Photo: Belmont High sophomore WR Kevin Logan scored the Marauders first TD of the morning vs. Burlington in Belmont’s 26-7 victory.
It wasn’t the promised start to the home opener new Belmont High School football head coach Brian McCray was hoping for.
Originally to be held in an expected packed Harris Field under the Friday Night Lights, the contest against Burlington High was postponed due to a forecast of pending thunderstorms – that never materialized – and rescheduled for cartoon-friendly 10 a.m. Saturday morning. A few fans had drifted into the stands by kick off to see Burlington score on the very first play from scrimmage as dynamic senior running back Adam Eldeeb raced 65 yards down the left sideliine to give the Red Devils a 7-0 lead after 21 seconds.
“We started out very slow and sluggish start, that’s for sure. It seems that we need someone to score on us for us to start playing,” McCray said after addressing his team after the victory.
But Eldeeb early touchdown would be the final time Burlington (0-3) would cross the goal line as a strong defensive showing along with an effective run/pass mix result in 20 second half points as Belmont (2-1, 1-1 in the Middlesex League) secured the 26-7 home opening victory.
“We made a couple of adjustments on the offensive side that really helped us tremendously,” said McCray. “Our conditioning also showed as we had nobody really tired so we were able to make those adjustments and that made all the difference at the end of the game,” he said.
A sophomores accounted for a pair of Belmont’s four touchdowns as running back Adrien Gurung scampered for runs of 62 and 64 yards while big senior wide receiver Kevin Logan was on the end of two strikes from senior quarterback Ryan Broderick, the first when he out jumping a defender with 54 seconds to go in the second quarter to knot the score at 7 at halftime.
Gurung’s second 100+ yard game – the first vs. Cambridge – was made up of a majority of hit the middle of the line behind senior Tony Zhao, sophomore Ryan Holloran and junior Asa Rosenmeier, and gut out a handful of yards. But when the opportunity opened before him, the sophomore used his quickness to pop through a gap and outdistanced the Red Devil DBs in the third (on the first play of the half) and fourth quarters.
It took a while for Broderick to click with Logan but its was hard to miss the 6’5”, 205 lbs tower over anyone trying to defend him. Broderick found the sophomore in the flats for 35 yards before launching a jump ball 15 yards into the end zone that Logan out jumped the back at the end of the second. The Broderick/Logan combo hooked up a second time on a slant pattern from five yards out.
On the defensive side, Belmont was able to bottle up the Red Devil backfield while halting Burlington each of the five times it attempted to move the sticks on fourth down including on their second possession deep in Belmont territory. Sophomore Max Cornelius was particularly effective clogging up the middle and hauling down Burlington runners at the line including on two big plays early in the second quarter while the defense’s second Cornelius, junior linebacker Jake Cornelius, was in the backfield making a big shoe string take down to force a fourth down which Belmont would stop.
”The kids really believe in the defense we are trying to do. They’re very aggressive and we coach them to be in the best position possible to make plays and they seem to do that today,” said McCray.
The Marauders had two big take aways in the morning, a fumble recovery by sophomore Brian Logan on one of Burlington’s fourth down attempts and a Taylor Arno interception where the senior defensive back launched skyward to cut off Ronan Noke’s pass to give Belmont the ball leading to the team’s first TD.
Next up for Belmont is a home encounter with powerhouse Reading (3-0) a top-10 team (in the Boston Globe and Boston Herald Top-20) that scrapped by Danvers last week.
”It’s a great opportunity for us. It will be a test so we have got to study hard. And when you study hard, sometimes you pass,” said McCray. “So we’re hoping that this week we’ll get an ‘A’ on the test.”