Boston High School: Dylan Kelleher

Recap: No. 18 Longmeadow 14, Pinkerton (N.H.) 9

April, 21, 2012
DERRY, N.H. -- Dylan Kelleher dreaded the idea of making the 2-hour bus ride back to Longmeadow High after losing to the same Granite State boys' lacrosse power for the fourth consecutive season.

The senior attackman's four goals – and a monster effort from his teammates – helped ensure a far different outcome in the latest meeting with Pinkerton Academy.

Kelleher contributed to a 12-goal second half for the No. 18 Lancers, whose emphatic 14-9 win Saturday at Memorial Field snapped a losing streak to the Astros that started in 2009.

“Last year, they came out and smashed us right away (15-7). Two years ago, they beat us in overtime (12-11), which was unfortunate,” said Kelleher, whose club improved to 7-0. “I'm not really sure about my freshman year, but I know we lost (17-8).

“This is my senior year,” he added. “My goal was to beat Pinkerton. Finally.”

After the first period, Pinkerton appeared poised to win in a rout. Joe Appolonia (two goals) one-hopped a shot that gave New Hampshire's No. 2 team the lead just 34 seconds into the contest.

The Astros possessed the ball throughout the first frame. They forced turnovers with timely stick checks, won ground balls, recovered nicely when caught out of position, and built a 4-1 lead.

“We came off the bus a little slow. Down, 4-1, it showed the character of the team to battle back,” Longmeadow coach John Rauseo said. “We outscored them, 13-5, after the first quarter. That's a nice win.”

Momentum began to shift in Longmeadow's favor just before halftime.

Coming out of a timeout, Bennett Leveillee (three goals) scooped a deflected pass and, atop the crease, popped a quick shot past Pearce Connal (eight saves). It was the period's lone marker, registered with 12.2 left on the clock.

Pinkerton (4-2) regained its three-goal cushion after the break. Evan Sweeney charged in uncontested after Cody Desmarais forced a turnover at midfield.

Then, the game-changer: An unnecessary roughness penalty on the Astros. The flag was thrown a moment after the Lancers were whistled for a cross-check.

“It was 5-2 when we get the penalty on them and we decide to retaliate because we were upset that the kid pushed us down, and kicked the kid in the face to get the matching penalties,” Pinkerton coach Brian O'Reilly said. “They scored two quick goals and the game wasn't the same after that.”

Leveillee buried his chance in 5-on-5 play. Keegan Dudeck (three goals, assist) fired from the top of the restraining box. The goals, scored in a 41-second span, pulled the Lancers within 5-4.

But they were only heating up.

Leveillee again capitalized on a ground ball with a quick pick-and-pop near the crease. Kelleher finished an easy catch-and-shoot from the left post to briefly give the Lancers their first lead.

Drew Kelleher was also instrumental, particularly in the second half. The sophomore took 19 of the game's 27 faceoffs. He won possession for his team 10 times.

Pinkerton's Dom Corsetto (three goals, assist) whipped a game-tying, man-up goal past Glenn LaFountain (seven saves), the unsung hero of the third period. The senior stopper made point-blank saves on Josh Gallant and Peter Field midway through the stanza to prevent Pinkerton from stopping the onslaught.

Longmeadow simply crushed it in crunch time. Eight goals. Five different goal scorers.

Ryan Coombs (two goals, assist) pulled the Astros even at 7-apiece with a long-distance submarine-style shot from the top-right corner.

But, as the clock dipped under 11 minutes, Eric Barsalou (two goals) snapped the deadlock. The Lancers, on top for the third time, didn't relinquish the lead.

Instead, they poured it on.

“Pinkerton is always a good challenge for us,” Rauseo said. “It helps us gauge where we are.”

Where might that be?

“We're 7-0,” Rauseo said. “That's all I know.”

Recap: Longmeadow 35, Springfield Central 7

December, 3, 2011
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -– Longmeadow's first offensive possession was a message-sending march if ever there was one.

The Lancers, with their lengthy scoring drive, essentially said this to rival Springfield Central: Good luck repeating your regular-season performance in the Western Mass. Division 1 Super Bowl.

Controlling play with a punishing rushing attack – and mixing in timely strikes through the air – the Lancers locked up their second straight title with a 35-7 win Saturday at frigid Gillette Stadium.

“We were able to sustain some drives and run the clock down,” said Longmeadow head coach Alex Rotsko, whose program overcame a host of injuries to make its 15th straight appearance in the final. “The kids' execution was very good on both sides of the ball.”

Flat out, Frankie Elder was a force for Longmeadow (11-2). You'd never know the 5-foot 9-inch, 175-pound junior made a late-season switch from running back to signal-caller out of necessity.

