SUDBURY — While most were still sleeping Thursday morning, dreaming of the mashed potatoes, stuffing, and turkey they would be gnawing on later in the afternoon, Tom Lopez was hard at work, clearing off the Lincoln-Sudbury football field.
He would not allow the previous day’s snowstorm to affect his Thanksgiving Day tradition, so the 37-year coach arrived at 5:30 a.m. in an attempt to clear off the turf.
“It wasn’t good, but at least we made it playable,” said Lopez, who got some help as the morning progressed.
The Warriors responded to the dedication of their longtime coach with a 41-21 rout of rival Newton South for their 10th straight Turkey Day victory.
On the first play from scrimmage, senior back Otto Zaccardo ran 51 yards up the sideline for a quick score.
The Lions then botched their first snap of the game and Tom Novick recovered for L-S, setting up his squad 19 yards from paydirt.
Three plays later, senior Jack Hubley powered his way into the end zone from 10 yards and L-S was up, 14-0, a minute and a half into the game.
The sloppy turf helped the Warriors’ run-heavy style of play, but Newton South coach Ted Dalicandro said they “knew it was coming.”
“L-S just came out fired up, ready to go. They got ahead by 14 right off the bat and we just dug ourselves too big of a hole,” he said.
And the Warriors didn’t stop there, as Zaccardo and Hubley added one more score apiece before the end of the first quarter. They led, 34-0, at the half.
“We were so excited to play in the snow, I loved it,” said Zaccardo, who finished with 200 yards on the ground and three TDs on nine carries. Hubley, his fellow cocaptain, added 96 rushing yards and three TDs.
“We hadn’t had a running game like that in over a month. We had some tough games running the ball the last few weeks, but I honestly think [the snow] helped us.”
For Newton’s sophomore quarterback Austin Burton, the field conditions provided more of a hindrance. He entered the game with 36 touchdowns and more than 3,000 yards passing, but the Warriors held him to 106 yards and a touchdown through three quarters.
“I think the snow basically helped us more than it helped them in terms of limiting what they could do offensively,” said Lopez.
“Especially Burton scrambling. . . . he basically had to stay in the pocket and once he was in the pocket we could just go after him.”
Burton finished 19 for 36 with 264 yards and three touchdowns, completing two late-game touchdown passes to senior receiver David Berman.
This year’s snow bowl will be one Lincoln-Sudbury will never forget, especially for those playing their last game.
“It’s the last time you play with kids that you’ve been playing with since like third grade, so it’s kind of tough,” said Warrior captain Mike O’Connell, a lineman who will play lacrosse at Merrimack next year. “Emotions are just flying.”