MELROSE — One word has been on the minds of the Lincoln-Sudbury football team since last December: redemption.
And one other word can easily define the No. 3 Warriors’ performance Friday night against Melrose: domination.
Last year’s Division 2 state finalist Lincoln-Sudbury (2-0) kept its journey back to Gillette Stadium on track as it defeated the defending Division 4 state champion, 35-13.
“We have taken pride in being great up front,” said senior quarterback Braden O’Connell. “This is one of the best defensive lines in the state. It gives us the confidence going forward that we can really roll with anybody.”
A 13-play, 54-yard opening drive by the Warriors that took nearly eight minutes off the clock dictated the type of night it would be for coach Tom Lopez and his squad.
O’Connell’s 12-yard run on fourth down kept the drive alive, and senior James Dillon finished it by powering his way across the goal line from a yard out for the first of his two touchdowns.
Lincoln-Sudbury went on to score on its first play of its next two possessions on an O’Connell 64-yard scamper and a 60-yard sprint by senior Kyle Smith.
An interception by senior Milind Lele set up Dillon’s second rushing touchdown to make it 28-0.
Melrose (1-1) accumulated just 12 yards of offense in the first half — moving the sticks for a first down just once.
“I was very happy with the way the defense played,” said Lopez. “Springfield only had one [first down] in three quarters last week. Teams are going to have a hard time running with us.”
Not much changed offensively for the Red Raiders in the second half against a much bigger L-S front, but senior Kevin Peete’s 75-yard punt return early in the fourth prevented the shutout. Sophomore Jake Rowe’s 2-yard run on Melrose’s ensuing possession made it 35-13.
Lincoln-Sudbury, which gained 266 yards on the ground, got its second-half touchdown on Lele’s 40-yard run, a series set up by Cal Kenney’s blocked punt.Karl Capen can be reached at email@example.com.