GROTON -- Groton-Dunstable desperately tried to find an answer to the highly touted Quabbin passing attack, but time ran out as they fell, 49-28, Friday night in Groton. Quabbin quarterback Dylan Kierman was 9-of-14 for 322 yards and six touchdowns.
"It's hard," Groton-Dunstable head coach Derek Asadoorian said about defending Kierman. "We have a lot of guys who are missing. We are just trying to protect our guys by having extra guys over the top. We have a lot of inexperienced linebackers and we just couldn't match-up with them. We hung with them for a little bit, but we just didn't have enough."
Quabbin drew first blood on its second play from scrimmage via a 65-yard TD post pass down the right sideline from Kierman to his tight end Sebastien Brooks. Kierman hit Brooks at the 50-yard line before he switched on the afterburners. The Panthers converted on the extra point to take a 7-0 lead 52 seconds into the game.
After the quick Quabbin touchdown, it was Groton-Dunstable's turn to answer -- and they did.
Nick Thyden punched it in for the Panthers on the ensuing drive from 11-yards out off tackle to make it 14-7 as the first quarter came to a close.
Evan Lexo has improved his skills throughout the season, and he had his breakout party on Friday night. On the third play of the drive, Lexo took a sweep off left tackle and galloped down the sidelines for 53-yard TD. Eric Yanchenko tacked on the extra-point with 9:45 left in the first quarter.
Quabbin learned a valuable lesson on the kickoff: don't kick to Lexo. Lexo faked the reverse and secured the ball before hammering the throttle down for an electrifying 95-yard TD return. Yanchencko's extra-point snuck through the uprights to tie it all up at 14-14.
"He is starting to understand his job," Asadoorian said of Lexo. "He is starting to learn how to maximize his talent with his speed. He is coming along."
Kiernan and the Panthers put up 36 points in the first half to take a 36-21 lead into halftime. Kiernan slung a couple more TD passes to Thyden and Nick Cappolino before calling it a night with 6 TD's.
Groton-Dunstable scored its final touchdown of the evening on a six-yard steamroller of a carry by Shane Dawson with 6:47 remaining in the game.
Tristan Lynch led the Crusaders on the ground with 17-carries for 110-yards and 1 TD.
"Tristan gave me a great effort tonight," he said. "I know about his heart and desire. He has been a great player for us all year. He has been a leader and has shown a tremendous effort for us."
Lexo's 95-yard TD return is the longest touchdown of the season for the Crusaders, who drop to 4-5 with the loss.
Groton-Dunstbale sophomore quarterback Cory Romich finished the night 2-of-6 for 31-yards and an INT.
"They have been scoring those kind of points all year," Asadoorian said of Quabbin. "We tried to slow the game down by grinding out the run game. We were doing that for a time, but when you can't stop them, it doesn't matter much."