MELROSE — In front of a packed house at Melrose High, the Red Raiders gave their faithful fans and student body a game to remember on Homecoming weekend.
The backfield duo of senior Rey Guity and junior Isaac Seide combined for five touchdowns as Melrose defeated Middlesex Freedom rival Stoneham, 44-38, in overtime on Friday night.
“Our kids played their hearts out for four quarters and then some,” said Melrose coach Tim Morris. “They didn’t panic and just kept playing.”
Trailing by 6 after Seide took the opening play of overtime in for a touchdown, Stoneham (4-1) was faced with a fourth and goal from the 6-yard line. A screen pass from senior Jack McCabe found senior Tre Pignone wide open — leaving the running back, who already had three touchdowns, with only one man to beat: Melrose senior captain Colin Kiernan. Kiernan stopped Pignone at the 3-yard line.
Melrose (5-0) battled adversity the entire night and never gave in. After Pignone gave the Spartans the lead early in the fourth quarter, Seide answered with a 21-yard run and a 2-point conversion to tie it at 30. Pignone again scored to give Stoneham the lead with 2:18 to play, but again, Melrose answered. A 3-yard touchdown run by Guity and another Seide 2-point conversion tied it with just over a minute left.
“The fullbacks did a great job blocking for those guys,” said Morris. “Having that 1-2 punch with them is very nice, and to be able to rest one of them as well.”
A missed 38-yard field goal by Melrose junior Kemar Bynoe as time expired sent the game into overtime.
From the start, Stoneham looked to control the tempo. A 12-play opening drive taking almost eight minutes off the clock was capped by Pignone’s 1-yard touchdown. The 8-point advantage was short-lived as Guity returned the ensuing kickoff 90 yards to the house. A missed extra point left it 8-6.
Stoneham jumped in front by two scores on a 56-yard touchdown pass from McCabe to Pignone, and then a 45-yard interception return for a score by sophomore Seth Russell.
Trailing, 22-6, the Red Raiders needed a spark and for the second time, it came on the legs of a return man. Seide’s 54-yard return gave Melrose the ball inside the red zone. Three plays later senior Jack Sullivan found classmate Jack Whitley in the back of the end zone from 6 yards out.
Melrose got the ball right before the half on a fumble and capitalized. A 4-yard touchdown run by the 5-foot-11-inch Guity tied the game at 22 heading into halftime.Karl Capen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.