Marauders Steamrolled In Turkey Day Game Vs Watertown

Photo: Belmont’s Tyler Arno (7), Kevin Logan (8) and Chris Cogliano (1) swarm tackles Watertown’s Mason Andrade who was the Marauders’ nemeisis all game long as Belmont fell to host Watertown, 25-0, on Thanksgiving.

The cool steely gray skies over Victory Field in Watertown was the apt dower backdrop for the Belmont High Marauder Football team as host Watertown High Raiders took control early and won the 99th edition of the Thanksgiving game in the border rivalry, 25-0, snapping Belmont’s two-game Turkey Day win streak.

For first-year head coach Brian McCray, the season which started out with a promising 4-2 record ended with five losses as the competition improved which his Marauders couldn’t match.

“Over the season, it’s been up and down like a roller coaster,” McCray told the team after the game. “Obviously we didn’t get what we wanted at the end of the year. We battled as hard as we could over the whole season. It just felt like we didn’t have enough to change the game to our advantage.”

Mason Andrade, the Raiders’ senior running back who better resembles a linebacker in stature and physicality, claimed the man of the match with a pair of power touchdowns. Running behind an offensive line that held the height and size advantage over the Marauders – especially after Belmont defensive stalwart Jake Cornelius left with an injury – Andrade was a force running downhill almost entirely down the right side for most of the game, gobbling up yards and moving the sticks.

While the Marauders D did have a number of big-time stops against Andrade including his attempt of a two-point conversion in the second quarter, Belmont had a hard time consistently containing the Raiders’ offense: for every stop by the Marauders, Watertown would have two to three plays of four yards or greater. And when Belmont did halt Watertown in the red zone, the Raiders brought out sophomore kicker Rafael Magalhaes who nailed field goals of 23 and 24 yards.

On the other side of the ball, it was a rough day for Marauder sophomore QB Jayden Arno whose quarterback option runs didn’t fool the Raiders, at times resulting in the young signal-caller being slammed into the turf. Despite some success through the air – a very good pitch and catch with senior wideout Logan – the Marauders’ offense could not generate a sustained drive in any of the four quarters.

When the Marauders did cross midfield in the first quarter with a first down on the Raiders 44-yard line – a result of a 10-yard pass and catch to senior Brian Lasseter – a bad snap equaled a loss of 13 yards which effectively ended the drive.

One of the highlights for Belmont supporters was witnessing the final field performance from the Marauder marching band, a guest of the Watertown athletic department.

Despite the less than the satisfying end of the campaign, McCray does see a lot of upside coming next year, noting the return of his quarterback and promising running back (sophomore Adrien Gurung) most of the offensive and defensive lines and many of the linebackers. He also pointed to many younger players – who played on successful junior varsity and freshmen teams – who were slotted into varsity games due to injuries and gave them valuable game experience.

“I think it’s going to be a very bright future. Come see us next year,” said McCray.

What’s Open (Coffee,CVS), Closed In Belmont On Thanksgiving

Photo: Thanksgiving 2020 (credit: WebMD)

Thanksgiving during COVID-19 will be one in which so many families will be greeting relatives and those close to them over the internet and their phones as even small gatherings can be unsafe. It is a time to be thankful and to social distance while wearing a mask.

Town offices will be closed Thursday and Friday. The US Post Offices will be closed Thursday but open on Friday.

The MBTA’s commuter rail, subway and buses will run on a Sunday schedule.

  • Starbucks in Belmont Center and in Cushing Square will be open from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Dunkin’ Donuts: The store at Trapelo Road and Beech Street will be open “normal hours”: 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. The shop in Waverly Square on Church Street is open from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. and the store on Pleasant Street is in operation from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • CVS at 264 Trapelo Rd. is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. while the pharmacy is open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • CVS in Belmont Center on Leonard Street is operating from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. The pharmacy is closed.
  • Star Market in Waverley Square will be closed all day.

Belmont Football Wins Thanksgiving Tussle Over Watertown, 24-14, As Team Fulfills Pre-Season Goals

Photo: Belmont Head Coach Yann Kumin with his players after defeating Watertown on Thanksgiving.

