METHUEN — After a great start, Methuen was suddenly backed against a wall in the fourth quarter of Friday night’s home opener against Marshfield.
The visiting Rams had scored 18 unanswered points to take a 24-21 lead, but senior quarterback Drew Eason and his brother, Shane, a junior, led a 60-yard scoring drive to regain the lead in the final minutes, and the Ranger defense denied Marshfield deep in their own territory to preserve a 27-24 victory.
“All we needed tonight was a win against a quality opponent,” said Methuen coach Tom Ryan. “I would like to have played better. The kids played with Methuen toughness. Not smart. But they played tough. Now we just have to fix the execution.”
Methuen (1-1) dominated the first quarter and took a 21-6 lead into halftime behind strong play from Drew Eason, who missed all of training camp with mononucleosis and was barely cleared in time for the Rangers’ opening loss at Lincoln-Sudbury.
Eason (22 of 32, 300 passing yards, 4 touchdowns) hit junior Adrian Blake (5 receptions, 75 yards) for two touchdowns in the first half, and found Shane Eason (7 receptions, 144 yards) for a 57-yard scoring strike in the second quarter.
“Last week the timing was a little off,” said the elder Eason. “I wasn’t really in rhythm and this week I felt a lot more comfortable.”
Marshfield (1-1) turned to a hyper-speed offense to break through, and eventually tied the game, 21-21, when junior quarterback Tor Maas found Reid Bergamesca for a 22-yard score and hit Brady Crowley for a two-point conversion midway through the fourth quarter.
The Rams took a 24-21 lead with 3:29 to play when Thomas Kelly connected on a 23-yard field goal.
Shane Eason moved all over the formation all night and played wide receiver on the final scoring drive, which he capped with a 12-yard touchdown reception with 1:27 remaining.
Marshfield drove to the Methuen 5-yard line, but ran out of timeouts and was unable to spike the ball in time to attempt a field goal.
“It was just like last year,” said Ryan, referring to Marshfield’s comeback bid in a 38-28 Methuen win. “But this team will do that to you. We played excellent defense in the first half, but in the second half, we hung on. It got a little dicey at the end, but a win is a win.”