NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Sports

October 2, 2013

Military men on the gridiron

Wright, Lawler play key roles for Mass Maritime football

They say, once a Clipper, always a Clipper, and two Newburyport childhood friends, Jonnie Wright and Tim Lawler, are proving that adage at Massachusetts Maritime these days, helping the Buccaneers to a 2-1 season so far.

“He’s probably the first guy to pick me up when I score,” Wright said of Lawler. “And with him, he really picks me up.”

Graduates of the NHS Class of 2011, Wright, a wide receiver, and Lawler, a left tackle, have been friends since preschool and have played together since youth football, culminating in their 6-3 senior season on the Clippers’ 2010 varsity squad.

When that school year ended, Lawler figured they would end up going their separate ways.

“I didn’t know that Jonnie was the Mass Maritime type,” Lawler said of Wright. “I didn’t even know he was looking at the school.”

Indeed Wright was, and has done very well for himself, playing wide receiver for the Bucs since his freshman year when he had 20 catches for 300 yards and three touchdowns in the last five games of the season.

Wright then racked up 25 catches for 500 yards and four touchdowns in his sophomore year, and is currently sitting on seven catches for 150 yards and two touchdowns three games into the current season. The Bucs boast the second leading offense in NCAA Division 3, averaging 549 yards a game.

“This year, we’ve got great skills,” said the 6-foot-2, 180-pound Wright. “We run a very fast-paced offense. So we rotate pretty easily in a 2-1 series. We’ve got unbelievable skills all the way around. Our backup quarterback (Johnny “Red Zone” Trudel) has probably got 13 touchdowns this season.”

And while Wright is racking up all those points, his friend is hopefully as far away from him as possible, protecting the QB.

“No glory, just getting the job done,” Lawler said of playing left tackle. “If you do it right, you get no recognition. If you do it wrong, you’re going to hear from everybody.”

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