PHOTO BY BOB ROCHE
After receiving a toss from Melvin Nieves, Classical’s Marcus Rivera follows Kyle Peachey into the end zone for a winning touchdown.
By STEVE KRAUSE
In one of the most incredible finishes to a high school football game ever seen on the North Shore, Lynn Classical, thanks to an 83-yard kick return by Marcus Rivera with no time left on the clock, came back to defeat Lynn English, 21-20, in this morning’s Thanksgiving football game.
The game had been a defensive struggle through three quarters, with Classical ahead, 7-6. When the Rams score their second touchdown of the day, with just over five minutes left, and then run in the two-point conversion, it appeared as if the Rams were going to win.
However, English had other plans. The Bulldogs, led by quarterback Matt Severance, came down the field quickly to score, but the conversion attempt failed, making the score 15-12.
Classical was faced with a fourth-and-four inside of two minutes and was lined up to go for the fourth down. After a delay-of-game penalty pushed them back, the Rams still opted to go for the first down, but English stuffed them right at the 50 yard line.
From there, the Bulldogs went down the field, with the final touchdown coming on Severance’s pass to Jonathan Kosmas with eight seconds to go. After the Bulldogs successfully ran the conversion, it was 20-15.
Photo gallery: English vs. Classical 2016 Thanksgiving football game
On the ensuing kickoff, Classical fumbled and English recovered with three seconds to go. But in the ensuing confusion, including the English student body rushing the field, few noticed that a penalty had been called on the Bulldogs for illegal procedure on the kickoff.
After order was restored, English rekicked. Melvin Nieves received it, and after a series of laterals, the ball got into the hands of co-captain Rivera, who scampered down the right sideline, aided by a block by Chase Buono that took out the only English player who had a chance to catch him.
Rivera ran 83 yards for the score, stunning the Bulldogs and prompting the Classical side to erupt.
In other games, Peabody rolled to a 35-6 win over Saugus at Coley Lee Field, spoiling the retirement party of Saugus head coach Mike Broderick, who is stepping down after the 2016 season. Senior captain Jake Doherty finished his career in style with 169 rushing yards on 21 carries including three touchdown, in spite of a dislocated thumb suffered against Haverhill. Saugus’s Kyle Lennan scored from 45 yards out late in the fourth quarter to avoid a third straight Turkey Day shutout.
Calvin Johnson scored a pair of rushing touchdowns and caught an 11-yard touchdown pass from Marcus Artkins to lead the St. Mary’s High football team to a 22-13 win over Bishop Fenwick, Thursday, at Donaldson Stadium. The Spartans raised their record to 11-0 and will play East Bridgewater next Saturday in the Division 3A Super Bowl. For Fenwick, Cory Bright threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Colin Norton and scored on a 59-yard run with 7:20 left in the fourth quarter to make the score 16-13. Johnson answered with a 14-yard touchdown run with 1:29 to play to give the Spartans a 9-point lead.
Marblehead rolled to a 27-6 win over Swampscott, keeping its undefeated season intact (the Magicians are also 11-0) heading into next week’s Division 2A Super Bowl game against Falmouth.
Revere, which started the season with four straight losses, capped off its late-season comeback with a 14-7 win over Winthrop to clinch a winning (6-5) record.
Senior running back John Merullo carried North Reading to victory over Lynnfield, 21-20, for its first road Thanksgiving win since 2008. North Reading (9-2) played from behind during the first half, trailing until mid-way through the third quarter against Lynnfield (6-4). Merullo (14 carries, 85 yards, TD) was thrust into the focal point of the North Reading offense after star running back Matt McCarthy (11 carries, 92 yards) injured his knee on the first play of the third quarter and missed the remainder of the game.
See Friday’s Daily Item, plus see itemlive for full reports on all the games.
Steve Krause can be reached at email@example.com