Despite losing its top runner on the first offensive series, the Leverett House football squad capped a perfect season yesterday by scoring on all four of its first-half possessions en route to a 27-0 victory over Currier House in the house football championship game at Soldiers Field.
Leverett's win, its sixth in a row, qualifies the team for an Ivy League showdown against Yale's top intramural team on Friday.
Beginning its first possession on its own 17, Leverett marched down the field primarily by keeping the ball on the ground. Running back Woody Lennon, who has been Leverett's top ball-carrier this season, gained 66 yards on the drive, including a crucial one-yard burst to give his team a first down at the Currier 5.
Three plays later, though, Lennon suffered a concussion when Sam Pedroza stopped him at the 2 yd.-line. The play put Lennon out of the contest and set up a fourth-and-two situation.
Quarterback Jeff Ticknor then handed off to John Simmons, who broke through the Currier goal-line defense for the first points of the game.
A blocked extra point, following the 14-play, 83-yd. drive, left the score at 6-0.
Unlike Leverett's five previous opponents, which set up defensively with five linemen and two linebackers, Currier used a "44" defense, which Ticknor studied carefully before the game.
The main features of the 44 defense are four linemen and four linebackers.
"We were prepared for [the Currier defense]," he said. "We knew where our strengths were against the 44."
Leverett's ease in moving down the field was matched by its defense's domination of the Currier offense.
Currier quarterback Danny Sullivan had a difficult afternoon because he was constantly pressured by the tenacious Leverett defense, especially the large defensive line. On Currier's first series, Leverett linemen Mike Bunar and Chris Dole sacked Sullivan for losses of eight and 15 yards, respectively. Leverett recorded 6 sacks on the day.
Faced with a 4th-and-29 situation, Currier elected to punt from its own end zone, but a poor kick gave Leverett the ball at the Currier 30.
After one running play, Ticknor threw a touchdown pass to flanker Joe Lee, who grabbed the ball over the outstretched arm of Currier back Woody McMillin.
Lee also caught the two-point conversion attempt, making the score 14-0.
"Once our run was established," Ticknor said, "we went to the air."
Lennon's absence also caused the shift from the ground to the air.
"After Woody went out," Ticknor added, "we had inexperienced people in there--not inexperienced in playing football, but in knowing the plays."
"So we went to the air, where we knew the plays better," he said.
Currier's next possession lasted only one play, as running back Dean Givas coughed up the ball on the Currier 23 yd.-line.
Leverett wasted little time converting the turnover to a score, as Ticknor found wide receiver Steve Grover over the middle for a touchdown.
Another poor offensive series forced Currier to punt from its end zone.
Leverett, which took over at the Currier 35, scored on five plays.
Two runs by Simmons, a screen pass to Chris Kiah on 3rd down and 17, and a pass to Lee set up Ticknor's quarterback sneak.
Facing a 27-0 deficit at halftime, Currier was unable to close the gap in the second half. It fumbled once, allowed two additional sacks on a different series, and threw an interception on the third possession.
Leverett, though, looked just as sloppy. Its second-half efforts included a fumble, an interception, and three penalties.
THE NOTEBOOK: Leverett's Lennon gained more yards, 66, on the first series than all other Leverett runners combined...Currier ends up 4-2...Currier players Woody McMillin and Danny Sullivan were both members of last year's Quincy squad which lost the championship to Cabot/North.