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King Philip storms to a nonleague win at Marblehead by riding its ‘Thunder and Lightning’ junior running backs

MARBLEHEAD — Fourth-ranked King Philip rode its “Thunder and Lightning” running back tandem of juniors Aiden Astorino and Drew Laplante to an impressive nonleague win, 34-6, over host Marblehead on Thursday night.

The thunderous Astorino plowed between the tackles for 133 rushing yards and two touchdowns, while the lightning-quick Laplante provided speed on the edges, adding 110 yards and a touchdown for the Warriors (2-0).

“We were just thinking about pounding the ball all week,” said Astorino. “I’m the power, Drew’s the speed guy. He breaks the outside runs and I work on the inside. We compliment each other well.”


Astorino ran for 45 yards on the second possession of the game, capping a methodical 11-play drive by breaking through two tacklers for a 4-yard touchdown run up the middle. The Warriors went back to the 6-foot-1, 225-pounder on the ensuing drive and Astorino punctuated the sequence with a 6-yard scamper for a 13-0 lead.

“We have nice backs, so we wanted to establish the ground game,” said King Philip coach Brian Lee. “It’s nice and the tandem is just starting off.”

Holding a 20-6 lead in the third quarter, the duo continued to dominate. Astorino ripped off a 40-yard run down the right hash. Laplante replaced him, took an inside handoff, and evaded the defense for a 5-yard touchdown run and a commanding 27-6 lead.

But KP’s offense was far from one dimensional. Quarterback Tommy McLeish (122 yards) tossed a pair of touchdowns to receiver Mason Campbell, a byproduct of an impressive Warriors ground attack that rolled up 270 rushing yards.

“I have to give a big shutout to Aiden,” said Laplante. “He gets everyone fired up and then I’ll go back in. It really is ‘Thunder and Lightning.’”

The Warriors’ defense forced three turnovers, including a pair of interceptions in their own end when the Magicians (2-0) were trying to mount a comeback. Marblehead quarterback Colt Wales threw for 250 yards, highlighted by a 73-yard touchdown pass over the middle to Crew Monaco in the second quarter.