After A Historic Season, Belmont High Head Football Coach McCray Leaves Program

Photo: Belmont High Head Coach Brian McCray leaves program.

After helming Belmont High School Football to a memorable 2023 season, Head Coach Brian McCray said it was with “mixed emotions” that he submitted his resignation after three seasons as head coach “effective immediately” in an Instagram post dated Friday, Dec. 8,

“After careful consideration and reflection, I believe this decision is in the best interest of my personal and professional development,” said McCray who went 14-17 since joining the program in 2021.

“I am grateful for the opportunities and experiences that Belmont High School has provided me during my tenure as head football coach. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the talented student-athletes, dedicated coaching staff, and supportive administration.

Together, we have achieved significant milestones and growth, and I am proud to have been a part of the Belmont High football program.”

“It has been an honor to work with Coach McCray,” said Adam Pritchard, Belmont High’s Athletic Director. “Brian is a dedicated teacher/coach and has been a tremendous leader for our student-athletes and a positive park of Belmont High School and our Belmont community.”

“We are grateful for Brian’s time as varsity football coach and are excited for the future of football at Belmont High School,” said Pritchard.

Finishing this season at 6-4, McCray’s team won the Middlesex League Liberty Division crown – its first Middlesex title since 1965 – defeating division rivals Reading and Woburn for the first time in more than a decade, earning a spot in the Division II state tournament, and routing Watertown on Thanksgiving, 47-0.

Belmont High Football Outclass Watertown, 47-0, In Historic Thanksgiving Day Rout

Photo: 6-4, 2023 Middlesex Liberty champs, Div. II playoffs and a rout vs Watertown

There would be no mercy on this Thanksgiving Day.

Having suffered three consecutive defeats and more than a decade of beatdowns and indignities – i.e., the taunting and nasty chants at the end of last year’s 21-7 loss at Fenway Park – at the hands of Watertown, this holiday Thursday would see the long overdue payback as the Belmont High Football team annihilated the host Raiders, 47-0, on Victory Field.

Belmont High’s captains (from left): Austin Lasseter (20), Adrien Gurung (1), Ryan Halloran (54), Brian Logan (4), Bryce Hubbard (10) and Jayden Arno (3)

“We’ve been waiting three years for a win against these guys,” said Belmont Head Coach Brian McCray after the game.

“The kids were fantastic. Shout out to all the seniors. They were the pillars of the team and they really wanted it and went out with a win.”

The margin of victory sets a record in the game’s 101-year history, while the 47 points were the most scored by either team since the Raiders put up a record-setting 54 against a winless 2013 Marauders squad. Watertown now leads the series, 50-46-5.

Off to the races: Belmont High’s all-star running back Adrien Gurung on his way to a 62-yard TD run on Thanksgiving.

Played on a glorious late-fall morning, Belmont dominated the Raiders in every aspect of the game, scoring on nearly every offensive possession over the 48 minutes. At the same time, the defense prevented Watertown from entering the red zone – inside Belmont’s 20-yard line – until the game’s final minute.

“The past two years, we lost to Watertown, and they ensured we knew it. So we had to get our revenge,” said Jayden Arno, Belmont’s senior quarterback and co-captain, who threw three touchdowns to three different receivers while scoring on the first play of the second half on a 49-yard quarterback run.

“And we came out. The offensive coordinators did a great job with the plays throughout the season, and we put all of our arsenal into this game, and it worked out.”

Belmont High WR Brian Logan on his way to a 49-yard TD reception from QB Jayden Arno

On the other side of the ball, the defensive line made the day a misery for Watertown’s runners by stuffing the Raiders three times on 4th down in the first half while sacking the quarterback four times and taking the ball away from the Raiders twice on interceptions.

“[Losing to Watertown for three years] provided a lot of motivation for us as a team because all we want to do is win this game and win it for [Belmont]. This is bigger than us. We definitely put all our preparation into this,” said senior linebacker and co-Capt. Ryan Halloran, the stalwart on defense this season.

It didn’t take long for Belmont to strike after the defense stopped Watertown on a fourth and one on the Raiders’ 35. On the first play from scrimmage, Arno found junior Billy Hendrickson alone on the right sideline, where he waltzed in from five yards out. Belmont 7, Watertown 0 after senior co-Capt. Austin Lasseter kicked the conversion.

Belmont High QB Jayden Arno leads the offense vs. Watertown on Thanksgiving.

