by Ed Niser eniser@nashobapub.com

Friday night football "quick hits"-week eight match-ups

Ayer-Shirley and Maynard both clawing for first win in the Mid-Wach D

Ayer-Shirley (1-6, 0-2 Mid-Wach D) @ Maynard (3-4, 0-2 Mid-Wach D) 7 p.m.

One thing is certain about Friday night's meeting between the Ayer-Shirley Panthers and the Maynard Tigers. One of the two teams will come out with their first victory in the Mid-Wach D division. Maynard owns the superior overall record, sitting just below .500 at 3-4. In their last outing the Tigers managed to score just six points, as they fell to Narragansett 12-6 on the road. Last week's playing conditions were brutal for all teams across the board, but the Tigers didn't appear to be phased. Maynard features a run first, pass second type of attack mainly due to their junior running back Sean Peterson. Peterson is averaging an earth-shattering 178 yards per-game. In last week's meeting with the Warriors, Peterson rushed for just 66 yards on 17-carries. Ayer-Shirley fell to undefeated league power-house West Boylston last week 26-6 in near monsoon conditions. The Panthers played strong defensively despite allowing Lions fullback Mike Pace to rush for 174-yards. First-year head coach Jason Rivers was pleased that his defense allowed just 26-points to the Lions. Defenses have allowed over 38-points-per-game to the Lions this season coming into last week's matchup.


Advertisement

Justis Wallace gave the Panthers their lone touchdown just 17-seconds into the quarter when he hauled in a 19-yard touchdown reception, to cut the lead to 14. Ayer has been plagued by the elusive full 44-minutes. The Panthers have showed some bright spots this season, but they have yet to put together a full game. If Ayer-Shirley can limit Peterson's touches in the game, they might have a shot to pull the upset for pride sake.

One thing is certain about Friday night's meeting between the Ayer-Shirley Panthers and the Maynard Tigers. One of the two teams will come out with their first victory in the Mid-Wach D division. Maynard owns the superior overall record, sitting just below .500 at 3-4. In their last outing the Tigers managed to score just six points, as they fell to Narragansett 12-6 on the road. Last week's playing conditions were brutal for all teams across the board, but the Tigers didn't appear to be phased. Maynard features a run first, pass second type of attack mainly due to their junior running back Sean Peterson. Peterson is averaging an earth-shattering 178 yards per-game. In last week's meeting with the Warriors, Peterson rushed for just 66 yards on 17-carries. Ayer-Shirley fell to undefeated league power-house West Boylston last week 26-6 in near monsoon conditions. The Panthers played strong defensively despite allowing Lions fullback Mike Pace to rush for 174-yards. First-year head coach Jason Rivers was pleased that his defense allowed just 26-points to the Lions. Defenses have allowed over 38-points-per-game to the Lions this season coming into last week's matchup. Justis Wallace gave the Panthers their lone touchdown just 17-seconds into the quarter when he hauled in a 19-yard touchdown reception, to cut the lead to 14. Ayer has been plagued by the elusive full 44-minutes. The Panthers have showed some bright spots this season, but they have yet to put together a full game. If Ayer-Shirley can limit Peterson's touches in the game, they might have a shot to pull the upset for pride sake.

Ayer-Shirley:

* Junior wide receiver Justis Wallace hauled in a 28-yard touchdown pass in last Friday's rainy loss to the undefeated West Boylston Lions, upping his season total to six.

* Quarterback Zak Walker is 19-of-26 passing with 246-yards and five touchdowns.

Maynard:

* Watch out for Tigers linebacker no.54, Jack Waterhouse as he is among the leaders in Central Mass. with 54 tackles, 47 of them solo.

* The Tigers are averaging 313 yards-per-game on the ground.

Patriots look to get back to .500 mark

Saint-Peter Marian (3-4, 0-0) @ North Middlesex (3-4, 1-2 Mid-Wach B) 7 p.m.

