “We knew that they were going to move the ball, we just didn’t want to give them home runs. But they did have two of them.”

Running back Brian Mey, who also had an interception, added two second-half touchdown runs to put the game out of reach.

For Dracut, there were just too many miscues to win.

The Middies muffed a punt return (with a Marshfield recovery by Zackary Pappas), which led to the first Rams’ touchdown, and also had a punt blocked (by LaPaglia — what didn’t he do?) that set up a drive which yielded a 5-yard Tom Pomella touchdown run.

“We had a punt blocked, we had a muffed punt, there were too many mistakes,” said Jason Houston, who was coaching his first game as the Middies’ helmsman. “They came back and scored off of those mistakes and if you looked at the scoreboard, it made a difference in a big way.”