Given excellent field position at midfield on a failed trick kickoff, the Raiders used a 14-yard pass from QB Anthony Shorter to first-year TE Joe Connors to reach the Belmont 24. But again, Watertown was repealed on third and fourth down and two from the 24. Belmont would start its second drive with a 10-yard gain from senior RB and co-Capt. Adrien Gurung. The next time Belmont’s all-star running back touched the ball, it was to carry the pigskin 62 yards up the gut for Belmont’s second touchdown and a 13-0 lead after a botched PAT.

The Raiders drove to the 50 when the Marauder defense stepped up as senior co-Capt. Bryce Hubbard cut in front of the receiver and made a fingertip interception. On the next play, Arno found senior co-Capt. Brian Logan behind the Watertown defense for a 50-yard pitch and catch touchdown. Belmont 19-0 as the Marauders failed on the try for two.

Soon afterward, Watertown failed to convert a fourth down for the third time. After Lasseter took the ball into Watertown territory at the 49, Gurung repeated his earlier stampede through the Raiders’ middle, this time for 49 yards for a touchdown to give Belmont a 26-0 lead.

After scoring his second touchdown, Gurung and fellow senior Logan pose in the Watertown end zone on Thanksgiving.

Getting the ball back with 1:25 remaining at its 27, Gurung took a screen pass and rambled 57 yards until he was caught on a desperation tackle at the Belmont 27. On a fourth and 11 at the 16 with seven ticks left on the clock, Logan beat his defender into the end zone, but the ball went through his hands as the sun blinded his view. Belmont held a 26-0 lead at the half, scoring four touchdowns on five possessions.

The scoring continued 20 seconds into the third quarter when Arno scampered 49 yards along the right sideline to up the score to 34-0 after he dove in for the two-point conversion. On the next possession, senior RB Jayden Rodriguez punched it in from 2 yards out for a 41-0 lead, and the game reverted to “running time” when the clock only stopped for timeouts and end of quarters.

The scoring concluded in the fourth quarter with Donovan Holway catching a pass on a slant route from 6 yards out, after which the senior “dunked’ the ball over the crossbar, resulting in cheers from his teammates and a personal foul penalty from the refs.

The Thanksgiving dunk: senior WR Donovan Holway celebrates Belmont’s final TD.

In the final five minutes, with reserves getting a chance to clash with the Raider’s varsity, Watertown drove deep into Belmont territory. With two minutes remaining, McCray called back his starters to allow the defense to preserve the shutout. On the final play of the game ball, Belmont’s defense rallied to force a pass that was grounded in front of the receiver.

While Belmont’s assistant coaches put together an offensive and defensive game plan that worked nearly to perfection, McCray praised his group of four-year athletes.

“[The coaches] want to make sure [the team] is in a great position to win, but [the players] are the ones that are the generator of this victory. We’re just the guys calling plays and getting after it, but they’re the ones that really led us, and the senior leadership was just tremendous,” McCray said.

For the first time since 2019, it was only happy emotions for the Belmont players, coaches, and parents on Victory Field. The 2023 season will be remembered for the team winning the Middlesex League Liberty Division crown – its first Middlesex title since 1965 – defeating division rivals Reading and Woburn for the first time in more than a decade, earning a spot in the Division II state tournament, and shutting down rivals Watertown.

“This season meant a lot to me,” said Halloran. “My final year, I want to go with a bang. We definitely did that. We prepared a lot for this game, and everyone worked hard in practice. This game was won in practice. We did a lot to win this game, and it ended up working out great.”

I couldn’t have done it without my senior class,” said Arno. “We all worked hard since sophomore year, especially. And I’m just proud of my teammates,” said Jayden.

As Belmont finally left the field, McCray was seen carrying the Thanksgiving Day game trophy, which will reside for the next year (or two or ten) in the new trophy case outside of the Wenner Field House. It was just that the coach wanted a few days with the silverware.

“I’ll bring it back Monday,” McCray told Belmont’s AD Adam Pritchard.

“I’ll bring it back Monday.”

Belmont Football Wins First Middlesex League Title In 59 Years Defeating Reading, 28-21; Wellesley Next In Sweet 16 On Saturday

Photo: Belmont senior co-captain Austin Lasseter celebrates the Marauders’ 28-21 victory

When Belmont High’s senior Brian Logan intercepted a fourth down pass by Reading Memorial’s QB Jack Murphy with 46 seconds remaining, 59 years of frustrations and lean years were rendered moot as the Belmont High Football Marauders captured its first Middlesex League title since 1964 by defeating the Rockets, 28-21, on Seniors Night at Harris Field.

