BILLERICA — The Micheal O’Hearn-to-Devonn Pratt connection was just one of a multitude of factors Shawsheen relied on in a 34-28 overtime win over North Shore at Cassidy Field on Saturday.
Shawsheen improved to 5-1, heading into next week’s Commonwealth Large showdown with Greater Lawrence (5-1). North Shore fell to 4-2.
“North Shore came in here ready to play some football,” said Rams coach Al Costabile. “Things didn’t really go our way for a while there, but we hung in and all that matters is whether you win or not.”
A wild final two minutes led both teams into overtime. Down, 21-20, with less than two minutes remaining, the Bulldogs were able to capitalize on a Shawsheen mistake.
As North Shore quarterback Timothy Andersen dropped back and released a pass to Yordany Sanchez from his 22, a Rams defensive back slipped on a loose piece of sod, leaving Sanchez open for an easy catch and a 28-21 lead.
“We had some rough patches,” said Rams tailback and defensive back Paul DePlacido. “We worked through them and everyone did their part.”
It took the Rams all of 30 seconds to respond. With Pratt, who entered as the Eastern Mass. leader in scoring and touchdown receptions, seeing double coverage all game, it was up to another receiver to step up. That was senior Austin Linehan, who benefited from the attention thrown Pratt’s way.
“I just ran a streak,” said Linehan, who scored his first varsity touchdown on the game-knotting 51-yard reception. “I was able to get behind the safety and O’Hearn threw a great pass.”
“He came up huge for us,” said Costabile. “North Shore did a great job with their game plan. They had all eyes on Devonn but we showed that we have guys like Paul [DePlacido], Mike [O’Hearn], and Linehan, who stepped up with his first touchdown.”
On came overtime, and stepping up was the Rams’ defense. After losing the overtime coin flip, the Bulldogs played the opening possession on offense.
The Rams handily shut down North Shore, highlighted by a DePlacido open-field tackle on a would-be scorer on third down.
“What a huge play by Paul,” said Costabile. “It was a possession-changer. Kept them in a long-down situation.”
It didn’t take much time for the Rams to make it final. The handoff went to DePlacido, and he bounced off of two would-be tacklers to plunge into the end zone for the 10-yard game-winner.
“It was our last homecoming game,” said the senior tailback, who ran for 97 of his 122 yards and two touchdowns after halftime. “We entered the huddle in overtime and you can just see it in the seniors’ faces. We were going to get in.”
Shawsheen got into the end zone in the second quarter on a 1-yard run by O’Hearn, who also threw a 57-yard pass to Devin Summiel for a fourth-quarter score. DePlacido’s first touchdown run came from 3 yards out in the third.