LYNN — Chants of “three-peat” echoed through the cold November air as another Greater New Bedford football season ended with hardware.
The Bears claimed their third consecutive Large School Vocational title Thursday night by downing Greater Lawrence, 26-6, at Manning Field.
This year’s championship was a rematch from last year, which Greater New Bedford won, 17-14.
“This is our last season for us seniors, and it feels the best to just end on such a good note,” said Bears back Cory Ponte.
Greater New Bedford (6-6) wasted little time in jumping to a 7-0 lead. On the game’s opening series, the Bears traveled 74 yards on 11 plays, and finished it when senior back Trevor Mena (13 carries, 79 yards, 2 touchdowns) went18 yards on a counter trap run.
“We haven’t scored a touchdown on that play all year long,” said Bears coach Chuck Allaire. “It’s been our worst offensive play. Today, we just popped it.”
The Reggies (8-4) turned the ball over on downs on the ensuing series when back Cristian Rivera (18 carries, 76 yards, touchdown) lost his footing on a fourth-down run, surrendering the ball at the Greater Lawrence 43. Following a holding penalty, a 40-yard pass from quarterback Tyler Sylvia to Mena set up a 7-yard touchdown run by Ponte (19 carries, 105 yards, 2 touchdowns).
“The offensive line was blocking extremely well tonight,” Ponte said. “They came to play, they wanted to win, and I know that for a fact. Every single one of my brothers wanted to win tonight.”
Greater Lawrence scored its only points on the next series, which exclusively featured six Rivera runs. The senior busted up the middle for a 22-yard TD to make it 14-6 with 9:18 remaining in the second stanza.
Defense told the story of the second half as the Bears forced two turnovers and stopped three fourth-down tries. On the second snap of the third quarter, Greater New Bedford’s Nicholas Richard intercepted a pass at the Reggies’ 36. Five plays later, Ponte plunged in from 2 yards for a 20-6 lead.
Mena put the finishing touches on the victory when he scampered home from 5 yards with 1:37 to play.
“We came out ready to play, it’s as simple as that,” Mena said. “Our line did the job, our backs filled it in.”