“It’s just fantastic winning the league title against a tremendous team with a great championship pedigree. I’m just in shock.,” said Belmont Head Coach Brian McCray, soaking wet after taking a Gatorade bath under the Friday Night Lights, Oct. 27. The historic season has seen Belmont (5-3, 3-1 in the league) defeat Liberty League powerhouses Woburn and Reading – the Rockets for the first time in 17 years – as well as Winchester, whose only blemish in its 6-1 season is to the Marauders.

With the victory, Belmont secured a Sweet 16 playoff spot in the MIAA Division 2 tournament as the 10 seed and will meet another league champion, Wellesley High, on Saturday, Nov. 4 at 1 p.m. at Wellesley High School.

It was a game where Belmont’s offense showed its ability to strike with the long ball and grind out possessions on offense coupled with an opportunistic defense led by senior co-captains Bryce Hubbard and Ryan Halloran which stopped the Rockets three times inside the red zone with a fumble and interception – both in the end zone – while stoning Reading on a fourth down and one late in the final quarter.

“We just don’t quit,” said McCray. That’s one thing our team has done all year. Even in games when it’s not close. We kept preaching that all year. Good things happen to guys who don’t quit.”

For Logan, who over the season has become the league’s most dangerous long ball threat, the victory was won six months earlier.

“We always knew we could do it,” said Logan about winning a title after such a long draught. “We woke up at 6 a.m. every single day in the summer. We were [at Harris Field] twice a day, seven to eight hours a day. We knew all that would pay off.”

Late in the first half, Logan was helped off the field after being sandwiched on a reception. But he would miss a single series before joining his teammates in the huddle.

“I was getting banged up, but I had no other choice but to play on seniors night with a chance to win the title. I had to get back on the field,” said Logan.

It was an evening with a fast start for Belmont. On the first play from scrimmage, senior QB Jayden Arno found Logan striding down the right sideline for a 59 yard touchdown to give Belmont a 7-0 lead after 19 seconds.

But Reading, which has had a uncharacteristically average season at 2-6, would come back on first offensive series by running straight ahead up the middle in a cloud of dust resulting in senior running back Andrew Jackvony.

Belmont’s attack was having its hands full against Reading’s imposing defensive line made the more so when captain and all-star running back Adrien Gurung saw limited time due to a nagging injury sustained in practice.

On its second series, Reading marched down the field deep into Belmont’s zone. But on first and goal at the Belmont five, the ball popped forward into the end zone and recovered by the Marauders for a touchback. Belmont would take the ball over midfield when on a designed running play, Arno sucurred by the first wall of resistance and took it 46-yards to the house to up Belmont’s advantage to 14-7 early in the second quarter.

From the kickoff, Reading would march down the field where on 3rd and 10 from the 19, Murphy sprinted right and found Brady Comenos alone in the end zone to tied the game at 14-14 with 9:28 remaining in the half. The Rockets would stop Belmont on a three and out and reach Belmont’s 15 but would be stopped on a fourth-down attempt.

It was the Marauders’ turn to take the ball down field highlighted by a 26 yard rumble by senior running back Jayden Rodriguez setting up a Aron to Hubbard 16 yard touchdown connection with 43 seconds left in the half for a 21-14 lead.

Yet despite its record, one could not count Reading out as they quickly headed down field to threaten scoring again early in the third quarter. But on a 3rd and 8 from the 12 yard line, sophomore Casey Regan – who was awarded the defensive “sledgehammer” for his outstanding effort for the entire game – out muscled the Rocket receiver to grab the interception in the back of the end zone at the 7:30 mark.

Into the fourth quarter, Reading would tied the score, 21-21, with nine minutes left to play, then stopping Belmont and getting the ball at the 45 yard line. The Rockets would take four minutes off the clock with less than three minutes in the game where they found themselves facing a 4th and 1 from the 44. But a Murphy run – which was successful just four plays before – was stopped in its tracks as Sclafani and senior Jadyah Chauvet dropped Murphy for a loss.

With the ball on Belmont’s 36 with 2:31 on the clock, Arno would twice evade the pass rush and high tailed to the Rocket 28. The next play Arno used his right arm to sling a spot on throw into the waiting arms of Logan who waltzed into the end zone for a 28-21 lead with 84 ticks left as the all-purpose senior co-captain Austin Lasseter nailed his fourth point after.

Reading would go quietly as Regan broke up a 15 yard attempt by Murphy just before Logan’s take away.

