By Varun Tekur
FRAMINGHAM – For Framingham’s 8th grade football players, Sunday marked the last time that they would be taking the field on Framingham Youth Football and Cheer’s opening weekend.
Ready to enjoy this special day one last time, the team was eager to make a statement with a win against the Norwood Mustangs.
The Flyer defense played with intensity right out of the gate, as powerful tackles by Antone Costa and Rodrigo Ramirez quickly forced the Norwood offense to punt on their first possession. Antonio Rivera’s explosive punt return then gave the Framingham offense the ball at the Norwood 20 yard line, but the Flyers failed to reach the end zone on their first drive of the game and turned the ball over on downs at Norwood’s 15 yard line. Framingham linebacker Adam Al-Namarari made tackles all over the field on the Mustangs’ next drive, keeping the game scoreless and allowing the Flyers to maintain their energy and excitement. Later in the 1st quarter, Flyer Quarterback Cody Coleman got the offense rolling with a 23 yard run and followed this up with a 10 yard run early in the 2nd quarter. However, the Flyers once again lost possession of the ball close to the end zone when they fumbled at Norwood’s 18 yard line.
Framingham was finally able to grab hold of the lead on their third drive, as another stellar punt return by Rivera set up a 19 yard touchdown run by Coleman. Coleman’s 2-point kick finish the drive put the Flyers up 8-0 with 6:37 left in the 1st half (in American Youth Football, a kick after a touchdown is worth 2 points and a run or pass is worth one point, the opposite of high school, college, and professional football). Framingham’s shutout continued through the first half with the help of many key tackles by Timothy Sullivan, and Norwood had no answer for bulldozing Flyer running back Jaques Cazeau.
The Flyers scored once more before the end of the 2nd quarter on a 26 yard touchdown pass from Coleman to Xavier Musson, and they led the Mustangs 14-0 heading into halftime.
Framingham’s offense continued to steamroll through the Norwood defense in the 3rd quarter, as running by Cazeau and Coleman led to a 15 yard touchdown pass from Coleman to Scott Beverly that put Framingham up 20-0. Kevin Rodrigues and Jackson Zanella stepped up for the Framingham defense with several superb tackles throughout the rest of half, but Norwood managed to get on the board with a 5 yard touchdown pass with 7:07 left in the final quarter. This would be the last of Norwood’s scoring, though, as the Flyers held their lead for the rest of the game and won 20-7.
Next week, the 8th graders look to add a second win to their total when they take on Natick at home.
Make sure to come out to the Framingham State University Football Field on Sunday for a highly anticipated set of rivalry games, which begin at 8 A.M. and run through the late afternoon.
Photo from a game last season