CUMBERLAND --- Give Cumberland’s ‘D’ an ‘A’ for its excellent performance against Central on Friday night.
The Clippers limited the speedy Knights to just 117 yards of offense and only two trips inside Cumberland’s 30 en route to a well-deserved shutout and a 28-0 victory in their Division II-B meeting at Tucker Field.
Offensively, senior quarterback Brendan Guerin also earned high grades spinning the laces, completing 11 of his 18 passes for 129 yards and three touchdowns, but the story of this night was the Clippers’ defense.
Junior linebacker Chris Hayes did a little bit of everything with eight tackles, an interception, and a half sack, and Trent Vasey (seven tackles, two sacks), Jared Talbert (fumble recovery), and Mitchell Baxter also delivered key plays.
Hayes’ interception, which came during the Knights’ first possession of the game midway through the first quarter, brought the ball to the Knights’ 28, and that, along with an 18-yard run by Erik Travers, helped set up the Clippers’ first score of the game, a 7-yard pass from Guerin to Vasey in the middle of the end zone with 3:51 on the clock.
The Clippers soon doubled their lead with 1:39 to go in the second quarter on a 36-yard pass from Guerin to Baxter, who hauled in a bullet pass at the 25 and outraced a Central defensive back to the end zone, and 3:38 into the third quarter, Guerin hooked up with Vasey again on a 31-yard TD pass.
Joe Fine capped the scoring with a 7-yard touchdown run with 7:46 to go in the game, and Tyler Calabro tacked on the extra point on all four of the Clippers’ scores.
After Baxter’s touchdown, the Knights tried to get on the board when lineman Clarence Gallop was called upon to kick a 43-yard field goal. But his attempt was blocked by a host of blue jerseys and recovered at the Central 43.
The Knights also tried to halt the Clippers’ shutout bid on their final drive of the night after Fine’s touchdown. They worked the ball from their 22 to the Clippers’ 23 on eight plays and a personal foul penalty by the Clippers, but on fourth-and-7, quarterback Leonard Brown had the ball snapped over his head, and Hayes pounced on the loose ball.
The Clippers’ running game also came up big at the Knights’ expense and produced over 200 yards on the ground. Fine barreled his way for 82 yards on just seven carries and had four carries for 63 yards on the drive that led to his TD, and Travers added 68 on 15 carries, but received only three handoffs in the second half.
The Clippers are back at home next Friday with a 7 p.m. contest against Rogers, and the following weekend, they have a featured matchup awaiting them at Pawtucket’s Pariseau Field against St. Raphael Academy.