LYNNFIELD — The Lynnfield football team took it right down to the wire against the visiting Ipswich Tigers Friday night at Pioneer Stadium, but came up three yards short, falling to the Tigers 21-14, who survived a frantic last minute rally by the Pioneers that looked to be sending the game into overtime.
The Tigers had a chance to put the game out of reach hand had the ball on the Pioneers’ 14-yard line with a 2nd-and-6 with a little more than two and a half minutes to go in the game, but Lynnfield’s defense forced a turnover on downs, giving the ball back to the Pioneers at their 14-yard line with 2:33 to go.
With no timeouts left, Lynnfield quarterback Clayton Marengi marched his team all the way to the Tigers’ 3, only to be denied by the Tigers’ defense, which dropped running back Anthony Floramo, Jr. for a 2-yard loss back to the 5, then picked off Marengi in the end zone with only 8.1 seconds to go in the game.
The Pioneers converted on 3rd down once and twice on 4th downs on the drive on Marengi completions to Matt Fiore (20 yards on 3rd-and- 10 at the Pioneer 36) and Jack Ford (16-yards on 4th-and-13 at the Pioneer 47, 9-yard catch at the Ipswich 21 on 4th-and-3).
“When we got to 1st-and-goal at their 3, we sent in a 2-play combo that called for a run on the first play, then a pass on the next one,” said Lynnfield coach Pat Lamusta, “We had established the run and thought we could pound it in from there and then also have a second chance with a pass if we didn’t get it in, but in the end it just came down to a couple of plays that we needed to make but didn’t. Overall our defense played well as a team defending their veer option, and offensively we showed a lot of resiliency and skills on the last 2-minute drive.”
Floramo had a monster day, picking up 135 rushing yards on 20 carries with two touchdowns, while Marengi was 9-of-16 for 132 yards with two interceptions Ford caught five passes for 75 yards.
“It’s been 12 years I think since we won in Lynnfield, so it was a good win,” Ipswich coach Kevin Fessette said. “Hats off to Lynnfield, their record doesn’t show the kind of team they have, they played hard and have good coaching, and we were lucky to get out of here with a win.”
After the defense forced a turnover on downs on the Tigers’ first drive, Lynnfield drove 60 yards in six plays, capped by a great individual effort from Floramo, who scored from 11 yards out, dragging a gaggle of would-be tacklers into the end zone. Blake Peters tacked on the extra point to give Lynnfield an early 7-0 lead.
Ipswich came back with two scores, the first on a 12-yard run by Cam Jones in the third quarter, and the second on a 4-yard scamper by Chase Huntley with a little under two minutes left in the half. Domenic Della Valte converted both both extra points to make it a 14-7 Tigers’ advantage with two minutes to go in the half.
The Tigers got the ball back with 44 seconds after Lynnfield failed to convert on fourth down at the Ipswich 29, but the Tigers drove all the way to the Pioneers 5 with 5.7 second to go in the half, but their field goal attempt was blocked.
Lynnfield tied the game at 14 on its first drive of the third quarter on a 6-yard plunge by Floramoro (Peters PAT). A big play on the drive was a 10-yard completion from Marengi to Ford to convert a 4th-and-9 at the Ipswich 23.
Ipswich took the lead for good on the next drive with Cam James carrying it in from 13 yards out on the first play of the fourth quarter.
The Pioneers close out the regular season next Saturday at Hamilton-Wenham (1).