Football loses highly contested battle against Waltham in season opener


Jacob Wu

Football fell 23-20 to Waltham in the season opener Saturday, Sept. 10, away, in a nail biter that ultimately ended in disappointment.

“We are a better and different team than last year, despite the hard-fought loss, we’re going to bring it to practice every day, every week,” said senior Noah Wastcoat, a captain with seniors Sam Brambilla, Brandon Kasaganygi, Adam Landry, and Brad McNew. 

In the first half, the Tigers marched to the 20-yard line before a Waltham player stripped the ball away from senior Akeale Rather. However, immediately after committing the turnover, Rather intercepted Waltham senior Jack Renaud. North then scored on a fade ball from Landry to senior Brendan O’Guin in the back of the end zone, putting the Tigers up 7-0. 

After halftime, the score still 7-0, Waltham began with the ball. They used their counter run game to advance the ball to North’s side of the field, but couldn’t deliver the ball into the endzone. Waltham elected to take the field goal rather than risk turning the ball over, raising the score to 7-3.

On the kickoff after the score, O’Guin took it to the house on a kick return touchdown similar to the one he had against Waltham the year before. Senior Johannes Shull then booted the extra point in to turn the game into a two-score game.

After some back and forth, North got the ball back. After two unsuccessful plays to start the drive, a beautifully thrown deep shot by Landry was dropped on what could’ve been the dagger in the game. Waltham utilized their strong run game to score a quick touchdown turning the match back into a one-score game of 14-9.

With five minutes left in the game, Waltham scored on a tight window throw against good coverage, but couldn’t convert the two-point conversion making the score 14-15. Desperately needing a score North was blessed with good field positioning after a squib kick on the kickoff, but after a false start penalty and two throwaways, they found themselves in a crucial third down play. Landry was able to deliver a strike to the sidelines to McNew for a first down. With their backs against the wall after a holding penalty brought the Tigers back into no man’s land, Landry threw up a 50-yard prayer which was answered by senior Luca Mancone, resulting in the Tigers taking the lead 20-15.

With momentum and a clock on their sides, it seemed like the Tigers would pull through. All they needed to do was prevent the deep pass, which they did for the first couple of Waltham plays. But on a hawks play-action, deep shot number 17 on Waltham broke free on a post route. Renaud threw a good ball that was caught for a touchdown. With only a minute left in the game, the touchdown sealed the deal for Waltham.

“Although we didn’t win the game, some positives were we really got to show off our special teams and how we can capitalize off other teams’ mistakes. The negative of the game was that we worked our hardest this week and it just didn’t pay off,” said junior Adam Leib, who plays safety.

At the end of the game, Waltham was presented with the dot con trophy given to the winner of the game. “Losing the trophy to Waltham is something that I can’t forgive myself for, but there’s no help in feeling sorry for ourselves when we have the rest of the season ahead of us. Weymouth is the next test,” said Brambilla.

North, 0-1, will face Weymouth Saturday, Sept. 17 at home.