Senators stumble in 20-19 loss to Ludlow

LUDLOW — The Mahar Regional football team saw their already slim chance at a postseason berth vanish Friday night as the Senators traveled to Ludlow High School and came out on the wrong end of a hard-fought 20-19 Intercounty League contest.

The Senators (6-2, 5-2 IL) took a 13-7 lead into halftime, but the beginning of the third quarter proved to be a nightmare for Mahar when Ludlow’s Nick Godbout took the bouncing second-half kickoff at the Lions 22 yard-line and took it down the right sideline for a touchdown. After Ludlow put the extra point through, it was 14-13 Lions with just 17 seconds having run off the clock.

The Lions then took advantage of the shocked Senators by attempting an onside kick, which the Lions’ Ethan Freniere dived on at the Senators’ 46, and the Lions offense was in business with great field position. The Mahar defense came up huge, forcing a turnover on downs when they pressured Ludlow quarterback Dan Rodrigues into an incompletion on fourth-and-two from the 38. The teams would trade scoreless possessions before the Senators would strike back with a big play of their own. With 4:30 remaining in the third, Mahar started at its own 10 after a monster punt by Rodrigues. On first-and-10, quarterback Austin Leary handed the ball to senior back Clay Richardson, who swept to the left and barreled his way through the line, going 90 yards down the sideline for the huge score. Mahar would go for two to attempt to gain a seven point advantage, but Leary’s pass fell short, and it was 19-14 with 4:17 remaining in the frame.

The Lions then went on their most sustained drive of the game, a 13-play, 65-yard possession that saw Rodrigues go six for eight for 45 yards through the air, ending with a 10-yard touchdown strike to Godbout, who scored all three touchdowns on the night for the Lions. Ludlow’s two-pointer would fail, and it was 20-19 Lions with 7:28 left in the fourth.

That would be the final as the Senators had only two more possessions, the first ending on a punt and the second on a turnover on downs when they faced a fourth-and-20 from their own 27. Leary threw a desperation pass down the left sidelines that was batted down, and all that was left for Ludlow (4-4, 4-3 IL) was to run out the clock with just over a minute remaining. After gaining one first down which saw the Senators run out of time outs, Rodrigues twice took a knee and the final gun sounded.

The night started out very promising for Mahar, which after a defensively dominated first quarter, took a 7-0 lead on the first play of the second. On a third-and-three from its own 44, Leary handed the ball to Riley Gervais, who blasted through the line and took the rock 56 yards to the end zone. The extra point would put the Senators up 7-0 with 9:41 left in the first half.

Rodrigues would then lead the Lions downfield, going five for six in the passing game for 58 of those yards, culminating with a 22-yard touchdown pass to Godbout that knotted the game at 7 after the extra point.

Mahar would answer right back with a 65-yard drive of its own in which Leary went three for three with 35 yards through the air, and ended with a little trickery. On a first-and ten from the Lions 12, the Senators lined up Malik Adams at quarterback, who took a step to his right and barreled through defenders into the end zone. Unfortunately for the Senators, the point after try would go wide right, and the lead was just six going into the half, and one point would be the difference when all was said and done. 

Athol Daily News

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