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WAKEFIELD — Northeast Metro Tech’s running game was too much for the Tech football team in Saturday’s regular-season finale.
The host Knights scored all six of their touchdowns on the ground en route to a 40-6 win at Breakheart Stadium. Playing a Division 6 team marked the Tigers’ (5-2) final challenge before the playoffs begin next week, but penalties did not help the cause and led to a pair of first-quarter touchdowns against coach James Runner’s team.
“Northeast (2-5) is a tough football team,” Runner said. “They’ve scored points on just about every team this year, and Coach (Don) Heres is very familiar with our team, but I do think a couple flags in the first and second quarters were unrealistic.
“Overall, though, we know we have a good road ahead of us. We’re still going to be a No. 1 seed and we’ll remind every single team we play against from here on out who we are.”
Northeast took a 21-0 lead into halftime, but the Tigers gained some momentum entering the intermission and scored their only points at the beginning of the third quarter.
After a turnover on downs ended Tech’s first of two second-quarter series, Carlos Mateo picked off Knight quarterback Owen Halley’s attempted deep pass. Despite Luis Pineiro’s 31-yard pass to Mateo, the Tigers weren’t able to turn the turnover into points before the half.
Tech’s touchdown came nine plays from scrimmage into the second half. Facing fourth down on the 5-yard line, Pineiro found Miguel Soto in the back corner of the end zone for the score.
“It was good that we came out in the third quarter and got the ball moving,” Runner said. “We wanted to show that we weren’t going to be shut out by anybody. We didn’t make any adjustments and we ran the exact same plays we ran in the beginning. I just think it was different based on effort and finishing off the play.”
Israel Lainez found the end zone in each of the first three quarters for Northeast, including a 5-yard run on the game’s opening series. A personal foul call followed Halley’s third pass completion of the day and set up the senior’s 2-yard score on a quarterback keeper, giving the Knights a 13-0 lead that proved to be more than enough.
In the second, Lainez added a 3-yard touchdown before Halley connected with Jamie Helfer for a 2-point conversion.
Northeast responded to Tech’s score in three plays as Lainez scored from eight yards out. Marco Coco then kicked one of his two extra points. Treva Hughes and Eli Etinne scored for the hosts in the final frame.
“I thought those guys were tough on the offensive and defensive lines and sustained the ball like they wanted to,” Runner said. “We faced a spread team last week (Georgetown) and a power team this week, so you’re going to go against different facets of games and that’s understandable.”
Tech drew the top seed in the Division 8 North state tournament. The Tigers will host No. 8 Matignon Friday night (6) at Manning Field.