Key defensive stops lead Swampscott past Greater Lawrence

Swampscott's Jonathan Oriakhi (right) avoids a tackle as he heads up field for a touchdown. (Item Photo by Spenser R. Hasak)

SWAMPSCOTT– Sometimes it comes down to one play. The Swampscott football team watched a 21-14 lead whittle down to a 1-point edge midway through the third quarter when Greater Lawrence punched in a touchdown on a 28-yard pass from quarterback Jose Caceres to Steven Polanco. The Reggies elected to attempt a 2-point conversion and Caceres’ pass was broken up by Big Blue junior defensive back Caden Dubiel.

A late Swampscott defensive stand led to a scoreless fourth quarter and the Big Blue held on for a 21-20 win Saturday afternoon at Blocksidge Field.

“Dubiel made a great, great play,” Swampscott coach Bob Serino said. “We had (Caceres) forced in. We didn’t want (Caceres) to get outside the pocket. A couple people bit on him but the defensive line, all day, didn’t give the cut-back for their quarterback or running back.”

Swampscott junior quarterback Graham Inzana tossed touchdown passes to receivers Jonathan Oriakhi (junior) and Andrew Augustin (sophomore). Inzana finished with 199 passing yards and completed 13 of 21 pass attempts with 2 touchdown passes.

Augustin hauled in 4 catches for 70 yards, while Oriakhi made 4 catches for 60 yards and senior Connor Lynch caught 2 passes for 22 yards.

Freshman Xaviah Bascon scored on a 12-yard touchdown rush and caught a pass for 44 yards. Sophomore kicker Thomas Frisoli was 3-for-3 on PAT’s.

Swampscott’s offense struggled to capture its rhythm in the opening quarter. Inzana was picked off twice, the second caught by Greater Lawerence’s Vinny Schmidt and returned to the Big Blue’s 11-yard line midway through the quarter. Caceres made the most of the early opportunity, scoring the 1st touchdown of the afternoon on a 1-yard quarterback keeper (conversion failed).

The Big Blue answered quickly, with Bascon scoring the first touchdown of his varsity career on the 12-yard carry. Frisoli split the uprights on the PAT and Swampscott led 7-6 with 2:14 to play in the first quarter.

That’s how it stayed until Swampscott added to it’s lead with back-to-back touchdowns in the second quarter. Oriakhi reeled in a 45-yard touchdown toss from Inzana with 10 minutes left in the period. Augustin followed suit with a 42-yard touchdown reception three minutes later. Frisoli booted both PAT’s and the Big Blue led 21-6 with 6:51 to play in the half.

“We had an awful week of practice, we had an awful day Friday and it showed right at the beginning of the game but we turned it around a little bit,” Serino said. “We left probably 21 points on the board.

“It was our first real conditioning,” he said. “I think we’ll get better and better. We had probably four or five busts on receiver routes not run right. They put some pressure on, did a couple stunts but we picked it up when we needed it.”

Greater Lawrence made things interesting from there. A 5-yard touchdown pass from Caceres to Omar Medina made it a 1-possession game, 21-14, in the closing minutes of the half (Caceres rush).

With 34.4 seconds on the clock in quarter No. 3, Caceres linked up with Polanco on a 28-yard touchdown pass to slim Swampscott’s lead down to a point at 21-20. Looking to reclaim the lead on the 2-point conversion, the Reggies were denied when Dubiel broke up a pass attempt in the end zone to keep Swampscott’s edge afloat.

Greater Lawrence placed Swampscott’s defense on its heels in the final minutes of the fourth quarter, with a drive into Big Blue territory. The Reggies reached Swampscott’s 48-yard line before senior defensive lineman Jake Bartram sealed the win with a tackle on a screen pass on 4th-and-long.

Senior Isaac Andre ran out the clock on a string of carries up the middle.

Swampscott (1-0) visits Triton (0-1) Friday night (7).

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