There were four goals Belmont High Head Football Coach Yann Kumin sought to accomplish by the end of the 2019 season; three concerning the team and a very personal one.

The objectives on the field were to have the program’s first winning season since 2009, make the Division 3 North sectionals playoffs for consecutive years and beat neighboring rivals Watertown on “Turkey Day.”

And when Belmont senior QB Avery Arno took a knee with the team in the victory formation, Kumin’s team met all the preseason challenges presented to it in the heat of late August. A 6-4 season, a playoff game at Danvers and a 24-14 victory on a cold windswept Victory Field over hosts Watertown.

“This is the perfect ending of a perfect year,” Kumin told his team minutes after the conclusion of the game. “I love you guys. I’m so proud of what this team accomplished because it wasn’t an easy game to play.

But it was the unspoken goal that was the greatest accomplishment for the sixth-year coach; being diagnosed cancer-free after a summer of surgery and chemotherapy at Mass General Hospital. A lot lighter and with a lot less hair than his usual appearance, the end of the season was just the beginning of Kumin’s long recovery.

“I got so many emotions right now that I don’t really know how to feel as this is the hardest year of my life,” said Kumin after the game.

“I’m so lucky to have so many people making it possible for me to fight through it and give me something to come to work for every day and believing in us and believing in what we’re doing. You know, it’s really hard to put into words,” said Kumin as he held the game ball given to him by Belmont AD Jim Davis.

Belmont finished the season winning six of its final seven games, and had a 3-2 winning record against Middlesex Liberty opponents, a first for the program. The victory is the second in as many years for the Marauders which trails Watertown. 45-49-4 with one cancellation, in the 99 years of the rivalry.

Watertown came to the game with a simple defensive scheme: stop Belmont’s offensive juggernaut junior RB Chad Francis, who had scampered for more than 200 yards four times this season.

The Raiders’ commitment to putting eight players “in the box” to clog up the line of scrimmage put a damper on Francis’ ability for most of the game to find holes to run through. Consequently, the Raiders’ decision to focus on Francis allowed Belmont’s receivers to be covered “man-to-man” downfield which ultimately proved to be the difference at the end of the game.

“We just couldn’t really get … our run game going and that’s been our money all season,” said Kumin. “We’ve had a good [passing] game all season long and so we just went over the top. We saw some mismatches and kept going to it when we were in trouble and it worked out.”

It was all Watertown to start, throwing the playbook at Belmont with sweeps, dives into the line, short passes and finally a 35-yard pitch and catch TD from Watertown QB Brennan Cook to WR Will Dolan to give the Raiders’ a 7-0 lead with 3:35 left in the first quarter.

But Belmont’s defense settled down and had three consecutive series in which the Marauders stuffed Watertown’s attack including a stellar goal line stance after the Raiders’ had a first and goal from the 4-yard line.

Belmont finally got on the scoreboard when Arno hit junior WR Preston Jackson-Stephens with a 47-yard touchdown with 2:25 left in the first half to tie the game. The score came after the Raiders had a chance to extend their lead, but a first and goal from the four resulted in a missed field goal.

Belmont was able to uncork its running game early in the third quarter as it marched downfield behind Francis and senior FB Ryan Santoro. With a third and goal from the five, Arno located senior WR Zack Hubbard on a quick slant route – which the two used to win the Arlington game – to give Belmont the lead, 14-7, at the 6:06 mark.

Taking advantage of a three and out and a shanked punt that went 5 yards, Belmont‘s outstanding kicker Hampton Trout knocked through a 30-yard field goal into a stiff crosswind to extended the Marauders’ lead to 17-7 with 1:30 remaining in the third.

Watertown found its footing in the fourth quarter as the Raiders’ scored on an 18-yard touchdown pass from Cook to RB Karim Monroe with 8:26 left in the game to close the gap to three, 17-14. On its next possession, Watertown found it deep in the Marauders’ end with a first and 10 at the Belmont 29. But a penalty on first down, a flea-flicker pass that nearly worked on second down and a sack on third resulted in Watertown punting the ball to Belmont’s 13-yard line with 2:55 left in the game.

After failing the move the ball on the first two plays, Belmont faced a third down and 10 from the 13 when Kumin would say later was the best play call in his coaching life.