Elder (16 carries for 123 yards) tossed two touchdowns and twice ran for scores as the Lancers avenged their mid-October 21-20 loss to Central. The one-point stunner snapped Longmeadow's 52-game league win streak, and earned Central its first head-to-head win in the rivalry since 2000.

“It motivated us a lot. After they won (earlier this season), we looked over and saw them celebrating like they won the Super Bowl,” Elder said. “So, we came out here and actually won the Super Bowl.”

Payback started early.

The Lancers opened with a commanding 12-play drive. The offense moved 74 yards and hit paydirt on Elder's 14-yard rollout touchdown toss to Terry Norris (11 carries for 58 yards), who added a short-yardage scoring run in the final frame.

Elder's first big play extended the initial tone-setting drive. He powered forward for 11 yards on fourth-and-3 and moved the sticks to Central's 26.

Start to finish, Longmeadow's drive drained 6 minutes, 9 seconds off the clock.

The offense's second possession lasted a fraction of that time. But it still went for 78 yards in seven plays, capped by Elder's 11-yard run inside right tackle to the end zone.

“I don't know how you simulate Gillette Stadium,” Central head coach Vladamar Brower said. “But, mentally, I should've gotten in their minds a little bit that it's going to be a big stage … and be ready to play a game.”

Where Elder thrived, Central's top threat was largely stifled. Sacoy Malone recorded 74 yards of total offense, but just 43 on the ground. He briefly halted Longmeadow's momentum with an 24-yard catch-and-run TD shortly before halftime.

The second half? The Lancers owned it.

Dylan Kelleher, running left to right across the formation, broke free for a 40-yard TD reception less than 2 minutes into the third quarter. Elder added the two-point run for a two-touchdown cushion.

The fourth quarter was simply a 10-minute countdown to coronation. Norris (4-yard TD) and Elder (15-yard TD) added the exclamation points.

“We were fueled by it,” Norris said of the previous result against Central. “We knew we were the better team in the regular season. It showed here tonight.”

Playing keepaway: Control the clock. Control the Super Bowl.

Longmeadow executed the game plan with three lengthy drives that generated first downs – and plenty of frustration for the opposition.

Beyond the 12-play march for the game's first points, the Lancers dominated possession en route to their fourth and fifth scores.

Norris capped the fourth drive, an 11-play sequence, that took 5:08 off the clock. Elder's last trip to the end zone ended an 11-play drive lasting 4:50.

Sustaining drives led to a 22-6 advantage in first downs for the Lancers. They also converted 8 of 10 third-down attempts.

Awfully athletic: Malone gave Central the spark it desperately needed inside the first half's final minute.

Securing a pass in the flat from quarterback Cody Williams (7 of 17 passing, 123 yards), the senior running back quickly cut up field. He appeared headed out of bounds at the 5, pinned in by hard-charging Kevin Pierce and Jake Lazarus.

But Malone used one last burst to beat Longmeadow's would-be tacklers and squeeze inside the left pylon.

The touchdown helped pull the Golden Eagles within 13-7 with 54 seconds until halftime. Malone's catch-and-run TD immediately followed a penalty that pushed the offense out of the red zone.

Scary moment: Central's Perry Nowell was taken off via stretcher with 5:29 remaining in regulation. Brower said his senior linebacker sustained a “head or back injury” after charging to tackle Elder along the sideline.

Nowell braced himself on one knee after the play. But he soon returned to the turf. The medical staff tended to Nowell for several minutes, then called for the stretcher.

Brower said the stretcher was used for precautionary purposes.

“He was moving all his limbs and everything, so there's hope there, and he put his thumbs up at the end,” Brower said. “He was in good spirits.”

High praise: Elder's efforts certainly earned high praise from Rotsko, who ranked his signal-caller's Super Bowl statistics second to any QB's top priority: Making sure the offense runs smoothly.

“It's about running the team,” Rotsko said. “He's not a quarterback. He's a running back. He found out he's a quarterback about three weeks ago (due to player injuries).

“When you're playing with a kid who's not a quarterback, you'd expect (miscues),” he added. “That's a credit to him and his confidence.”

Longmeadow 35, Springfield Central 7
Springfield Central (10-3) 0-7-0-0—7
Longmeadow (11-2) 7-6-8-14—35

1st Quarter
L – Frankie Elder 14 pass Terry Norris (Eric Barsalou kick), 1:49

2nd Quarter
L – Elder 11 run (kick failed), 4:08
S – Cody Williams 24 pass Sacoy Malone (Juwan Williams), :54

3rd Quarter
L – Elder 40 pass Dylan Kelleher (Elder run)

4th Quarter
L – Norris 4 run (Barsalou kick), 9:56
L – Elder 15 run (Barsalou kick), 3:56