Rockets D Team Steamrolls Burlington 32-13
Reading defeated Burlington 32-13 at Birch Meadow on Sunday. The Rockets advanced to 5-2 on the season behind strong performances from both their offense and defense, which held Burlington scoreless in the first half.
On Burlington’s opening drive, Rockets defender Jackson Tucker stormed the Burlington backfield and caused a fumble, then pounced on the ball along with Reily Learned. In a replay of last week, the Rockets’ offense was greeted with excellent field position and wasted no time taking advantage, as quarterback Jack Dougherty promptly rushed for a 35-yard touchdown, making it 6-0.
Burlington was pushed backwards on their next drive, with Michael Ohlson, Ryan Bonacci, Jack Jaynes, Adrian Muniz, and Learned contributing with tackles. On Reading’s last drive of the first quarter, Thomas Merkle made a nice pass reception, but Burlington was able to make a defensive stop.
In the second quarter, the Rockets’ defense continued to wreak havoc on Burlington’s backfield, as Tucker recovered another fumble. Once again possessing the ball, it was “wash-rinse-repeat” for the Reading offense, as Dougherty rushed for a 30-yard touchdown. Dougherty added the extra point to make it 13-0.
At the end of the first half, Nathan Berry showed off his toughness at quarterback, first dragging the Burlington defense 10 yards for a first down on a run up the middle, then with the final seconds ticking off the clock, he completed a 40-yard touchdown pass-and-run to Sean Tesoro. Although the extra point was unsuccessful, the Rockets closed the half with a bang, leading by a score of 19-0.
Possessing the ball to start the third quarter, the Rockets offense continued their success, as Dougherty took it to the house with a 55-yard touchdown run to make it 25-0.
Burlington got their first score with a 40-yard run up the middle with less than five minutes remaining in the third quarter. Burlington maintained the momentum by recovering a fumble deep in Reading territory, and quickly striking for a second score on a 30-yard run. Although the Rockets’ defense stopped the extra point, Burlington had rapidly clipped the Reading lead to 25-13.
As the fourth quarter started, attention turned to the Rockets’ offense. On a key 4th-and-5 play, the Rockets picked up the first down on a pass from Dougherty to Tesoro to keep the chains moving. Dougherty soon thereafter ran for a 30-yard touchdown. Tucker successfully rushed for the extra point, giving the Rockets a 32-13 lead with 8:23 left in the fourth quarter.
On Burlington’s next series, Reading was able to make a stop on 4th-and-1. Ryan Fitzgerald, Daniel Agami and Sean Crowley contributed to the defensive stand. The Rockets offense, behind the blocking of Vedant Narayan, was able to run the ball, pick up a first down, and bleed the clock at the end.
After the game, head coach Billy Tucker said, “We ran the ball very well today and were also able to mix in some effective pass plays. Defensively, we were aggressive and able to create a lot of turnovers.” Meanwhile, assistant coach Kevin O’Malley was optimistic but quick to turn the page, declaring, “We’re on to Woburn.”