The Concord-Carlisle High School Patriots have historically had their way with the Bedford Buccaneers (6-4) — but history does not always repeat.
The Pats went into last Friday night’s non-playoff matchup against Bedford (which had been eliminated in the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association Division 4 playoffs a week earlier) with an 11-game win streak in the series going into last year’s clash (a 35-28 Bedford win at CC). But the Bucs have flipped the script on CC for the second win in a row, this time a 33-19 win in Bedford.
The loss dropped CC to 4-6 (3-2 Dual County League) on the season and will send the Patriots to a losing season for the first time since the 5-6 2017 squad and only the third sub .500 campaign in the past 15 years.
For the second week in a row, the usually sure-handed Patriots caught the turnover bug (with three giveaways and no takeaways for the second straight game). Bedford converted CC’s turnovers into 21 points in this contest.
As was the case in several games this season, the Patriots found themselves facing an early deficit in this contest. After CC’s first turnover, a fumble on the Pats’ opening drive, Bedford became the seventh team in the past eight games to score on their first possession against the CC defense as the Bucs went 41 yards in six plays with an 8-yard touchdown strike putting the Bucs up 7-0 only three minutes into the contest.
It got worse quickly for CC on the ensuing kickoff as the Bucs recovered a bouncing ball on a tough squib kick for their second takeaway of the game. Bedford wasted little time in taking advantage and scored three plays later on a 17-yard touchdown pass and it was a 14-point deficit for the Patriots while some Pats fans were still settling into their seats on a cold November evening in Bedford.
The Patriots offense pushed back on their next possession. Senior quarterback Ryan Fivek (183 yards passing and 2 touchdowns on the day) got the team moving with three straight completions to junior running back Matthew Carleton as the Pats went 63 yards on only six plays with a Fivek 32-yard strike to a streaking junior wide receiver Will Hoover for Hoover’s 10th receiving touchdown of the season. The two-point conversion failed but CC had cut the Bucs deficit to 14-6.
The second quarter opened with Bedford on the move as the Bucs responded with a determined rushing attack (the Bucs had 199 rushing yards on the day). Despite some big stops by seniors defensive end Aengus Wilson (7 tackles on the day), linebacker Ryan DeMayo (10 tackles) and the team’s leading tackler, sophomore linebacker Eric Nick (14 tackles), the Bucs marched 64 yards on 10 plays and ate up almost six minutes with a 3-yard touchdown run pushing the Bedford led to 21-6. Again, the Pats offense responded. A big 42-yard gain on a bullet from Fivek to Hoover (Hoover’s 50th catch of the season) helped set up a 17-yard Fivek strike to junior stretch tight end Taylor Ladd, who scored his first varsity touchdown, and cut the Bucs lead to 21-12 at the half.
The teams traded possessions through the third quarter with both teams having drives stall out because of penalties and some big defensive stops on both sides. But Bedford was able to break through with a 34-yard run late in the 3rd and enter the final frame up 27-12. The Patriots fought back to get within one score after DeMayo rumbled across from 15 yards out to cut the Bedford led to 27-19 early in the fourth (DeMayo’s 13th rushing touchdown and team leading 14th touchdown overall). However, Bedford quickly answered with a 58-yard catch and ran through the Pats secondary for a touchdown that gave us our 33-19 final score.
The Junior Varsity Patriots ended their campaign on Saturday with a 14-0 shutout of Lexington to finish at 6-4 on the season. The freshman also shut out Lexington on Saturday morning with an 8-0 whitewash of the Minutemen to finish their season at 4-5. Congrats to the JV and freshmen players on solid seasons!
The Patriots conclude their 2023 campaign on Thanksgiving morning as they host Lexington at 10 a.m. in the 102nd meeting between the teams (CC holding a 51-42-7 all-time record vs. Lexington and a 27-18-4 record on Thanksgiving matchups).