With the team’s spot in the tournament secure, McCray will continue to “get after it” in practice.

“That will put us in the right state of mine going forward,” he said.

Fast And Furious: 3 TDs In First 9 Minutes, Stellar D Sees Belmont Football Dispatch Lexington, 36-7

Photo: Belmont High Senior Brian Logan in the clear scoring his second TD reception in Belmont’s 37-7 victory over Lexington

Three touchdowns in the first eight minutes by the offense coupled with a second strong performance by the its defense culminated in one of the most complete victories in head coach Brian McCray’s tenure as Belmont High football dismissed Lexington High, 36-7, under the Friday Night Lights at Harris Field on Oct. 6.

Belmont QB Jayden Arno on the move

The victory sends Belmont top of the Middlesex League Liberty Divison table at 2-0, 3-2 overall, with a Saturday, Oct. 14 encounter with Arlington. Kickoff will be at noon.

The first quarter couldn’t have been a dream start for the Marauders as it recovered the squib kickoff that eluded the Minutemen return team. On the second play co-captains connected as senior QB Jayden Arno dropped the ball to fellow senior Brian Logan on a sideline route to give Belmont a 7-0 lead after a mere 36 seconds.

Belmont sophomore defensive back Casey Regan returning the interception

On the Minuteman’s first offensive play, sophomore defensive back Casey Regan intercepted Lexington QB Adam O’Shaughnessy to give Belmont the ball on Lexington’s 38-yard line. On the next play, Belmont senior running back Adrien Gurung took the ball up the gut and didn’t stop until he crossed into the end zone for the Marauders’ second TD in the opening minute. An Arno to senior Max Corneilus two-point conversion upped the lead to 15-0.

After the Marauder defense stifled the Lexington offense to a three and out, Belmont took over near its goal line. Returning to a strategy of grinding out yards that wore down Winchester in its previous game, Belmont took six minutes off the clock with its running attack highlighted by an Arno to Logan 15 yard pass deep in Belmont territory. And it would be through the air that produced the Marauders’ third touchdown of the quarter as Arno once again found Logan on a slant in the middle of the field that allowed the big receiver to stride 46 yards into the end zone to give Belmont’s a 22-0 advantage with 3:27 left in the first.

Belmont senior RB Adrien Gurung (#1)

Lexington’s offensive highlight of the night came on their next possession as RB William Marcin took a swing pass from O’Shaughnessy, turned the corner and waived goodbye for a 65 yard TD.

But Belmont would go on its second long drive of the half ending with Gurung’s four yard burst off the right side of the line for the touchdown that gave Belmont a 29-7 half time lead. The single high point of the second half came in the fourth quarter where Arno’s scrambled 36 yard for his longest ground gain of the night and the touchdown that provided the 36-7 final.

Belmont High Football Waits Until Late To Earn the ‘W’ Over Unbeaten Winchester, 15-9

Photo: Belmont senior running back Adrien Gurung taking flight.

Winchester High School Football’s Friday night game had all the hallmarks for a big night for the Red and Black. Undefeated at 3-0, on their new turf field at Knowlton Stadium with its outstanding kicker being honored as the best kicker in the country, it was all there for Winchester to show its dominance over a Belmont High squad coming off a disappointing home loss against Westford Academy.

But as Lee Corso says on ESPN’s College Game Day: “Not so fast, my friend!” Behind a pair of time consuming fourth-quarter touchdown drives – the second coming with just about two minutes remaining to play – and a stellar performance by its defensive front over the entire game, Belmont ended the night putting the Red and Black in the loss column defeating Winchester, 15-9, in both team’s Middlesex League, Liberty Division opener.

Belmont (2-2) will host Lexington High (1-3) at Harris Field under the Friday Night Lights on Oct. 6 at 6 p.m.

Friday night’s game was a pondering affair, slowed by one running play after another, penalties, and solid work from both teams defenses. Belmont did show some punch via senior back Adrien Gurung who pounded his way just short of the century mark and senior QB Jayden Arno who was able to both keep the ball on the ground and wing it when needed to his receiving corp. But it was Belmont gritty run defense that blunted Winchester’s attack.

The first-half’s highlight was Winchester’s Kieran Corr, the Under Armour All-American as the number one ranked high school kicker in the US. And the Harvard commit was as impressive as advertised, splitting the uprights from 44 yards – remember, this is high school – with at least 10 yards to spare to give Winchester a 3-0 lead midway through the first quarter that would last into halftime.

