English rolls to dominant win in playoff opener

English's Prince Brown holds off Winchester's Evan Clarke. (Katie Morrison)

LYNN — What can Brown do for you?

Actually, the better question is what can Brown do for the Lynn English football team? The answer?

Prince Brown racked up 300 total yards and scored three touchdowns — two receptions and a run — to help the Bulldogs roll to a 36-0 win over Winchester in the Division 3 North Quarterfinals Saturday at Manning Field.

The top-seeded Bulldogs will host No. 5 Billerica, which beat No. 4 Arlington, 29-26, in the quarterfinals, Friday at Manning.

English did all of its damage in the first half and held off the Sachems offense through the final 22 minutes.

“Great team effort, everybody across the board. Our offense was able to execute in the first half, defense was able to stop drives,” English coach Chris Carroll said. “Prince is a dangerous playmaker, he’s been doing it all year. He leads Division 3 in touchdown receptions. Today was a time for him to step up on a big stage in the playoffs.”

English was off and running right from its first drive. Starting at the 50, English used seven plays to reach the end zone, including a 17-yard gain and later a five-yard touchdown run for Ski Gaston. Quarterback Matt Severance found Brown with a pass in the corner of the end zone for the conversion.

After stifling the Sachems’ first drive, Severance found Brown with a pair of deep passes and capped off the drive with a 12-yard touchdown run of his own to make it 14-0.

The Winchester offense threatened on a couple of occasions, but the English defense held steady. In a drive that ate up the remainder of the first quarter, Winchester got down to the Bulldogs 5, but turned the ball over on downs.

“Bend but don’t break,” Carroll said. “It wasn’t as pretty as 36-0 may have seemed, to be honest. There are some things that we have to work on, but I’m not one of those guys who’s going to going to hammer my defense after pitching a shutout. But the road only gets tougher, so we have to be better.”

That’s when the Prince Brown show began. On just the second play of the drive, Brown took the handoff around the left side and zipped down the sideline for a 94-yard score. After a three-and-out for Winchester, on the first play of the drive, Brown hauled in a Severance pass in front of the English bench and took it 77 yards to the house. Ishmile Bangura ran in the conversion.

“We saw the kind of coverage they were playing against us, and Prince is the kind of player who can create a mismatch because of his speed,” Carroll said. “He’s fast, he has good hands and he accelerates well. We saw the coverage, we liked it, worked on some things all week and were able to execute when the play was called.

“He and Matt (Severance) are really good friends,” Carroll added. “This is a close-knit group, and I think that’s probably the main reason we’ve found success this year is because of how hard they work and how well they play together.”

Another long Sachems drive ended badly for Winchester as the snap was fumbled at the Bulldogs’ 18 and English’s Jacob Miller recovered the ball. After a 13-yard gain by Bangura, Severance again connected with Brown, this time with a 67-yard touchdown pass.

The second half was uneventful for both teams; Brown didn’t see much much action after halftime, and Severance was lifted for senior Devin Curley.

The No. 1 Bulldogs will welcome Billerica to Manning next weekend, and Carroll says he’s happy to have earned home field advantage throughout the North playoffs.

“It’s awesome,” he said. “Being able to secure that No. 1 seed and play on our field … we’re not traveling, we’re playing on a field that we’ve practiced on, that we’ve played on, and we had a nice crowd here. We’re really glad to be playing our games here at Manning Field.”

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