ANDOVER — Shawsheen’s senior trio of Michael O’Hearn, Devonn Pratt, and Paul DePlacido was too much for Greater Lawrence to handle in the Rams’ 35-20 victory Saturday in a Commonwealth Large matchup at The Louis E. Gleason Coliseum.
“They are a pleasure to coach,” said Rams coach Al Costabile. “Mike is cool under pressure. Paul is huge for us on the ground, tough kid, tough runner. Devonn is clearly a playmaker.”
Pratt’s playmaking ability was on display for the Rams’ first score after O’Hearn and the offense shook off a sloppy opening possession to direct three consecutive touchdown drives.
Set up at the 50, after a good kickoff return from DePlacido, O’Hearn threw deep up the right sideline, where Pratt came down with it in tight coverage.
“We wanted to open it up a little bit more this week,” said Pratt, who is second in EMass scoring with 137 points. “It was a small hole, but O’Hearn found it and put it in the perfect spot.”
It was DePlacido’s turn to show off and he did on the first play of the next drive. The Rams set up at the Greater Lawrence 34 after pinning the Reggies inside the 10 and forcing a punt.
DePlacido took a handoff, shook off a defender on the right hash, and dashed up the sideline. Just before crossing the goal line, the senior tailback stiff-armed a would-be tackler to the ground, plunging in for his first score.
“I give most of the credit for our offense to Paul,“ said O’Hearn, who finished 4 for 10 passing for 141 yards and two touchdowns. “He does it all. Runs, catches and even throws.”
DePlacido, who had 134 yards on 18 carries, wasn’t done just yet. On a 44-yard halfback pass, DePlacido found Devin Summiel who was tackled inside the red zone. One play later, DePlacido rumbled in from 8 yards out to push the score to 21-8 after one quarter.
“They hit us early with a halfback pass,” said Costabile about Greater Lawrence running back Cristian Rivera’s 50-yard touchdown pass to Jake Barcard for the first score. “Cristian is a talented kid. He does a lot for them, big strong back, but we hung in there and made one ourselves.”
The Reggies made it interesting when Marcos Ortiz took a quarterback draw 69 yards to cut the lead to 7. But Greater Lawrence would never be within single digits again after O’Hearn and Pratt combined again for a 42-yard score later in the quarter.
“They play both sides of the ball,” said O’Hearn of his fellow captains DePlacido, who accounted for the Rams’ lone touchdown of the second half, and Pratt, who also had two interceptions. “They deserve the credit. I just throw it to the open guy, or hand the ball off.”
Shawsheen (6-1, 2-0) sits atop the division as Greater Lawrence (5-2, 1-1) may have seen its chance at a division title slip away. Each team has two conference games left to play.