After the break, Belmont looked as it would strike first, having stopped Winchester on a 4th and 2 at its 42. Gurung would scamper 31 yards off the left side to Winchester’s 8 yard line, but after three runs resulted in no gain, Belmont missed a 25 yard field goal attempt.

On the very next play, Winchester QB Harry Lowenstein found a streaking George Nelson for an 80 yard Red and Black touchdown. Despite a botched extra point, Winchester was up by two scores, 9-0, with 6:20 remaining in the third.

Now it was the Marauders team time to shine as Belmont would hang onto the ball for nearly eight minutes over 62 yards. Belmont would convert a pair of 4th and 1 on the run-heavy drive culminating in an Arno keeper from a yard out to cut the lead to 9-7 at the 10:30 mark in the fourth.

After converting a first down, Winchester was put on its back heel as the entire defensive line sacked Lowenstein on a 3rd and 11 forcing a punt with 6:45 left in the game. Starting at its 25, Belmont benefited immediately from a face mask call taking the ball to the 40 yard line. Two Arno keepers for nine yards and a critical 21 yard pass completion to Donovan Holway brought the ball to the Winchester 12 with 4 minutes remaining.

Belmont then served up a diet of punishing runs from Gurung ending with the senior running back crossing the goal line standing from a yard out with 2:12 on the clock. Arno’s pass to Austin Lasseter for the two point conversion saw Belmont increase its lead to 15-9.

After a scare on the kick off – Winchester appeared to have crossed midfield with Lasseter making a touchdown-saving tackle only for a block in the back penalty rendering the gain mute – Belmont’s defense held firm forcing a long pass by Lowenstein on 4th down that senior WR/DB Brian Logan intercepted closing the book on an impressive – and confidence boosting – road win.

Belmont High’s Fenway Football Dream Dashed By Watertown, 21-7, In Centennial Clash

Photo: Fenway Park was the setting for the centennial clash between Belmont and Watertown

There was only one appropriate location to play the centennial game in the long Belmont/Watertown football rivalry. And in the Boston area, that would be historic Fenway Park.

While Marauders would fall in the game, 21-7, on a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns by Watertown’s running back William McHugh, the event was a once in a lifetime experience for the teams and fans who ventured into Boston’s Back Bay on the day before Thanksgiving.

Photo: Brandon Fitts

With only passing clouds and temperatures in the high 40s, the pregame atmosphere was loud and joyous, with teens and kids banding about the “lyric little bandbox of a ballpark,” with the Belmont High marching band performing the greatest hits. The Belmont and Watertown police departments joined in a combined color guard, as did the chorus’ from the high schools to sing the National Anthem. A highly successful pregame event hosted by Belmont Police Chief James McIssacs raised funds for the Junior Marauders, the middle school football program where most of the high school players get their start in the sport.

Photo: Brandon Fitts

The hundreds of fans filled nearly the entire Red Sox side stands, with the Watertown contingency making up most of the spectators. But with everyone preparing for the long Thanksgiving holiday and the accompanying meal, the supporters and students from both schools were in good spirits for the 100th meeting between the border rivals.

It was a game that, by appearance and talent, Belmont (4-6) held the advantage: larger offensive and defensive lines led by junior Max Cornelius and senior Asa Rosenmeier, an all-star running back in junior Adrien Gurung, and three quick receivers – seniors Ben William and Chris Cogliano and junior Brian Logan – that towered over the defensive backs covering them.

Photo: Brandon Fitts

While Watertown (7-4) had suffered four consecutive losses in their final five games, two of the Raider’s losses were to Super Bowl-bound opponents – Stoneham and Wakefield – and its run-centric offense had McHugh and Payton Andrade, the Raiders’ go-to backs who were the ground forces along with senior QB Johnny Cacace, the son of Watertown’s Head Coach John Cacace.

Watertown started the game with a promising drive – which included converting a fourth down near midfield – before a sack and a near interception forced a fourth and 15 from the Belmont 31, which the Raiders failed to make with six minutes on the clock. Belmont’s first time with the ball saw junior QB Jayden Arno find junior Bryce Hubbard to the Watertown 25, only to be negated by a false start.

Photo: Brandon Fitts

After receiving a punt, Watertown started from its 31 and drove the field on its second six-minute-plus drive, scoring when the Watertown’s coaches son, Cacace, rounded the right corner and carried a Belmont defender nine yards into the end zone with 6:31 left.

