High On The Hogs: Linemen Propel Marauders To First Win With Victory Over Lex

Photo: Belmont High’s Senior RB Chad Francis romps for 233 yards and a pair of touchdowns including this from 34 yards.

All hail the hogs! Will Shelley, Reid Carlson, Ryan Hoffman, Brett Westgate, Isaiah Gullage, Andrew Kwon, Matt Crisafi and Derrick Brown.

As a nor’easter swept over Harris Field, the Belmont High Marauders’ relied on its big experienced linemen on both sides of the ball to secure the program’s first victory of the season, 28-12, against the Lexington High Minutemen in front of a small, but dedicated group of fans under the wet and windy Friday night lights, Oct. 11.

“I’m just so proud of these guys and the coaches. We’ve never quit believing in what we have here,” said Belmont Head Coach Yann Kumin whose team stands at 1-3. “We kept saying that there’s a lot of football left to play.”

The offensive line created lanes along the edge for senior RB Chad Francis to romp for 233 yards on 28 carries and a pair of long (34 and 53 yards) second quarter touchdowns. The dominance of the “O” line was evident in the third quarter as Belmont held the ball for nine minutes on the first drive of the second half.

“We took a long look at what they were doing defensively and all of a sudden we said the Lexington defense looks a lot like Medford defense from [2016]” against which Belmont’s Ben Jones set a school record of 334 yards in the ’16 season opener.

The coaching staff installed a two-back formation and “simplified the blocking for the Hoggies and we got them going,” said Kumin as the team rushed for 311 yards.

But it was on defense that Belmont showed its class, shutting out for three quarters a Lexington offense which scored 56 against Arlington the week previous. Belmont defense would register eight sacks (led by Brown who was a terror in the first half) a fumble recovery (after a strip of Minuteman QB Nick Perez by junior Brennen Westgate) and an interception in the end zone at the end of the first half by senior Justin Rocha.

“We have been in games against tough opponents for the last two weeks,” said “Q.” “We knew that if we played physical defense that we were going to be able to put a stop to the Minuteman offense.”

“The entire defense did a great job from the line to the [defensive backs],” said Kumin, noting the play of senior linebacker Ryan Santoro who got into the Minuteman backfield to disrupt several plays.

Belmont started the scoring with senior RB Cedrick Toussaint sprinting over the left end for a 24 yard touchdown with 1:35 left in the first quarter.

Up 21-0 at the half, Belmont’s final scoring drive was highlighted by a 49 yard run by sophomore Tyler Arno who took the handoff from QB (and older brother) Avery Arno and raced down the left side to the Lexington 1 yard line.

“We call him “Baby Arno” so when he went on the run, I just couldn’t look because it made me so nervous,” said Kumin.

Santoro would finish the drive with a one yard plunge.

While Lexington would reach the end zone twice – including an 85-yard kickoff return by Mason Hatfield immediately after Belmont’s final score – but the game wasn’t much in doubt after Hoffman and Kwon sacked as the Marauder offense would run out the clock in the final four minutes.

Belmont is on the road on Friday, Oct. 18 to play a one-win Arlington team.

But “Q” is not looking past the SpyPonders.

“Any opponent on any given week, we have to do our job to beat them. I don’t care what the record says.”

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