WESTFORD -- Senior Justis Wallace caught two touchdown passes from junior quarterback Zak Walker, and senior linebacker Mike Montaya led an outstanding Ayer-Shirley defense as the Panthers defeated Nashoba Tech, 22-8, on Friday night, giving Jay Rivers his first career head coaching victory.

Rivers, an assistant coach at Dracut the past several seasons, was hired in May to succeed Jamie Lamoreaux as head coach at Ayer, where Rivers played from 1986-88.

"The kids played tough all night. I'm very proud of them," said Rivers. "It felt great to get that first win as a head coach."

Ayer-Shirley and Nashoba Tech are both 1-2.

Zak Walker completed 19 of 26 passes for 246 yards in the victory, including his third and fourth touchdown passes of the season.

Three of those touchdown passes have gone to Wallace, whose scoring catches of 7 and 9 yards put Ayer-Shirley up 15-0 in the second quarter on Friday.

Junior tight end Ryan Richard had 9 receptions for 126 yards on Friday.

"Offensively we moved the ball, but didn't finish some drives as well as we'd like to," said Rivers. "The defense rebounded well from last week (a 44-34 loss to Assabet Valley) and had a great effort."

The Panthers' defense even produced a touchdown when sophomore defensive back Alex Walker recovered a fumble and ran 22 yards to make it 22-8 in the fourth quarter.

Nashoba Tech's touchdown was a 1-yard run by C.J. Dumais in the third quarter. Dumais then caught a two-point pass from Ben Hoenshell, cutting Ayer-Shirley's lead to 15-8.


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