BEDFORD — The bad news for the Newburyport football team last night was that the Clippers dropped their first ever Div. 4 North playoff to an impressive Bedford squad, 20-7.
The upside? The new MIAA playoffs are not “one-and-done” and the Clippers will now play the loser of today’s Lynnfield-Stoneham contest.
“I tried to tell our guys that by us getting into that playoff bracket that we have two more games against quality opponents,” said Newburyport coach Ed Gaudiano. “It’s not like we’re in the non-playoff round. In the next two weeks we’re going to get two real good teams.”
Unfortunately for the Clippers, they also saw a real good team last night. Bedford tailback Olan Abner rushed for 148 yards and a score on 28 carries and a lightning quick Bedford defense gave the Clippers very little wiggle room on offense.
Facing a prolific Bedford defense which had surrendered less than 40 points all season long, Newburyport finally got on the scoreboard with 3:43 left to play in the contest. Senior Trevor Bradbury (18 rushes, 82 yards), who had a terrific two-way game for the Clippers before leaving with a shoulder injury late, scored from 1-yard out to cap a seven-play 55-yard drive.
The Clippers’ Dillon Guthro would pounce on the ensuing onside kick, but the Clippers could not convert on downs and Abner and the Buccaneers ran out the clock.
“We knew that they were very fast and very aggressive,” said Gaudiano of the Buccaneers’ tenacious defensive unit. “I thought we were doing some things there that would have countered that, but ultimately we would get things going and then we would shoot ourselves in the foot.”
Suffice it to say, the Clippers put two big bullets in their cleats in the first half.
First, a promising seven-play drive was halted by a fumble at the Bedford 41. Four plays later, the unrelenting Abner rumbled 30 yards around left end for the game’s first score.