Malden Catholic’s 2019 football season got underway on Friday, September 6, when the Lancers traveled to Winchester. Friday’s game introduced a new era of MC football as new Head Coach, Bill Raycraft, made his Malden Catholic debut.
Raycraft was 68-11 as the Head Coach of the Windham High School Jaguars over nine years. Raycraft’s accomplishments include winning a state championship and being named the Gatorade coach of the year in the state of New Hampshire.
Winchester and running back Jimmy Gibbons received the ball first. Winchester and Gibbons didn’t take much time to get things going, as they marched down the field to score the first touchdown, 7-0. However, Malden Catholic’s offense was eager to take the field. Malden Catholic running back Zeke Bragg, a junior from Chelsea, broke a few tackles for a solid first down run. That run would then set up for a 25-yard pass from Lancers quarterback Sean Kelley, a senior from Wilmington, to wide receiver Daps Olatunbosun, a junior from Malden. After a first and goal, Kelley ran for the touchdown to tie the game at 7-7.
Malden Catholic’s scoring didn’t stop there. On the next possession, Winchester threw a costly interception to Kelley who took it to the house to give MC a 13-7 lead. Much of the second quarter was a defensive battle. Neither team could get much going on offense until late in the second quarter. Winchester managed to score a touchdown as time was expiring to tie the game at 13-13.
After stopping MC to start the third, Winchester QB Thomas Degnan ran for a touchdown to reclaim the lead, 19-13. But MC and Kelley were determined to take the lead back. With four minutes to go in the third, Kelley connected with Bragg for a 49-yard pass to set up first and goal. Winchester ultimately stopped MC for a turnover.
After Kelley’s pass, the game was all Winchester. Degnan and Gibbons put up 14 unanswered points on the Lancers to give them a 27-13 win.
After the game Raycraft said his team had a quick preseason, but “they’ve continued to get better each day and the coaches expect that the players will learn from any miscues in game one and come out ready to go versus Methuen on Saturday.”
Malden Catholic looks to bounce back next game against Methuen on Saturday, September 14 at 1:00 p.m. at Methuen High School.