Boston High School: Nicolau Coury

Recap: No. 9 Lowell 21, Westford 0

September, 7, 2013
9/07/13
12:40
AM ET
WESTFORD, Mass. –- With overwhelming speed and a knack for getting to the ball, Lowell’s defense was all over the field on Friday night. As a result, the Red Raiders (1-0) pitched a shutout on opening night, picking up the road victory over Westford Academy, 21-0.

The Lowell offense got a quick start in the first quarter, putting up two touchdowns in the opening minutes.

The Red Raiders went right to running back Ngaiiva Mason on their first drive; he had 39 yards in the series, 28 of which on a second down run to put Lowell on the seven yard line. Moments later, senior quarterback Brian Dolan (10-of-15, 105 yards, 2 total TD) kept it himself and put his team on the scoreboard first.

A few minutes later, following a Westford (0-1) fumble forced by defensive end Malik Settles, Lowell came up with great field position on the Grey Ghosts’ 31 yard line. On third down, Dolan hooked up with highly-touted receiver Jack Galvin (5 catches, 68 yards) for a 29-yard touchdown, bringing the lead to 14-0.

“Those guys work well together,” Lowell coach John Florence said about the friendship between Galvin and Dolan. “They’ve grown up together, they’ve played since junior high together and they’ve been friends, so they already had that kind of bond.”

Westford had an opportunity to put points on the board at the end of the first half, but a dropped would-be touchdown in the endzone resulted in a turnover on downs.

The Grey Ghosts ended the first half with just 35 total yards. The defensive theme stood true early in the second half as well, as Lowell was able to pick up two stops in the red zone to keep the shutout alive.

Following a long punt return by Mason that brought Lowell to Westford’s 13 yard line, the Red Raiders scored on a run via Mason two plays later to extend the lead to 21-0. However, Westford wasn’t quite done yet.

Grey Ghosts quarterback Luke Moran helped manufacture a 68-yard drive thanks in part to two receptions for 41 yards from Will Puduski, and a 28-yard reception from tight end Matt Cardeiro. Two plays later though, Lowell defensive back Musa Mansary picked a Moran pass off in the endzone to, at least at the time, take the win out of Westford’s sails.

“Coach called man coverage. He thought I was nice, so I just covered the kid up pretty well,” Mansary said after the game.

The excitement on the Red Raiders’ sideline was anticlimactic, however, as Mason fumbled the ball on the very next play—putting Lowell’s defense back on the field and giving Westford position at the Red Raiders’ six yard line.

“Offensive line and run blocking…we need to clean it up,” Florence said regarding the fumble.

The Grey Ghosts’ would get the ball all the down the one yard line, but couldn’t finish off the opportunity, as running back Ben Rodman simply couldn’t get through Lowell’s linebackers. It was a sense of relief from Mansary and the rest of the defense, and he had high praise for his teammates:

“Give a lot of credit to the linebackers: Shyheim [Cullen], Nicolau Coury, and John Healy. Those guys are the best,” he said.

The defensive emphasis was a long time coming for Florence’s team, as the coach has worked hard at improving his defense over the past couple of years.

“We’ve been stressing ball security at practice, but obviously it’s something we need to work on a little bit more," Florence said. "It was great to see the defense make those stops, defensive backs made some plays there, the linebackers, the d-line, it was really a team effort on defense there.”

He continued, “It’s something we’ve been building for three years. We’ve been stressing tackling, we do a tackling circuit almost every day in practice. With these guys who have been playing for a few years, they’re kind of feeling more comfortable with things.”

Mansary, a senior who has learned a lot from Florence over the past couple of years, said the coach and his staff constantly put an emphasis on getting eleven men to the ball and playing fast on defense. He was quick to give credit to his coaches for the team’s success on Friday night:

“Give the credit to all the coaches: Coach Florence, Coach Casey, Coach Harris. It’s all them, it’s not us. They prepare us every week to play like we’re champions, every week.”

Summer Snapshot: Lowell Red Raiders

August, 8, 2013
8/08/13
1:35
PM ET
This is the third installment in our "Summer Snapshot" series, checking in with some of Massachusetts' top teams leading into the MIAA football preseason. To see all of our Summer Snapshots, CLICK HERE.

One could argue Lowell was one of the better teams sitting at home after Thanksgiving with no playoff berth last fall, winning six of its final seven games with a potent offense that really hit its groove from October on. This fall, the Red Raiders should be one of the more fascinating, high-powered offenses to watch -- up there with Natick, St. John's (Shrewsbury) and the like -- returning a deep receiving corps led by All-State candidate Jack Galvin.

In the newly-aligned MIAA State Championship format, some are projecting Lowell as a dark horse in the elite Division 1. Can they continue last season's momentum for an historic 2013? We checked in with the Raiders yesterday afternoon at Cawley Stadium, as part of a photo shoot for our annual preseason gallery, which will be available later this month on ESPNBoston.com.

LOWELL AT A GLANCE
Coach: John Florence (Third season, 15-7 overall)
Last Season: 9-2
Final ESPN Boston Rank: NR ("Last 10 out")
Returning Starters: 12 (five offense, seven defense)
Key Losses: QB Cam Latta, WR/DB Alex Kasirye, WR Anthony Consolo, OL Callen Vail, OL Andres Bolivar, DB Ricky Rosado
Key Returnees: Sr. WR/LB Jack Galvin, Sr. OL/DE Alex Quintero, Sr. RB Ndeiiva Mason, Sr. WR/DB Keagan Latta, Jr. LB Shyheim Cullen, Jr. LB Nicolau Coury, Sr. WR Tom Smith, Sr. WR/DB Michael Holder, Sr. LB Musa Mansaray, Jr. OL/DL Angel Brito
Overview: Behind a high-powered offense returning some of the state's finest skill players, many are pegging the Red Raiders as a favorite in the Merrimack Valley Conference, and potentially a dark horse in the newly-aligned Division 1 North. After a 21-0 shutout loss to Tewksbury in Week 4 last season, Lowell won six of its final seven games -- including an upset of MVC champ Andover -- and lit up the scoreboard along the way, averaging 387 yards of offense and nearly 39 points per game. The biggest hole to fill will be at quarterback, but Lawrence Academy transfer Brian Dolan appears capable of taking the reigns. The Raiders ran one of the more unique offenses in 2012, utilizing pistol sets with layered routes and packaging screens on the backside of zone read plays. That gave way to a breakout season for Galvin (72 catches, 916 yards, 10 TD), who should lead one of the region's deepest receiving corps along with Latta, Bryant, Smith, Cullen, and scatback Mason. Defensively, there is athleticism abound. The 5-foot-11, 205-pound Quintero (15 sacks) is a difficult matchup with his speed rush moves and low center of gravity, while Coury and Cullen are bound for breakout campaigns at linebacker after combining for 122 tackles (16 for loss) and 8.5 sacks in 2012. Overall, this is a team that can score points in a hurry, and could play spoiler in a D1 North where St. John's Prep and Everett are the presumed favorites.

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