North Middlesex's offense sputtered against Hudson last week. Hudson controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, not allowing the Patriots to gain any sort of momentum. North Middlesex failed to put points on the board until the final drive of the game. Dylan Woods was on the receiving end of a five-yard strike from quarterback Justin Boutwell with under a minute left in the 27-7 shellacking. Saint Peter Marian is coming off a tough loss to cross-city foe Doherty, 28-20. SPM had their chances down the stretch but the Doherty defense held their own to hand the Guardians their fourth loss of the season. Wide receiver Zack O'Connor hauled in a 33-yard pass in the second quarter from quarterback Jalen Evans-Ashton for the Guardians' first touchdown of the game. The Guardians possess speed on the kick returning team, as Tyis Boynkin ran back kickoff 65-yards for a touchdown in the third quarter of last week's game, but it was not enough to spark the Guardians. Both the Patriots and Guardians are looking to restore their winning ways and get back to .500 tonight. Expect a hard-nosed fight in the trenches from both teams. North Middlesex will be riding the shoulders of their running backs Brandon Lambert and Dylan Woods. Lambert currently is just under 700 yards rushing, well on pace for 1,000 yard season. Look out for the quarterback John Boutwell, and his receiving core to have a strong performance. The weather for tonight's game looks promising for a great showcase of both the run and passing games.

North Middlesex:

* The Patriots are still searching for their first win at John E. Young Memorial Field this season; they are 0-3 in home contests.

* Lambert has accrued 664 yards on 96 carries. He averages around seven-yards per carry.

* Quarterback: Boutwell has thrown for six touchdowns this season on 57 attempts for 551 yards.

Saint-Peter Marian:

* The Guardians throw the ball quite frequently. Evans-Ashton is 55-of-110 on passing attempts totaling 914-yards and nine TD's.

* Noah Burke leads the team with 15 catches for 359 yards, and four touchdowns. When he hauls the ball in lookout. Burke averages 25-yards per reception.

* On defense keep your eyes fixated on senior linebacker Zack O'Connor. He is nearing 100 tackles this season. O'Connor has 88, in seven games this season.

Groton-Dunstable looks to keep rolling one game at a time

Groton-Dunstable (5-1, 3-0 Mid-Wach C) @ Littleton (5-1, 3-0 Mid-Wach D) 7 p.m.

Groton-Dunstable took care of business in Ashburnham when they scraped by Oakmont 12-6. It wasn't pretty but head coach Derek Asadoorian's squad got the job done. Running back Matt Manning ran for 160-yards on 25 carries for 2 TD's. Manning wasn't done; he led the team on the defensive side of the ball from his secondary position with five tackles. Groton-Dunstable's whole philosophy this season has been put the team-first, and take everything one game at a time. The Crusaders are molding into a complete playoff contender, after that 42-6 hiccup against the Westford Academy Gray Ghosts. Littleton is the toughest opponent other than Westford Academy that the Crusaders have faced all season. The Tigers are fresh off a 14-6 win over a feisty Murdock team. Littleton's quarterback Alex McLaughlin connected with Peter Murphy for a 60-yard touchdown in the first quarter to give the Tigers the lead. Where the Tigers have been strong is on defense with their solid linebacking core consisting of Ryan Clark and Matt Jackson. Jackson contributed a touchdown pass late in the game against Murdock in addition to his prowess on the defensive side of the ball. Both the Crusaders and Tigers come into tonight's meeting riding three-game winning streaks.

Groton-Dunstable:

* Mack Eberheart is a dual-threat quarterback for the Crusaders. The dry weather conditions tonight factor into Asadoorians gameplan nicely on the road at Littleton.

* Manning is coming off a 160-yard performance against Oakmont, look for him to continue to impress.

* Bottom Line: Groton-Dunstable's defense has allowed an average of just 8.6 points-per game. The Crusaders own a road record of 4-0.

Littleton:

* Central Mass.'s leading tackler Jackson, paces the Tigers with a 93 tackles. Groton-Dunstable needs to keep the ball away from him if they want any success tonight.

* McLaughlin is 55-of-112 passing for 1,067 yards and 13 TD's.

* Littleton is 3-1 in home games this season.