Boston High School: Mark Hennessy

No. 20 Westford holds off Marshfield charge

October, 9, 2010
10/09/10
11:26
PM ET
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)

No huddle, no problem for No. 13 Westford

September, 5, 2010
9/05/10
8:44
PM ET
WESTFORD, Mass. -- The pieces are fitting together.

Whether it is the no-huddle offense, his team’s skill set or just the right equation of players, Westford Academy head coach Rich McKenna is achieving great success to start off his tenure with the Grey Ghosts.

[+] EnlargeWestford Football
Neil Carroll for ESPNBoston.comWith Zack Ingalls, Patrick Dugan and Mark Cornelius in the backfield, Westford is a favorite to capture its second straight Dual County League title.
Last year, McKenna took over the team after the departure of long-time coach Mike Parent and led the Grey Ghosts to an 8-4 season and a playoff berth. Although Westford lost to Gloucester in the first round of the Division 1A playoffs, the team’s statistics were impressive.

Before the season, McKenna evaluated the personnel he had at Westford, and decided that running an audible-based offense would benefit his players.

"I looked at the other sports here, and how successful the skill-sports were," McKenna said of the switch. "...I knew we had a lot of skill, so I thought we could play an up-tempo style of football here."

Quarterback Patrick Dugan had 25 passing touchdowns to go along with 12 rushing touchdowns last season. Dugan mastered the art of the no-huddle and was exactly what McKenna needed in a quarterback.

"Basically the quarterback makes sure everybody is on the same page," McKenna said of Dugan. "It all stems off of him, and he’s pretty much the straw that stirs the drink."

Dugan has a variety of weapons to choose from at Westford. Whether it is his favorite target Mark Cornelius at wide receiver, or returning running backs John Hennessy or Mark Ingalls out of the backfield, Dugan spreads the ball well.

"I love [the no-huddle offense]," Dugan said of the playbook. "It gives us a chance to tire our opponents out, score fast and put up a lot of points per game."

While it does not appear that he has the speed to be a top wide receiver, Cornelius is still very quick, and at 6-foot-3 has phenomenal hands. Last year, he and Dugan two hooked up for 17 touchdowns through the air; and with all the hype and excitement since, week one can’t come soon enough.

"We have our set plays that we can go to, but I can always look out to [Cornelius] and give him a variety of different options," Dugan said of the chemistry he has with his wide receiver. "We can always tell what the defense is in so he knows what I’m going to call and we’re always clicking."

Said Cornelius, "We have a pretty good chemistry. He knows when I’m open to throw me the ball, and he yells at me, I yell at him, but we’re good."

WESTFORD AT A GLANCE
2009 record:
8-4 (lost to Gloucester in the first round of playoffs)
Coach: Rich McKenna (Second year, 8-4)
Players to watch: Patrick Dugan, Sr., QB, 6-0, 200 lbs., (25 passing TDs, 12 rushing TDs) ; Zack Ingalls, Sr., WR/RB/LB, 5-11, 210 lbs. (23 all-purpose TDs); Mark Cornelius, Sr., WR, 6-3, 190 lbs. (17 TDs); Mark Hennessy, Sr., RB/LB, 6-0, 200 lbs.; Joe Donnelly, Jr., NT, 5-7, 210 lbs.; Mike Doran, Jr., S, 5-10, 165 lbs.; Mike Mizzoni, Sr., OG/DT, 6-0, 240 lbs.; Ralph Barisano, Sr., LB, 6-3, 200 lbs.
Strengths: Up-tempo offense, skill positions.
Weaknesses: Size, physicality.
Outlook: This year the Grey Ghosts have a lot of positions to fill at the offensive line. While the lineman they have now fit McKenna’s system, they are definitely inexperienced. However that may go unnoticed if Dugan can keep up the chemistry with his offensive options. The quarterback is one of the best in the DCL, and has a lot of talent around him. On defense, Westford is again lacking in lineman but experienced at linebacker and in the secondary.

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