Belmont would have its own impressive drive, including converting its own fourth down. A series of runs brought the ball to the six-yard line with a first down but only 39 seconds remaining. And it appeared that Belmont had squandered its chance as time ran out when Arno ran out of bounds on the 5-yard line. But a late hit personal foul on Watertown gave Belmont one final play in the half at the 1-yard line with zeros on the clock.

When Belmont needed a short conversion throughout the season, they placed Rosenmeier, the 6’5”, 300 lb USA Rugby U18 National team player and the anchor of the Belmont offense/defense lines, in the backfield and dared the other team to stop him. The outcome was a given as Rosenmeier barreled over center into the end zone to knot the score at seven at halftime.

The third quarter saw Belmont’s defense start on the right foot, halting Watertown with a sack. Belmont could only advance the ball five yards, and a short punt had Watertown starting at their 44 midway through the quarter. Watertown then would go on a grinding, time-consuming drive where the Raiders’ gained big chunks of territory on each attempt. It appeared Belmont had finally stopped the Raiders’ with Watertown facing a fourth and three yards to go from the Belmont 11 when the quarter ended.

Rather than attempt a field goal, Watertown’s McHugh swept around the right side to the Belmont two-yard line. McHugh scored on his second attempt to give the Raiders’ a 14-7 lead. Belmont faced a third and one at its 45 when G. broke a 20-yard romp up the middle to bring the ball to the 35. But unlike Watertown’s success on fourth down, Belmont could not convert a fourth and three yards from the 29-yard line with six minutes remaining. The Marauders’ defense immediately stiffened, putting Watertown into a second down and 14. But a ten-yard pickup and two yards on third down had Watertown facing a fourth down and one yard at its own 47-yard line with two minutes remaining on the clock.

But once again, Watertown could not be stopped on fourth down. With the clock winding down, Belmont could hope for a quick stop, but McHugh would take the next play up the gut of the Marauder defense and sprint untouched 55 yards into the end zone with 1:41 remaining. An interception sealed the game, and the celebration began on the Watertown side while Belmont sat near the Green Monster to discuss the game.

Watertown currently leads the series, 50-45-5. Belmont will need to wait 366 days before it gets a chance to begin a winning streak as the game returns to Thanksgiving day, next year at Victory Field in Watertown.

Belmont, Watertown, 100: Turkey Day Rivalry Is A Day Early As Centennial Clash Takes Place At Fenway Park

Photo: Belmont High School football captains

The Thanksgiving Day football rivalry between the Marauders of Belmont High School and the Raiders of Watertown High is being played a day early, on Wednesday, Nov. 23 and not at Belmont’s Harris Field as it was scheduled.

But that’s OK for players and fans considering where its being held: historic Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox. The change in plans have to do with the nature of the game; the teams are playing the centennial game in the long-storied competition. First meeting in 1921, Watertown leads the series 49-45-5. The game was cancelled twice, in 1940 due to a snowstorm, and in 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

This is not the first time a Belmont High squad played at Fenway as the ‘Polly’ Harris-managed baseball team won the state championship defeating Turner Falls in the spring of 1941.

The teams come into the game, the teams have been on losing streaks. After starting the season at 5-0, Watertown (6-4) have come home 1-4 having beaten the last opponent, Brighton High, 37-22. It should be mentioned that two of the losses were to teams – Stoneham and Wakefield – playing in state championships finals next week.

For Belmont (4-5), it’s been feast or famine: the Marauders have been a scoring juggernaut against teams of equal or lower ability but found it difficult to stop, and score against, the more polished squads. In its last game, the Marauders scored first but was shut out for the rest of the game to fall to Waltham, 21-7.

Because the match will be a “home” game, the Belmont High School Marching Band will perform the National Anthem and at half time.

Tickets are still on sale online – the only way to obtain tickets. Belmont Media Center will be broadcasting the game live on all BMC channels.

Belmont High Football Falls Short In Woburn, Miss Playoffs At 4-4; Hosting Waltham Saturday 3 PM

Photo: Junior WR Brian Logan scores Belmont High’s lone touchdown in a 28-6 loss to host Woburn on Friday, Oct. 28.

Belmont High Football needed a win and a little – really a lot – of help to move up four spots in the MIAA Division 2 power rankings to reach a playoff spot as they came on the field at Woburn under the Friday Night Lights as they took on the host Tanners.

When they left the field, they got neither.

Five Woburn interceptions – three in their end zone – and an inability to take advantage of a rare size and height advantage saw the Marauders drop to 4-4 for the regular season after losing 28-6 in Woo-town, missing the playoffs since their last visit to the post-season in 2019.

