LEOMINSTER — It may be just three games into the season, but the numbers that the Leominster High football team is putting up are certainly eye-popping.
Going into Friday night’s contest with Nashoba Regional at Doyle Field, the Blue Devils had outscored their two opponents, 90-6. Things were no different this week as Leominster posted a 27-0 shutout victory over the Wolves.
With the win, Leominster ran its record to 3-0, while Nashoba fell to 1-2. Both teams will be on the road next week as the Blue Devils visit Shepherd Hill and the Wolves will travel to Malden to take on Malden Catholic.
“The effort of these kids has been amazing,” said Leominster head coach Devin Gates. “Every week is just like a business-like approach. They are really focused on getting better every week. We put the previous game to bed on Monday, and they do a good job of improving on mistakes during the week.”
The standout on this night was senior captain Ricky Encarnacion. The 6-foot-2 senior did it both through the air and on the ground. Encarnacion had touchdown receptions of 20 and 13 yards and put the game out of reach with an electrifying 50-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter.
“I think Encarnacion is the most dynamic player in Central Mass. and he is a great student and even better kid to boot,” Gates said. “I am happy he is our captain and the kids just need to follow his lead. For him to have a night like this is special.”
Leominster’s Braden Martin scored what proved to be the game-winning touchdown on the first possession of the game when he capped off a nine-play drive that covered 64 yards when he sprinted in untouched a little under five minutes in.
While the offense may have been dynamic, it was the Blue Devils’ defense that really deserves to be in the spotlight. Leominster has given up six points in just three games after the shutout, and Nashoba didn’t pick it its initial first down until 3:40 left in the third quarter.
“The guys believe in what we are doing,” Gates said. “They have a ton of confidence right now, and there are a ton of guys that are stepping up to the plate on the defensive side.”