Freshman Eason saves day for Methuen in win over Lawrence

·4 min read

Oct. 23—LAWRENCE — Understandably, Methuen freshman Shane Eason had a mixed reaction when he found out that he'd be in the starting backfield for Friday night's MVC battle at Lawrence.

"I was nervous, but I was also excited," said Eason, whose brother, Drew, is the Rangers' starting quarterback as a sophomore.

When the game was over, and Methuen had held on for a 15-12 victory, Shane was mostly excited, and with good reason. He not only scored Methuen's first touchdown on a 5-yard run and led all rushers with 107 yards on 21 carries but he helped thwart Lawrence in the fourth quarter.

Lawrence seemed to have the momentum when, after dominating in the third quarter and early in the fourth, only to have drives halted by an interception and a fumble, it scored with 7:25 left to play on a 17-yard pass from Jayden Abreu to Julian Rosario.

At that point, the Lancers' offense seemed to be clicking and destined to score again before time ran out.

But, thanks largely to Shane Eason, Lawrence never got the ball again.

Taking over at its own 37-yard-line after a nice run-back by Braeden Carter (who also had an interception), Methuen succeeded in driving the ball right down the field to run out the clock, mostly on runs by Shane Eason, who carried 10 times for 37 tough yards, often putting his head down for an extra yard or two.

"I had a lot of energy left and the offensive line really helped me," said Shane, who was filling in for banged-up JP Muniz.

Methuen coach Tom Ryan was impressed with his freshman's performance.

"He became a big boy tonight," said Ryan, who expects Muniz to return next week against North Andover. "He ran hard even when he took some big hits. You're going to see his name a lot in the next few years. He really stepped up when we needed him."

Helping the Rangers' cause on the last drive were two Lawrence penalties, a 15-yard pass interference penalty on a key 3rd down and an offside penalty.

Penalties were a huge problem all night for the Lancers. Their offensive line struggled from the start and Lawrence wound up with 15 penalties for 101 yards, none bigger than a holding call in the second quarter that nullified a 90-yard kickoff return by Andy Medina.

"Very frustrating — we should have won this game," said Lawrence coach Rhandy Audate. "The penalties just killed us. We'd get the momentum and then mental things hurt us. They're a good team but I feel like we gave it to them.

"We have to do a better job of being disciplined."

Lawrence took the lead in the first quarter when Estarling Morales burst through the line for a 24-yard run, but led only 6-0 when it missed a conversion run.

Methuen took the lead for good in the second quarter. Shane Eason got his rushing touchdown on the first play of the frame and then, after a Lawrence offside, Drew Eason snuck in for two points and an 8-6 lead.

The Rangers extended the lead to 15-6 later in the quarter when Anesti Touma scored from 8 yards out on a sneaky shovel pass. That capped a 63-yard drive, the key play being a 35-yard pass to Will McKinnon.

And that was all the scoring Methuen could manage as it had troubles of its own, especially in the second half, fumbling twice and suffering an interception on three straight possessions.

But the Rangers were able to hang tough on their last drive and that proved to be the difference.

"This was not a clean game and we were sloppy at times, " said Ryan, who praised the defense of Joe Jean and Touma among others. "But we had some kids step up for guys out with injuries and we did enough to win.

"But we're going to need to play better than this."

In addition to Muniz being out, fullback Alex Borelli was also out of the starting backfield for Methuen with Joe Pinta ably taking his place.

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Methuen 15, Lawrence 12

Methuen (5-2): 0 15 0 0 — 15

Lawrence (4-3): 6 0 0 6 — 12

First Quarter

L — Estarling Morales 24 run (rush failed), 4:52

Second Quarter

M — Shane Eason 5 run (Drew Eason run), 11:56

M — Anesti Touma 8 pass from Drew Eason (Omar Aboutoui kick), 2:55

Fourth Quarter

L — Julian Rosario 17 pass from Jayden Abreu (pass failed), 7:25

INDIVIDUAL LEADERS

RUSHING: Methuen (27-111) — Shane Eason 21-107, Drew Eason 6-4; Lawrence (23-133) — Jayden Abreu 1-6, Jayzius Perez 5-13, Jadiel Gomez 5-46, Estarling Morales 8-48, Andy Medina 2-10, Joenel Figueroa 2-10

PASSING: M — Drew Eason 7-13-0, 84; L — Abreu 11-15-1, 73, Herrera 0-1-0, 0; Rosario 0-1-0, 0

RECEIVING: M — Jason Silverio 2-16, Shane Eason 2-15, Will McKinnon 2-45, Anesti Touma 1-8; L — Jaydes Cartagena 1-(-2), Frendy Soler 1-11, Julian Rosario 3-33, Andy Medina 3-8, Janiel Herrera 2-23

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