Belmont will be relegated to playing up to three games against other non-playoff D2 teams before meeting Watertown for the centennial of their Thanksgiving game played this year at Fenway Park on Wednesday, Nov. 23.

Belmont took the game to the Tanners in the first half, producing two time-consuming drives in each quarter as junior RB Adrien Gurung and junior QB Jaylan Arno took off for first down, producing runs and the tall receiving corp of seniors Ben Williams and Chris Cogliano and junior Brian Logan kept the Woburn D-backs occupied.

But each drive would end with an interception of Arno, the first taken away in the end zone by Woburn’s Marc Cutone, the first of three for the night by the junior defensive back and wide receiver. The Tanners would make Belmont pay dearly as they scored touchdowns on each quarter’s turnover. Belmont came close to putting points on the scoreboard at the end of the half, only to see a long pass intercepted in the end zone with no time on the clock.

Woburn effectively put the game to rest after scoring on a long pass midway in the third quarter, while Belmont’s next drive ended with Cutone’s third takeaway. The Tanners would finish the third with a 60-yard run to push the score to 28-0.

Belmont’s few highlights happened in the fourth quarter as the defense stripped the ball for a fumble and scored as Logan took a slant pass from Arno in the red zone for the TD with four minutes left.

Belmont will host neighbors Waltham on Saturday, Nov. 5 at 3 p.m.

Belmont High Football Back Over .500 Dismantling Arlington, 37-6; Woburn Contest Could Determine Playoff Berth

Photo: Belmont High senior receiver Chris Cogliano shows that he came down with the catch from QB Jayden Arno to score a touchdown against Arlington in the Marauders’ 38-7 victory on Oct. 21.

When a football team is ahead by 30 points in the fourth quarter in Massachusetts, the officials will let the clock run without stopping as it usually does when a player goes out of bounds or a pass is incomplete as the outcome is fairly certain. For many seasons, the Belmont High School football squad has been on the wrong end of that situation.

But not this past Friday, Oct. 21.

Against visiting Arlington High, the score board read “Belmont 38, Arlington 7” with 8 minutes on the clock after the Marauders score 37 unanswered points and recorded its third consecutive win, creeping closer to a Division 2 playoff spot. That pre-season goal will be determined against the 4-3 Woburn High Tanners on the final Friday in October.

Belmont stands at 4-3, having beating Winchester, 32-30, and dominating Lexington, 35-20, during its three game win streak.

Belmont High senior lineman Asa Rosenmeier (77) helps junior Ryan Halloran (54) bring down Arlington’s Kayden Mills for the loss.

“This victory is what this week [of practice] was about; no excuses, just results,” said Belmont second year Head Coach Brian McCray to his team after the game.

“We’re working hard and trying to be the best we possibly can and it’s really paying off because we’ve gotten better as the season goes on,” he said.

The game at Harris Field didn’t start out brilliantly as Belmont’s initial drive of the game was halted on an interception which the Tanners quickly drove in for a touchdown. The Marauders’ then marched down to the Woburn goal line only to lose the ball on the fumble. Belmont defense – which has over the three games has been growing in stature – forced a three and out and then a muffed exchange between center and punter resulting in a safety.

Belmont would take the lead as quarterback Jayden Arno and fellow junior, running back Adrien Gurung, scoring on runs of 15 yards in the subsequent drives, giving the Marauders a 16-7 half time edge.

It appeared the Spy Ponders would close the deficit early in the third quarter as they drove to the Belmont 16 yard line when Gurung striped Arlington’s Kayden Mills of the ball and recovered it on the 23. On the very next play, Gurung scampered down the right sideline for an 84 yard TD at the 10 minute mark.

Belmont High running back Adrien Gurung coming off the right side of the line against Arlington.

Belmont’s defense bailed out the team after a fumbled punt midway through the quarter when junior Ryan Halloran intercepted a Mills pass. Less than two minutes later, senior receiver Chris Cogliano out battled the Arlington safety to grab Arno’s pass to up the score to 30-7. Cogliano would score at the eight minute mark after Gurung solo run of more than 40 yards set up the Marauders. And the home crowd was treated to 6’4”, 300 lbs. lineman Asa Rosenmeier – one of best young rugby players in the country – lining up in the backfield and scoring the two-point conversion.

McCray said next week’s away game against an always strong Woburn team will give his team a chance to make the playoffs.

