LYNN — Lynn English’s fourth-year coach Chris Carroll knows a thing or two about beating crosstown rival Lynn Classical.
A four-year starter and star quarterback for the Bulldogs, he was a key member of the last English class (2005) to pull off a sweep of Classical on Thanksgiving.
After watching Matt Severance, his four-year starter at quarterback and free safety, lead English to a third straight win, 12-0, on a frigid morning at Manning Field, Carroll addressed his team.
“You do whatever it takes to win on Thanksgiving,” Carroll said.
Indeed. Due to the conditions, English abandoned its spread attack and went to a double-wing formation most of the game.
Severance (18 rushes, 74 yards, one TD) and senior running back Miguel Ramos (27 rushes, 88 yards) led a trio of lengthy drives, as English (8-3) dominated possession in the 105th installment of the rivalry.
“Throughout the year we’ve adjusted as need be,” Carroll said. “We started as a high-flying offense, but we took what [Classical] gave us, played a different style of football, and controlled the clock. How do you contain a good offense? Don’t let them on the field.”
Sophomore Anthony Timmons recovered two first-half fumbles, including one for a touchdown after classmate Fenix Figueroa Marquez stripped Classical quarterback Keith Ridley in the end zone.
Then Severance led a 15-play, 61-yard scoring drive, taking 6:45 off the clock before powering in for a 3-yard score to make it 12-0 English.
Ridley responded by leading his team down to the 5-yard line, but Timmons recovered another Classical fumble shortly before halftime.
While they didn’t score in the second half, Lynn English took control with a massive 19-play, 57-yard drive that took nearly 11 minutes off the clock, leaving Classical desperate and in poor field position at their 5-yard line.
Strong play from the English offensive line, made up of two freshmen (Greg Gomez, Nolan Mulcahy), juniors Tommy Gaylord and Yamil Gutierrez, and senior Alex Brenes, allowed the Bulldogs to compile 13 first downs.
“Those guys are savages,” Severance said of his line. “I couldn’t have asked to play [all four years] with a better group of guys.”
With more than 4,000 passing yards in his career, Severance surpassed Carroll as the all-time program leader earlier this season.
Like his coach and mentor, Severance has been just as valuable on defense, and fittingly bookended his final performance with a game-sealing interception in the fourth quarter.
“It’s bittersweet, because [Severance] is gone, but what a way to send him off,” Carroll said.
“You talk about following in my footsteps and there are a lot of similarities, I understand that, but he’s carved his own legacy here at Lynn English. That legacy is cemented as a gamer, someone who plays his best ball on Thanksgiving, and that’s a good thing to walk away with.”
More photos from the game:Nate Weitzer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.