When senior running back Max Jones scored his second touchdown of the game mid-way through the third quarter, it finally appeared that Belmont High School Football was turning the corner from a team hoping just to be competitive to one on the verge of taking over a game by the scruff of the neck.
Jones’ five-yard run “right up the gut” at 6:16 brought the Marauders within 7 points of host Bedford High School, 28-21, on Friday, Sept. 19, after Belmont’s defense stuffed the Buccaneers on the first three plays of the third quarter and then took advantage of a muffed punt to put the ball deep in Bedford’s end.
“Our guys seized the momentum. It was great,” Belmont’s first-year Head Coach Yann Kumin told the Belmontonian after the game.
But after the resulting kickoff, Belmont’s defense would not leave the field for nearly nine minutes as Bedford grounded out a sustained drive that lasted the entire quarter and then some. Three times Belmont put the Buccaneers in a third or fourth down (4th and 2 yards, 3rd and 5 and 8) only to see Bedford use its stellar rushing attack to convert each time.
“There were a couple of times when we really couldn’t seem to get off the field. We did have some great stops in the first half and then shot ourselves in the foot. That’s just a young and inexperienced player making a mistake,” said Kumin.
Despite the 35-21 loss to the Buccaneers (3-1), Kumin said the goal for the game was to show progress from the last game, which the Marauders showed everywhere on the field.
“I’m really proud how the guys played football tonight. There is a fight in this team,” he said.
After being overwhelmed by a quick Stoneham team in the opener a week earlier, Belmont could not have started the game any more brightly as Jones took the handoff from sophomore Quarterback Cal Christofori down the right sideline 65 yards for a touchdown on the first offensive play of the game.
“[Jones] is just a tremendous athlete and one of the hardest working guys we have on our team. At any moment when he has the football in his hands, he can make something explosive happen. But he also ground out some tough yards for us,” said Kumin.
Behind the running tandem of Aaron Lee (243 yards) and Jake Eliason (107 yards), Bedford grounded out a 28-7 lead in the second quarter until Belmont RB Jamar Paul scored off a slant after a Christofori 35-yard pass to RB/WR Robby Aiello put the ball deep into Buccaneers territory.
Kumin said a great deal of the offense’s success this week lies at the feet of the line, as they “came together tonight as a unit. We talk about about those guys as not being individuals but as all five as one. They worked for us every step of the way.”
And after both sides of the line for Belmont contributed to the third score, momentum appeared ready to move to Belmont’s side of the field.
But the four-year varsity veteran Lee was able to exploit the young left side of Belmont’s defense during his team’s journey down field before scoring with eight minutes remaining in the game. By the time the Marauders got the ball, Bedford’s aggressive defense along with a few blown plays and an ill-advised penalty, stalled Belmont’s chances.
Next up for the Marauders is, once again, an away game, this time to Division 1 Lexington High School on Saturday, Sept. 27 at 1:30 p.m.
“Times are bright in Belmont,” Kumin told his team after the game.
“Don’t you lose faith in this program. Don’t you lose faith in this staff. Let’s go home like men, our heads up.”