Northwest Knights & Junkyard Dogs punch tickets to The League championship

By Ryan Martin
NEFJ Correspondent

MALDEN – In a Mother’s Day double-header, the Northwest Knights rolled through the MetroWest Maulers 24-7 before the Boston Junkyard Dogs beat the Southwest Cobras 17-7 during The League play.

The 2-1 Knights and 3-0 Junkyard Dogs now sit atop of The League, New England’s premier spring ball league for local high schoolers, while the Maulers (1-2) and Cobras (0-3) each fell.

Leading off the night was a big first half from the Northern Knights over the sun-drenched Donovan Field in Malden. After steamrolling into the red-zone on a fourth-down dive play, Knights quarterback Drew Fitzgerald found a wide open Joe McClain 22-yards out to put the Knights up seven on the game’s first possesion. The sophomore signal caller out of North Andover would throw for three touchdowns on the night.

“We’ve been working on getting a lot of good chemistry,” Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald capped off the next drive by zipping a pass to receiver Ryan Conley straightaway in the end-zone. The touchdown made it 14-0 Knights and was one of two scores for the Lowell High wideout.

Before Conley caught his second touchdown prior to halftime, the Maulers hit pay dirt with a 25-yard catch-and-run from Garrett Webb to Caiden Carriuolo. The Middleboro High sophomore used a shifty left-juke to put the Maulers on the board, but a 21-7 lead at half had the Knights in comfortable position to cruise through the second half.

“It’s important to get rolling early” Knights head coach Michael Kelleher said, “And that’s really what I expected.”

A deflating interception for the Maulers and a third quarter field goal closed it for the Knights victory as the sun began to set over Malden Catholic’s Brother Gilbert Stadium.

By 7 PM, the Southwest Cobras came out determined as the winless underdogs versus the undefeated Boston Junkyard Dogs. Relying on a heavy one-two punch from running backs Ty Marcel and Jacob Claubomir, the Cobras started by calling 16 consecutive running plays, spanning the whole first quarter, before being thwarted at the goal line on fourth down.

A JYD punt let the Cobras run another eight straight running plays, capped off by an outside zone touchdown for Marcel from eight yard out. A last-second field goal for the Dogs moments later set the score at 7-3 at half.

“We shot ourselves in the foot a few times on offense… We needed to come out with a score to get ahead of the game.” JYD head coach Kevin Kelly said of his team’s slow start.

Moving things around, Kelly sent BB&N quarterback Henry Machnik out for the second half. Machnik struggled by throwing an early goal line interception, but settled in with the Dogs’ first touchdown on the third quarter’s final play. The southpaw left a screen pass for fellow BB&N Knight Jack Kelley, who then scampered 15-yards in to take the lead.

After a costly pick set the Dogs up in the red-zone right directly after the touchdown, Machnik went to work. The junior found Marblehead’s Ryan Commoss on two straight completions, then put the Dogs up by two scores after finding Commoss from two yards out.

“I saw the defense was playing back, so we thought some short throws could get the ball down the field,” Machnik said.

The Knights and Junkyard Dogs now prepare to square off in next week’s championship game at Worcester Academy, while the Maulers and Cobras will play the consolation game.