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.

Sports: Two Late Goals Gives Boys’ Hockey Thrilling Tie against Reading

Photo: Belmont’s assistant captain senior Evan Biette celebrates the first goal vs. Reading.

The Belmont High Boys’ Ice Hockey may have kept their fans on the edge of their seats until late in their home match with Reading Memorial High on Saturday, Jan. 16.

And with less than six minutes to go, two team captains sent the Belmont supporters leaping out of those same seats as the Marauders (4-4-2) roared back from two goals down to tie Rockets, 3-3, in an afternoon mantinee thriller at the Skip. 

“For our guys, we’ve been waiting for a turning point where they realize they can win against the top teams in the league. And I have been waiting for them to respond like this and I’m hoping that we have tuned that corner,” said Belmont’s first year Head Coach Fred Allard. 

Senior forward Dave Bailey’s shot from the right of the goal beat Reading’s junior goalie Devon Bruzzese on the power play with 3 minutes 51 seconds left in the game to secure the valuable one point to the one loss but five tie Rockets (3-1-5). The play started with a smart reaction on the blue line from junior defender Adam Cronin who found fellow defender, big Kevin Quick, who set Bailey up with the tough angle shot.

Bailey’s goal came 98 seconds after senior co-captain Cole Michael got the Marauders within a goal with a shot by Bruzzese’s glove from a great assist by sophomore linemate Steve Rizzuto. 

Belmont was able to stay in the game in large part due to the smooth and steady goaltending of junior Cal Christofori who was helped by a few cross bars saves. While the Rockets were able to pepper Christofori in the first two periods, many of the shots were from distance due to the hard work from senior defenders co-captain Trey Butler and assistant captain Evan Biette to deny Reading’s forwards from collecting passes inside the slot.

It was Biette who put Belmont on top, 1-0, against the run of play with 2:48 left in the first period who, like Bailey, scored from a tight left side shot. 

Reading’s top players which brought the Rockets back in the second period as junior Matt Thomson and junior speedster Kevin Tobin scored; Thomson pushing the puck past a prone Christofori who appeared to have made the save and Tobin showing some skating magic on the power play.

After Belmont went down by a pair early in the second, the Marauders appeared to be on the assent, just missing out on a second goal mid-way through the final 15 minutes from a quick whistle as the puck was bouncing around the goal mouth before rolling in. 

Saying it “is a great group who now have to believe in themselves,” Allard said the team has one goal for the season; 20 points.

“We’re ten points from qualifying for the [MIAA post-season] tournament,” said Allard. “We have 20 points on the [drawing] board [in the locker room] and we are knocking the points off towards that goal which will be a return to the tournament in five years. It’s that simple. Keep knocking the points off until where at zero.” 

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Trio Leads Belmont Girls’ Track By Reading in Spring Opener

Photo: 100 meters.

A pair of personal bests in the throws, two wins on the infield and a double in the sprints allowed Belmont High School Girls’ Spring Track to rocket by Reading High in the home opening meet on a warm and sunny Monday, April 13 at Harris Field.

With three events remaining, the Reading coaches came over to congratulate Belmont’s Head Coach Melissa Glotzbecker as the Marauders held a 72-45 point lead.

“This is a really great opportunity just to start off the season since we didn’t finish our first meet [due to a sudden snow storm],” said Glotzbecker.

“It’s a great measure to see how people are performing and how all their hard work is paying off. So we’re actually excited where people are at and for the rest of the season,” she said.

The top performance came from junior Katrina Rokosz who make significant personal records in both the javelin and shot.

“It was a pretty good day,” said Rokosz, who won the javelin by nearly 40 feet with a throw of 107.3 feet and finished first in the shot with a throw of 26 feet, 8  1/2 inches.

“I’ve been working a lot with javelin with a teammate and that has helped a lot because we trade tips which is great,” said Rokosz. In the shot, she’s got some sage advice from someone close to home.

“My dad use to throw the shot and his tips were great,” she said.

Rokosz was joined by Anoush Krafian and Julia Cella as duel winners on the day. Krafian – the best freshman high jumpers in the state and a national finalist – took home her speciality clearing 5 feet, 1 inch as well as coming in first in the long jump with a 16 foot, 10 inch effort.

On the track, sophomore Cella, coming off a second place in the 200 meter state Div. 2 outdoor championships last year, took the sprint double, winning the 100 meter in 12.8 seconds (with Krafian in second in 13.4) and the 200 in 26.9 seconds.

Other strong performances included a dominating run by Meggie MacAulay to win the 400 meters wire to wire in 1 minute, 3.9 seconds, Kayla Magno took the 400 meter hurdles in 1:09.7 and Rachel Berets finished top in the 100 meter hurdles in 16.9 seconds.