HAMILTON — There’s been one major question surrounding a Hamilton-Wenham football team that graduated such a strong senior class after losing the Division 3A Super Bowl last December.
With only one returning starter on the offensive line, do the Generals have the horses up front to compete for their third straight league title?
They answered the preseason’s biggest question on Saturday, beating Triton, 34-14, by churning out 265 rushing yards in the first three quarters.
“It’s all a learning experience, but it was a great first day. Some of these guys, it’s their first year playing,” said H-W senior captain and right guard Matt Vogus. “It was great to see everyone playing together, working together and moving the ball.”
The visiting Vikings took an early lead when signal caller Bradley Whitman took a QB read-draw 70 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter.
But the Generals settled down and, behind a big push from senior linemen Vogus, Liam Donovan and Nolan Wilson, scored twice before the half to retake the lead. Freshman running back Cam Macri (88 yards) scored from five yards out before senior captain Trevor Lyons connected with sophomore wideout Jimmy Campbell for a 12-yard touchdown.
“The line was able to come out and really do their job. Their gelling will be a huge key for us and what we can do this year,” said H-W head coach Andrew Morency, who also spoke about his squad’s ability to rebound from a sluggish start. “I like the fact that it’s early, but we were able to face a little adversity and lived to tell the tale. We have a couple guys who are new to the football scene, a couple key contributors and they settled in. The veterans brought their ‘A’ game, too.”
Hamilton-Wenham scored three second-half touchdowns during a stretch in which Triton ran only five offensive plays. Lyons got his first score on a 10-yard, fourth down to cap an 11-play, 65-yard drive. Two plays into Triton’s next drive, Christian Ecker came off the edge for a sack and forced a fumble that H-W recovered on the Vikings’ 25. On the very next play, Lyons took a QB keeper to the house and just like that H-W was on top 27-8.
“We were really firing off the ball and playing with a lot of confidence, but as soon as the second half started, they really wore us down,” said Triton head coach Patrick Sheehan. “Our kids definitely battled until the end, but we kind of abandoned some of our technique and responsibilities — and they started to gash us.”
Lyons (177 yards rushing) and Macri were in rhythm throughout the third quarter as both boys excited the home crowd in their respective 2012 debuts. For Macri, it was his first high school action and he looked like more than just a speedy freshman with his ability to fight through tackles for extra yardage. His low center of gravity and lateral quickness give H-W three viable touchdown threats in the backfield, including Lyons and Turpin.
Lyons,who is coming off of shoulder surgery after sustaining an injury in the Super Bowl, appears determined to up his yards after contact. One time on a keeper to his left, he stiff-armed a Vikings linebacker, then a defensive back just to get to the edge. Once he got there, Lyons danced his way down the sideline for a 20-yard gain. His highlight reel on the day also included a 41-yard run in which Lyons leaped over the Triton safety, kept his balance and continued another 20 yards.
“Coming into the year we were looking at kind of a one-horse show with Trev,” explained Vogus, who had a sack at outside linebacker. “But having (guys like) Macri and Turpin step up is great. Trev can’t run the ball every play, you know?”