Red Raiders drill Sci-Tech

ATHOL – There may be some teams left with unblemished records, but the Athol High School football team made it clear that it plans to be in the conversation regarding the Intercounty League championship.

The Red Raiders performed close to flawlessly on both sides of the ball as they upended the hapless High School of Science and Technology, 41-0 on a windswept Homecoming Friday afternoon at O’Brien Field.

Athol came in a heavy favorite against a porous Sci-Tech defense which had already given up 118 points on the season, including 48 last week at Turners Falls. The Red Raiders were only too happy to add to that tally which they did on their first offensive series when junior quarterback Jerry Parker ran it in from five yards out. Senior captain Jake Lajoie booted the extra point to make it 7-0

If it were a prizefight, the referees might have stopped it there, because the differences between the two teams in terms of skill level and intensity were obvious. Athol found the end zone on the next series, when Lajoie took it in from two yards out, finishing with his own extra point kick to make it 14-0. The Red Raiders would strike again early in the second quarter when Parker hit Dakota Melanson down the right sideline for a 45-yard touchdown pass. Lajoie’s kick sailed wide left to keep the score 2-0.

Athol would extend the lead just before the half, when Parker hit junior Andrew Poor with a slant pass which he legged down the left sideline for a 37-yard score. Lajoie’s extra-point kick made it 27-0 heading into the halftime break.

Sci-Tech stuck mostly to a run-based offense, with not much success, generating only 41 yards of total offense, 19 on the ground. The Cybercats also turned the ball over four times on fumbles, matching last week’s performance at Turners. On a positive note, quarterback Tyleek Edwards went 2-for-3 passing, but had a tough time getting on the same page with his running backs, who seemed confused at times in the wake of pressure from the swarming Red Raider defensive line.

Defensively, Sci-Tech was no match for the Raiders, who put up 323 yards in total offense, 143 of which came through the air.

Athol scored again on the first offensive series of the second half, when Parker hooked up with Melanson again for a 10-yard touchdown. Athol would round out the scoring on the next series when Jon Roberston ran it in from the 19. Lajoie’s extra point kick created the 41-0 final.

“Our kids came out kept up the intensity and played well, so I’m proud of them,” Athol Coach Matt Gauvin said. “They’ve been working hard, and they are getting better every week, and this is another step forward.”

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