South falls to North in first round of football playoffs

Plymouth Public Schools celebrated Halloween weekend as the Plymouth North Eagles defeated the Plymouth South Panthers 35-14 on Friday night, kicking off the high school playoffs. With Superintendent of Schools Gary Maestas in attendance, the home Eagles took their first step towards a trip to Gillette Stadium, a privilege their southern counterparts enjoyed back in 2013.

North entered the showdown as favorites, bringing a high-powered offense fueled by versatile quarterback Cam Drew. The game received plenty of attention beforehand, as it was named the Fox 25 High School Football Game of the Week, edging Malden vs. Peabody by less than 600 total votes.

After the Panthers stopped the Eagles’ opening drive,  junior Devin Leahy led the visitors to an early 7-0 lead on a huge run play, to the delight of the Panthers’ fans. The large crowd did not disappoint, with all bleacher seats taken and standing room left around the outskirts of the field. Many students from both schools wore Halloween costumes as the game served as a gathering spot for the entire Plymouth community.

North responded immediately to South’s score, quickly rushing in their own touchdown to tie the game before the end of the first quarter. North would tack on a second score before the close of the half, but a missed extra point left them with a 13-7 halftime advantage over South. A dynamic running performance by Myles Uva led North’s attack throughout the chilly night.

In the second half, North controlled possession time and broke the game open after a miscue by South on a kickoff, which resulted in a turnover. The Eagles took a 28-7 lead on two more rushing touchdowns, putting the game nearly out of reach entering into the fourth quarter.

The Panthers wouldn’t go quietly though, as quarterback Andrew Shortall dropped a 10-yard touchdown pass into the eager arms of receiver Pat Travers. With the Panthers down two scores, North used time to their advantage, as they attacked with the running game to drain the clock.

Hope returned to the South crowd as the Panthers forced a fumble recovery, giving coach Scott Fry’s squad four minutes to complete a miraculous comeback. Unfortunately, the team was forced to punt as the Eagles stood tall on defense, and North put the game away on a deep touchdown pass from quarterback Cam Drew to wide receiver Spencer Potter.

North improves to 7-1 with the victory and will face Dartmouth on November 6, while South awaits a rematch on Thanksgiving.

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