For most high school football players, there are few stages bigger than the annual Thanksgiving Day game.
Squaring off with a rival for what in all likelihood is the last game of the season. … What could be better?
And over the years, we’ve been treated to some spectacular performances in the Turkey Day clashes. This year was no different.
Several teams saw their stars step up on Thursday morning (or Wednesday evening) and it’s now time to highlight them.
Leominster’s Osiris Lopez
The Blue Devils put a hurting on Fitchburg at Doyle Field and the freshman quarterback was right in the middle of it all. Lopez was 10-18 passing for 161 yards and four touchdowns in the 40-8 victory, adding 63 rushing yards on nine carries.
Save for one interception, Lopez made all the right reads. And to show just how well things went for the 15-year-old, when Lopez was rocked by a Fitchburg defender at the goal line in the second quarter, the ball popped out of his hands and right into the waiting arms of classmate Kaiden Drinkwater in the end zone. Lopez could do no wrong in his first Thanksgiving Day classic.
The offense certainly went off against the Red Raiders, but don’t overlook the dominance of Leominster’s defense in the win. The Blue Devils allowed 85 yards of total offense, with Fitchburg’s lone touchdown coming on a drive aided by a 15-yard facemask penalty.
The Blue Devils came up with four sacks on the day, with Jiovanni Roman notching a pair. Delmahr Wright recovered a fumble. Bryan Aguilar, Steven Diaz and Braden Martin each picked off a pass. Leominster came in with a strong defensive game plan and executed it to near perfection.
St. Bernard’s Damien Jones
Brace yourself for some eye-popping numbers: 214 yards and four touchdowns. That’s what Jones put up in the Bernardians’ 48-20 win over St. Paul on Wednesday night. And what makes it even more remarkable is that the senior running back did it in one half of football.
Jones has been an absolute beast this season, piling up 1,693 yards and 27 touchdowns in 11 games and he’s not done just yet. He and the Bernardians still have the Division 7 championship game against West Boylston looming on Friday.
Monty Tech’s Logan Quinn
One of Monty Tech’s four captains, Quinn came up big against a strong Nashoba Tech side on Wednesday night, leading the Bulldogs to a 44-8 victory in Fitchburg. The senior carried the ball 16 times for 170 yards and four touchdowns in the thrashing.
Quinn and the Bulldogs will take the field on more time this season, facing Bay Path on Thursday for the Large School Vocational championship. Bay Path handed the Bulldogs one of their three losses this season, a 43-36 defeat on Sept. 30.
Oakmont Regional’s Sam Curtis and Isaiah Smith
If this tandem is remembered for just one play, let it be the Hail Mary that Curtis delivered to Smith as time expired on Thursday’s game against Lunenburg. With the game tied, the 40-yard heave found Smith’s hands in the end zone and lifted the Spartans to a 41-35 victory.