LYNN — The English football team dominated on the ground en route to a 31-9 win over Somerville Friday night at Manning Field.
Bulldogs running back Ishmile Bangura totaled 120 yards on the ground while scoring three touchdowns. Sophomore Tahj Purter also had a 50-yard touchdown run in the second half.
“It’s a win, but it wasn’t pretty at all,” English Chris Carroll said. “We started off slow, the offense had a couple of dropped passes, a botched snap and a couple of untimely penalties. We still walked away with 13 points in the first half which isn’t really what we’re trying to do. We pride ourselves on being and explosive offense so we have to get better in that regard.”
Along with the running game, English was led by its defense which had three turnovers, including two interceptions, one returned for a touchdown, from Matt Severance at safety.
“The game plan was to come in and run the ball,” Carroll said. “We are an unselfish team. Prince Brown is an exceptional wide receiver, we could have thrown the ball to him, gave him his 11 to 12 targets but the running game was working and we stuck to the game plan. Those guys grinded it out on defense. Matt had two huge defensive plays and we had Prince following their number one wide receiver all game.”
Somerville got on the board first with a 30-yard field goal at the end of the first quarter by Larsen Pierre to go up 3-0.
English finally got the spark its offense needed when Purter returned a Somerville punt 60 yards to set up English with a first-and-goal at the Somerville 2. On the next play, Bangura ran for a touchdown and Tyler Drinan nailed the extra-point to put the Bulldogs ahead 7-3.
“That punt return in the first half really changed the whole momentum of the game for us,” Carroll said. “Credit to Tahj and Ishmile, he ran pretty hard today.”
With only a few minutes remaining in the first half, English put together a 73-yard drive to go up 13-3. Bangura had 50 total rushing yards on the drive and capped it off with a 17-yard touchdown run.
On the first drive of the second half, Somerville quarterback Louis Montina found Wady Jimenez Santana on a 48-yard screen pass to set up a first-and-goal at the English 5. On the next play, running back Fred Castin (100 rushing yards) ran for a 5-yard touchdown to narrow the score to 13-9.
That would be as close as the game got in the second half however, as English added a touchdown on its next drive thanks to a 10-yard run from Bangura to go up 19-9.
On the next Somerville drive Severance stepped in front of a screen pass and intercepted it for a 42-yard touchdown to put English ahead 25-9.
English added another touchdown later in the fourth quarter on a 50-yard run from Purter to go up 31-9. Severance then recorded his second interception to seal the game for the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs host Malden Catholic next Friday (7:30).
“They’re coming from a tough conference,” Carroll said of the Lancers. “I don’t think they’re record is indicative of their program. It will be a tough game but we will be ready for them.”