Merrimack falls short

The Alvirne High School football team has three wins on the season, and its earned each one in a different way.

First, it was the passing game lead the Broncos to a win, and then, the run game that put a lot of points on the board.

Against Merrimack on Friday, Alvirne won with its defense.

The Broncos gave up just 159 yards and forced three turnovers to win their third game in a row, beating the Tomahawks 13-7 in a Division I non-conference game.

Jack Mahoney led Alvirne with 157 yards and a touchdown on 33 carries, and added an interception on defense, while Mike Roberts had two interceptions of his own, including a diving grab along the sidelines that ended Merrimack’s final drive.

Alvirne also got a touchdown run from Ethan Rainville, as the Broncos rumbled for 228 yards on 52 carries, an average of 4.38 yards a pop.

“We didn’t play our best game, but we executed when we had to,” Alvirne coach Tim Walsh said. “It was a physical game and both sides made some mistakes. We just made fewer, I guess. We came up with a big play when we had to and got the first down to seal it at the end.”

Justin Grassini led
Merrimack (2-2) with 152 yards through the air, completing 19 of his 36 pass with a touchdown and two interceptions. But the Tomahawks were unable to move the ball on the ground, picking up just 7 yards on 21 carries.

“We got beat up physically,” Merrimack coach Dante Laurendi said. “We lost the battle on the lines. Their line controlled our line and we didn’t do a good job protecting our quarterback. We couldn’t get any rhythm going offensively. Their defense did a great job keeping us out of sync.”

Mahoney gave the Broncos the lead with a 2-yard touchdown run with 6:32 left in the first quarter, but Alvirne led just 6-0 after Merrimack blocked the extra point. Rainville made it a two-score game on the second play of the second quarter, running in from 15 yards out to make it 13-0, and that’s where it stood at the half.

For the second week in a row, Merrimack scored on the opening drive of the third quarter, putting together a 12-play, 62-yard drive that ended on a 19-yard pass from Grassini to Andy DeGregorio.

Merrimack’s defense held the Broncos out of the end zone for the half, but the offense continued to struggle to get going.

With 2:22 left, the Tomahawks took over at their own 20, and picked up a first down, but Roberts’ interception ended the threat. Alvirne was able to get a first down to end the game.

“Mike Roberts did a great job, he had a couple of picks, and we just did a great job on defense,” Mahoney said. “Our linebackers and our coverage was great (Friday).”