“It’s [called] the scissors with the ‘s’ vertical. This is one of our moneymaker combos but we added a little wrinkle that allowed the seam [the gap between two defenders] to open up,” he said.

And the call worked to perfection as Arno found junior WR Matt McHugh beyond the safety and cornerback for an 87-yard touchdown with 1:50 remaining. It was Arno’s second 87 yard TD pass in consecutive games.

For Kumin, the win was less a statement of what the Marauders had done this season but rather as a foundation for the program’s future.

“This is only the beginning. We’ve always said we completed phase one with last year’s class, and that this was the start of phase two which was to make runs in the Middlesex League and the D3 North bracket to win consistently on Turkey Day,” he said.

“We’re going to enjoy the heck out of it and then we’re going to get back to work and start getting ready for next year because you know we’re just really excited for where this program can go,” said Kumin.

Belmont High Football, At 5-4, Prepares For Watertown Riding High On Pair Of Wins

Photo: Preston Jackson Stephens at the receiving end of a 87 yard pass from QB Avery Arno for a touchdown.

When Belmont High Head Football Coach Yann Kumin met his team for the first time at the beginning of the season, he told them there were three goals they were going to strive for: winning, playoffs and a happy Thanksgiving Day.

Three months later on Thanksgiving Day week, Kumin and the team are a victory away from accomplishing the final two of their objectives.

After making the football playoffs for consecutive years, Belmont could secure its first winning season in more than a decade by beating its traditional rival Watertown (5-5) on Thanksgiving.

“We have two goals packed into one game,” said Kumin of his 5-4 team as it prepares for the annual grudge match this year at Watertown’s Victory Field at 10:15 a.m. “We have a team that has the ability to be explosive and effective on both sides of the ball. We’ll be prepared for our big game on Turkey Day.”

Belmont’s Head Coach “Q”

Belmont is riding high into Turkey Day after a pair of post-playoff victories against Malden Catholic and Beverly.

It’s what senior wide receiver Justin Rocha didn’t do which turned out to be the pivotal single play in Belmont’s 24-21 victory over Beverly High during a Nov. 16 Saturday matinee.

After Beverly High’s Duncan Moreland (who’ll be playing at Division 1 FCS University of New Hampshire next year) scored his third touchdown of the game early in the fourth quarter, it was up to Belmont’s offense to take as much time off the clock to stop the momentum the Panthers’ built in the final 12 minutes.

At the end of a critical third down play, a Beverly lineman went after Rocha with a couple of well-chosen arm chops to the head, then proceeded to clap his hands at Rocha. And through it all, the Belmont co-captain refused to retaliate.

All the better since a referee followed the altercation and flagged the Beverly player for a 15-yard personal foul penalty and a first down for the Marauders. And Rocha? He turned to the Belmont sideline with his shoulders and palms up and an “all’s good” look on his face.

A few plays later, a second Panther’s personal foul sealed a gritty victory by the Marauders.

Belmont QB Avery Arno

“I’m really proud of the guys showing they had cooler heads. It was really two big moments and not to react was the smart thing to do,” said Kumin after the game.

It looked early on that Belmont would walk away with the win as it dominated both ends of the field. After senior kicker Hampton Trout made a chip shot field goal to give Belmont the lead, 3-0, Belmont’s defense dominated the line forcing the Panther to go three and out.

Belmont’s senior QB Avery Arno sprung into action driving Belmont down the field before connecting with junior WR Matt McHugh for a 23-yard pass down the middle of the field. The Marauder’s next possession saw Belmont facing a third and long in the shadow of its own goal line when Arno found junior WR Preston Jackson Stephens streaking down the right sideline for a 87 yard TD.

Beverly came back behind Moreland and three interceptions to cut the score to 17-14 only to see Belmont’s all-purpose senior RB Chad Francis to take the majority of carries before running to increase Belmont’s lead to 24-14.

The Beverly win came after the Marauders in a thoroughly workmanlike manner defeated Malden Catholic, 28-7,

The final home game of the season saw Francis run for 206 yards on 28 carries, earning him his fourth mention in Boston’s daily papers this season as either a Star or Player of the Week.

Belmont RB Chad Francis