AJ Caddell makes an amazing catch. (More Patriot staff photos follow)
Belnavis scores 4 TD’s
By Steev Riccardo
WEBSTER –Faced with a fourth down situation and needing 13 yards from their own 20-yard line with a little over a minute left and trailing 20-18 to the Millbury Woolies, things looked bleak for the Bartlett Indians.
Then something magical happened and changed everything in a matter of seconds.
Indians junior quarterback Ricky Spooner found senior co-captain Akeem Belnavis in the middle of the field and threw him a perfect pass and the speedster broke free and went 80 yards, giving his team an improbable 26-20 win that helped keep the Indians’ playoff hopes alive.
Belnavis had a career day for the Indians, scoring four times, including three touchdown passes from Spooner, who also had one of his best days ever in a green uniform.
Akeem Beknavis had a career night with four touchdowns
The Indians started the game with an impressive 8- play drive that culminated with a 32- yard toss from Spooner to Belnavis, giving them a 6-0 lead with 7:25 left in the opening quarter.
Both teams battled in sloppy field conditions until the Woolies scored on a one-yard plunge to tie the game at 6-6 with 9:58 in the second quarter.
Not to be denied, the Indians came right back on their next possession and Spooner connected with Belnavis for their second score on a 16-yard pass play, making it 12-6.
The Woolies took a 14-12 lead just before the half with another one- yard run and then wasted little time opening the second half with a 9- minute, 13- play scoring drive that gave them what looked like a commanding 20-12 lead.
The Indians battled back and put together an impressive drive of their own which was highlighted by some solid running by sophomore Harry Le and a sensational catch by AJ Caddell on a pass by Spooner on fourth down, giving the Indians a first down on the four- yard line.
Spooner tried sneaking the ball in twice, but it was Belnavis who could not be denied, blasting in from the one-yard line and making it 20-18 with 8 minutes left.
It looked like the Woolies were on the verge of scoring again when the tandem of Andrew “Darkness” Delille and Neil Flanigan got a huge sack, forcing the visitors to punt the ball away to the Indians.
Bartlett had less than three minutes to go 90 yards. Spooner was called for a suspect illegal grounding on first down and then threw an incompletion. Sophomore James Patterson went six yards on third down but the Indians were faced with a fourth and 13th.
Spooner found Flanigan, who made an outstanding grab for a 13-yard gain and a first down and the Indians had another set of downs.
The Woolies defense bared down and stopped the Indians, putting them in a nearly impossible situation with a fourth down and 13 and a little over a minute left when Spooner connected with Belnavis on one of the most exciting offensive plays in recent Bartlett history, giving them a huge win.
“We’re fighters, that’s what it comes down to, we are short-handed, a couple starters out, and some guys really stepped up tonight,” said an exuberant Dane Labossionniere. “I couldn’t be more proud of this football team than I am right now.”
It was 20-18 with about two-and-half minutes left and we were starting to think that maybe we were better off at 4th and ten getting a safety and going for the onside kick, but we went for it, backs against the wall, and (Neil) Flanigan made a hell of a play. On the second fourth down play we knew we had the match-up if we put Akeem (Belnavis) in the slot and (Ricky) Spooner threw a beautiful ball, the line gave him time and this was one of the best wins we have had around this place in a long time.”
Labossionniere praised his senior, who had a career game. “Akeem is an animal, he has elevated his play all season long, he is a legitimate football player. Teams game-plan around him, they knew they had to stop him and the kid goes out and catches three touchdowns and then runs in another one. That’s how you get it done. We are very proud of his efforts and the whole team’s efforts.”
Belnavis, who also had an incredible 65-yard punt to go with his four scores, was ecstatic afterwards. “I wanted the ball tonight, I was screaming for it the whole game. With Alex (Givins-Perry) out I knew I had to step up. We are just trying to get to the playoffs, there is no letting up now.”
“We had a few mistakes early in the drive but we didn’t get our heads down,” said Spooner on the final drive. “We kept them up and on that last play everybody on the line blocked and I had plenty of time. It’s indescribable, I don’t even know how to explain that play.”
Anthony "The Bull" Cafarelli(#76) whooping it up
There were several other great contributors for the Indians tonight, who were minus Givins-Perry, their leading rusher and Billy Phillips, who may be lost for the season. Along with Belnavis and Spooner, Flanigan was solid once again as were the linemen, including Delille and seniors Chris Vosburg and Mina Zaky.
The 3-4 Indians will now travel to Leicester in another must-win next week. “Leicester are the defending super bowl champs, they knocked us out of the playoffs last year, they are a great team,” said Labossionniere. “They have a lot of weapons, we have to come out to play next week.”
“We want revenge, they are like a Southbridge in my eyes,” said Belnavis “I am not gonna lie, I want to beat them bad.”
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- Monday, 22 October 2012
- Posted in Categories: : Sports