(written, shot, edited and narrated for Somerville and Sudbury Patch)
Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School junior running back Brian Carroll rushed for 142 yards and a touchdown and added two defensive touchdowns Friday night to help the Warriors beat the Somerville Highlanders, 27-13, in a rainy Highlander home opener at Dilboy Stadium. Fellow junior running back Christopher Giorgio also scored a rushing touchdown for the Warriors.
Lincoln-Sudbury set the tone on the first play of their first possession after their defense forced a Somerville punt. Carroll went in motion in the backfield behind the 35, took the handoff from quarterback Matthew Cahill, sprinted to his right and cut back up-field. Somerville almost tackled Carroll near midfield, but Carroll cut hard to his left, eluding the last of the Highlander secondary and sprinting all 65 yards to a touchdown and a 7-0 Warrior lead.
Only an interception by Highlander sophomore James Marin on the next Warrior drive kept the deficit to one possession, but the Highlander offense struggled to establish any sustained rhythm. Junior Troy Martini rarely gained more than 2 yards per carry on the ground, and the rain-slick ball hampered quarterback Phoenix Huertas and his throwing game.
Following another punt, the Warriors went back to work on the ground. This time it was Giorgio carrying the load, first on a 24-yard rush along the near sideline to the Highlander 18, then on an 8-yard rush up the middle and into the end zone to go up 14-0.
“Chris is more of an inside person, Brian runs better outside,” Lincoln-Sudbury coach Tom Lopez said. “But they both can do both. Neither one is one-dimensional. They’re both very, very good players.”
The Highlanders still refused to abandon their passing game.
“We’re young, we’re young up front,” said Somerville coach Harry Marchetti. “We’re not going to handle lines that are big and strong like that, so we have to throw the ball.”
After Devon Hairston’s kickoff return started the Highlanders inside the Warrior 40-yard line, Huertas found senior Zachary Sciuto for a 16-yard touchdown pass to get the Highlanders on the board in the second quarter.
On a subsequent first-half drive, however, Giorgio tipped a ball near the Somerville 40, and Carroll pulled down the interception, returning it all the way to the end zone for his second touchdown of the game and a 20-6 lead.
These two sequences highlighted an inconsistent night for Huertas – one composed of big plays and equally big mistakes. He made big plays on one drive in the fourth, connecting with senior Kristopher Taylor for 47 yards and then throwing an 11-yard floater just beyond Lincoln-Sudbury’s reach and into the arms of senior Carlven Gervais in the end zone to cut the deficit to 20-13.
But Huertas also gave up two interceptions in the fourth. His first hurt Somerville’s momentum after Giorgio’s fumble had given the offense the ball with a chance to tie. His second killed any chance of a comeback when Carroll intercepted him in Highlander territory and returned it for Carroll’s second pick-six and a 27-13 lead late in the game.
Huertas finished the game with 120 passing yards and two touchdowns – far more than Cahill – but also four interceptions.
“He’s young,” Marchetti said. “He made a couple of mistakes, a couple of big mistakes that cost us, but he’s learning. He gets the ball there. We didn’t give him an opportunity.”
With the win, Lincoln-Sudbury improved to 3-0. Somerville fell to 0-3.