“Our offense and defensive lines have been improving each week and will have a big impact this coming week,” he said.

Belmont March 99 Yds In Final Minute For Winning TD As Arno Leads Marauders Over Winchester, 32-30

Photo: Ninety-nine yards later: Belmont High senior Chris Cogliano scores the winning touchdown with less than 20 seconds remaining in the game as Belmont drives the length of the field to beat Winchester, 32-30.

Down by 4 with 2:49 remaining in the contest, Belmont High School’s offense took the field facing the most daunting of asks: drive the length of the football field, 99 yards, to win the game. At the helm for the Marauders’ was junior QB Jayden Arno who, when he came on the field, wasn’t thinking about 100 yards he needed to win it.

“Honestly, on the sideline, all what we were trying to do is get to the 10 yard line to give us some room,” he said.

Arno had been finding his experienced receiver corps throughout the game under the Friday Night Lights at Harris Field. And one of them, senior Chris Cogliano, would prove to be the perfect partnership in the final two minutes.

After an eight-yard carry by junior RB Adrien Gurung gave Arno that breathing room he was hoping for, the two-year starter came out winging it, finding Cogliano on the slant to the 30. But a sack and two incomplete passes had the Marauders facing a fourth down and 10 from the 30 with 54 seconds remaining. Once again. Arno found Cogliano over the middle to the 46 yard line. On second and 10 from the 46, Arno was flushed from the pocket and took off down the left side and scooted to the 33 yard line with 32 seconds remaining.

On the next play, Arno found Cogliano on the right sideline in between two defenders. The senior evaded the inside defender and pushed the deep safety to the side before tip-toeing into the end zone with 15 seconds remaining. The point after touchdown was blocked leaving Winchester only two down but with not many options remaining.

Yet a short kickoff and a strong run back set up Winchester’s outstanding kicker Kieran Corr with a do-able 44 yard attempt with 4 seconds remaining. But while it had the distance, Corr’s kick got caught up in the swirling wind and drifted left.

“That was pretty special because we came together during that drive; the line, receivers, blockers. We didn’t get down on ourselves when they scored twice [in a minute]. We had a great week of practice and knew we had it in us to win the game,” said Arno, who finished the game going 15 for 25 and 263 yards through the air.

After a quick three and out to start the game, Belmont’s defense was to stop Winchester in the red zone where Corr kicked a field goal for an early 3-0 lead. Belmont would finally strike midway in the second after a long drive Arno dove in from the one to give the Marauders a 7-3 lead.

Head coach Brian McCray’s team stands at 2-3 with a visit to Lexington (2-3) under the lights on Friday, Oct. 14 at 6 p.m.

Winchester would benefit from a pass interference and a hitting a defenseless player to bring the ball to the Belmont 2 where QB/RB Jack Centurelli plunged two yards on the right side for the TD and the lead, 10-7 with three minutes remaining. Belmont could come right back as Arno found Cogliano and senior WR Ben Williams on passes to push the ball to the one where Arno would crash through with one minute remaining in the half for the 14-10 lead.

Belmont would travel through the air on its first drive of the second, calumniating four minutes into the half with an Arno to junior WR Brian Logan along the back of the end zone. Winchester would creep closer with its own drive to cut the lead to 20-16 on Centurelli’s second rushing TD with two minutes remaining in the third.

In the first drive of the fourth quarter, Arno would find Logan on a third and long taking the ball from Belmont’s 32 to Winchester’s 32 then completing a 20 yard completion to Logan before Gurung took the ball then waited, and waited … and waited before exploding up the middle for a 13 yard TD and a 26-16 lead. With nine minutes left, it appeared Belmont would cruise to its second win when Winchester quickly marched down the field when Centurelli found junior Ryan Doucette for the touchdown with 8:03 on the clock and the score 26-23.

Winchester’s kicker Corr was an important factor in getting the ball right back by sending a towering kick with a spin that simply bounced off the Belmont returner and was recovered on the Belmont 12. Centurelli found Jack Costello in the back of the end zone and within 62 seconds, a safe looking lead with now a four point deficit, 30-26, with 7:01 to play.

While Belmont was able to convert one fourth down play, they lost the ball on downs with 4:09 left. But Belmont’s defense stood tall and forced Winchester to punt with under three minutes to play. Then Corr sent a perfect punt that died on the one yard line.

And that’s when the Marauders’ produced the drive of the game.

“This does a lot for team confidence with the comeback,” said Arno. “It will definitely give us a boost of confidence going on the road next week.”