The sweltering temperatures at Cawley Stadium in Lowell may have been more fit to summer than the kickoff of the Westford Academy football season. Grey Ghost fans can only hope that their boys can improve as the season builds after a disappointing 33-6 loss against the Red Raiders on Friday night.
Lowell got on the board early thanks to a 14-yard scamper from quarterback Dunn Shaymus and held the Ghosts to three straight punts before a Red Raider fumble was converted into a 30-yard touchdown pass from Westford sophomore Connor Degenhardt to teammate Thomas Jacobsen to even the score at six a piece after the first quarter.
However, a pick by Westford just before halftime would be the last highlight of the evening for the Ghosts on a night where Shaymus took three scores to the house with his legs and another two with his arm, narrowly missing a third due to a penalty negating a 69-yard reception by Lowell’s Coury Nicolau.
Degenhardt was able to tout 141 yards of passing off ten receptions, including five to Jacobsen, but he also ended the night with 25 incompletions and a late interception that highlighted Westford’s anemic running attack.
“We didn’t abandon the run, but it wasn’t really working for us tonight. It wasn’t getting us anywhere,” said Westford Academy head coach Adam Gagne. “Their linebackers were real deal tonight.”
Over the past several years, the Ghosts have begun their seasons with hard matchups against Merrimack Valley Conference powerhouses Lowell and Chelmsford, something Gagne believes helps prepare Westford for later Dual County League foes.
However, a bevy of mental errors and poor execution leave much room for improvement despite a strong foundation to grow on from earlier in the game.
“We’ve still got a lot of work to do, I think we may not have been ready for the atmosphere here and the Friday Night experience as a whole,” said Gagne. “There were positives, but a lot to work on too, and I think that was due in large part to a lot of new faces out there.”
Continuing that new tradition, Chelmsford will begin their season next Friday at Westford Academy’s Trustees’ Field with kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m.