Football falls short in back and forth vs. Shepard Hill


Jonny Ratner

As junior running back Rio Ferguson sheds tackles from his opponent Shepard Hill, he pushes his way up field while keeping control of the ball under his arm. The football team ended up losing this tight game 41-38.

Andrew Roberts, Staff Writer

Scoring 30 more points than they did in their first game at Doherty, the football team lost the home opener game in an exciting back and forth offensive shootout 41-38 to the Shepherd Hill Rams on Saturday, Sept. 21. 

“When we scored a lot, I was getting super excited,” sophomore left tackle Brett Jolley said. “I’ve never been that happy before.” 

Algonquin’s offense was strong in all areas.  Early on, they relied on the running back duo of juniors Rio Ferguson and Cassius Clay.  Each of them rushed for 70+ yards and a touchdown.  

“I think we have a lot of talent in the backfield, and we have a lot of depth,” junior running back Pedro Ribeiro said.  “We have so many different guys that can play so many different positions. If one of us gets tired, we know that the next person up can do the job and do the job well.”

Later in the game, senior quarterback Riley Greenwald made some big plays throwing the ball.  He utilized many different teammates, including senior wide receivers Nick Alessi and Tom Geoffrion and senior tight end Derek Blanchard.  Greenwald threw two touchdowns, one to Alessi and one to Blanchard.

“We spread the ball around to some of our play makers, and we made some big time plays when we really needed it,” Head Coach Taylor Allen said.

The Rams offense was one-dimensional, but it worked well.  Shepherd Hill senior quarterback Ethan Quinn threw just one ball successfully, which was a touchdown pass to senior running back and wide receiver Nathaniel Cooper.  However, Cooper ran for 200 yards and three touchdowns. Two of those touchdowns were scored after 40+ yard rushes.

Cooper was far from the only running back to succeed against the Algonquin defense.  Senior Tyler Brassard also rushed for over 100 yards, including a 45 yard rush that put the Rams just a few yards from the end zone.  Shepherd Hill seniors Gabe Dos Santos and Anthony Oriente also made an impact. 

Shepherd Hill’s offense was extremely fast-paced.  They would sometimes run two to three plays in just a minute.  They scored go-ahead touchdowns with one being a minute to go in the half and another being just three minutes to go in the game. 

The Tomahawks had a 38-34 lead with about five minutes to go.  When Shepherd Hill got the ball, Brassard ran for 45 yards and nearly scored a touchdown.  However, the Rams failed to score in each of the next 3 plays. On fourth down, Shepherd Hill finally scored the touchdown that would lead them to victory 

Algonquin had a minute to drive down the field, but as opposed to previous drives, they were stopped by the Shepherd Hill defense.  This caused them to lose the ball in a turnover on downs, leading to the Rams victory.  

Junior right tackle Jakob Buedel feels that Algonquin’s offense did great, but still has room for improvement.

“I think the line did a good job, but we just need to focus more on staying on our blocks,” Buedel said.

Up next for the team is their homecoming game on Sept. 28, as they face the 2-0 Groton-Dunstable Crusaders.  The team defeated the Crusaders last year, but they have improved this season. 

“I’m looking forward to seeing these kids go out in competing  the way they’re capable of,” Allen said. “They showed it on Saturday against Shepherd Hill, we just have to finish the game.  We have a great opportunity against a good Groton-Dunstable team. They’re 2-0, we’re 0-2. We’re going to set the tone against them and hopefully we can get on a roll.”