On Thanksgiving morning, the Patriots traveled to Lexington for the 100th meeting between the historic rivals. Concord-Carlisle wasted no time to jump out to the lead in this contest. After taking the opening kickoff, it looked like the Pats opening drive might stall. But, faced with a 3rd and 12 from their own 19 yard line, Sr. QB Holden Miller hit Sr. TE/LB John Kielar in a crossing pattern and Kieler rumbled 81 yards through the Minutemen secondary for the first score of the game. Sr. K/P Will Law’s PAT made it 7-0 Patriots early in the opening quarter.
After the CC defense stepped up and forced a quick Lexington possession, the Miller to Kieler connection struck again with a big play early in this contest – this time a 40 yard connection all the way to the Minutemen 9 yard line. Two plays later, DCL Thorpe Offensive Player of the Year Sr. RB/DB Blake Newcomb scored on a 5 yard plunge and the PAT made it 14-0 Pats.
Lexington, behind Sr. QB Nelson Mendes-Stephen, tried to respond and managed a first down before the Pats defense forced a Lexington punt on a 3rd and long pass breakup by Soph. DB Matthew Carleton. On the punt, junior DE Aengus Wilson burst through the line to block the punt and Jr. LB Jayson DaRosa pounced on the ball putting the Pats back in business at the Lexington 3 yard line. It only took one play for Newcomb to score his 2nd rushing TD of the game (his 10th rushing TD of the season and 17th TD overall). The Law PAT pushed the Pats lead to 21-0 at the end of the first quarter.
The Pats continued to push the play in the 2nd. After Lexington had its first big play of the game and looked poised to tighten the contest, the CC defense stiffened deep in Pats territory. Sr. DE Jason Lu, who terrorized the Minutemen offense all day long with 2.5 sacks and numerous other QB pressures, sacked Mendes-Stephen for a 19 yard loss on 4th down at the CC 20.
That’s where the Pats offense took over and marched 61 yards in only seven plays with a 24 yard TD strike from Miller to Soph. WR Will Hoover put the Pats up 28-0 (after the Law PAT). The defense made another big play with Lu jumping on Mendes-Stephen yet again with a sack that forced a fumble that Sr. DL Caleb Randle jumped on to give CC the ball in good field position at their own 45.
Five plays later (including a 17 yard scamper by Sr. RB/DB Jack Carnes), DCL Thorpe Offensive Lineman of the Year Sr. Kevin Wright lined up in the backfield and rumbled in for a 6 yard TD. The Law PAT pushed the Pats lead to 35-0. Lexington scored on a 33 yard TD strike late in the half to cut the lead to 35-6 at the half.
There was an anxious moment in the 3rd quarter for CC. After Lexington scored on an 8 yard run to cut the lead to 35-13, the Minutemen appeared to jump on an offsides kick. But the play was ruled offsides and, after a bench penalty pushed Lexington further back, Carleton jumped on the Lexington re-kick and took the wind out of any possible comeback. The teams traded possessions throughout the rest of the half as CC cruised down the stretch for the win.
With the win, the Patriots moved back to 6-5 for another winning season including the team’s first Division 2 playoff appearance (since the 2020 realignment) and sole possession of 2nd place in the Dual County League’s Thorpe Division. Congrats to the 21 seniors that have set such a high standard for the rest of the program!