For the first time in the annals of Pop Warner Football, a team from the Dracut program won the championship game of the Eastern MA playoffs. The 11-0 Middies C football squad certainly took their place in the history books as they routed the Middlesex League champs, the Winchester Sachems, 38-6. Dracut dominated this contest in all aspects of the game — offense, defense, kicking and special teams.
Next stop for the Middies is the New England Pop Warner Regionals where they will face the Central MA champions from Grafton. The eight best teams throughout New England will play for a chance to advance to the Pop Warner National Championship Tournament in Florida in December.
This championship contest started with Dracut’s ferocious defense holding the Sachems to zero yards on the first series of the game. Winchester decided to punt the ball from their 38 yard line. The high spiraling kick turned into an Aise Pream 65-yard touchdown punt return as the talented Dracut running back followed key blocks from Peter Sawyer and Devin Lambert. Pream barreled in on the extra point attempt to put the Middies up 7-0.
Winchester’s next possession started at their 41-yard line and that’s where they remained as the tenacious defensive play of Charlie Kefauver, Gilbert Ruiz, Alex Reis and Tyler Middlemiss refused to give up any inside rushing yards. In the blink of an eye, the Middies were up 13-0 as Pream went 41 yards to pay dirt on the Middies’ first offensive play of the game. A costly penalty on third down and some sloppy tackling allowed Winchester to score and get back into the contest, 13-6, on a 50-yard touchdown run by their strong halfback.
Dracut’s explosive offense responded quickly as Michael Canney, Nathan Ripley, Michael Tusa, Kyle Proulx and Anthony Marquez manhandled Winchester’s defensive line, allowing Pream to score from 42 yards out. His extra point upped the Dracut lead to 20-6 as the invigorating first quarter ended.
Winchester faced the ferocious tackling of Denis Bourassa, Jacob Beaulieu, Yan Gonzalez, Ethan Holt and Jacob Nadreau and was unable to gain any yards to start the second quarter. Dracut took over at their own 48-yard line and marched down the field with a quick five-play scoring drive. Pream scored on a 2-yard sweep behind pulling guard Jared Fahey to increase the Dracut lead to 26-6.
Devin Lambert’s QB sack blew up Winchester’s next series as the Sachems were held to negative yards once again. Lincoln Lessard and Eric Ariosus went to work and had several positive rushes to put the Middies in the red zone. With 30 seconds remaining in the half, Lessard scuttled into the end zone behind the powerful pancake blocking of Max Barton and Javier Faria. Dracut took a 32-6 lead into halftime after Aise Pream recovered Peter Sawyer’s perfectly placed onside kick.
Dracut’s athletic secondary of Matt Simpson, Matt Rossetti and Lucas Ibarguen shut down Winchester’s passing game for the rest of the game. They jammed the Sachems at the line and used quickness to turn and blanket their receivers all the way down the field. Their coverage skills led to Lincoln Lessard sacking Winchester’s quarterback.
Dracut (over 300 rushing yards) milked the clock as Jacob Nadreau, Michael Canney, Nathan Ripley, Michael Tusa, Matt Rossetti, Alex Reis, Yan Gonzalez, Ethan Holt, Matt Simpson, Eric Ariosus and Lucas Ibarguen had carries. Aise Pream (243 yards) went in for his fifth score as the slashing touchdown machine made the final result 38-6.