BATH — The Morse offense had it set up.

With the ball at the Leavitt 21-yard line in the third quarter, trailing by six, the momentum seemed to be turning the way of the hosts.

Then, a fumble went the Hornets’ way, and a back-breaking interception added more consternation to the Morse cause. Leavitt cruised from there, earning a 27-7 Class B South victory at McMann Field on Friday night.

It was a third quarter to remember for the Leavitt (1-1) defense. On five plays from scrimmage for Morse, the Hornets forced three turnovers.

Offensively, Leavitt took advantage, scoring two third-quarter touchdowns in taking control.

“Winning is a difficult thing, especially against a really well-coached team like Leavitt,” Morse coach Jason Darling said. “You can’t makes mistakes against a good team like Leavitt. But these kids will come back ready to work next week.”


D’Andre James intercepted Morse quarterback Connor Upham (6-of-17, 94 yards, two interceptions) to stop a drive early in the third quarter. The Morse defense held, and a 19-yard punt gave the Shipbuilders the ball at the Leavitt 27. A 6-yard run by Raz Baltazar (14 rushes, 72 yards, TD) moved the ball to the 21-yard line. But on the next play a fumble ended the threat.

Leavitt went 74 yards on 11 plays, with Hunter Sirois diving into the end zone from the Mo-1 to make for a 19-7 contest.

Two plays later, Hornet freshman Allen Peabody grabbed a deflected pass and returned the ball 48 yards to the Morse 4. James rumbled to paydirt on the final play of the third quarter for a 27-7 advantage.

“We were worried because Upham is a real good quarterback, and we are pretty green at the second and third levels of our defense,” Leavitt coach Mike Hathaway said. “But Peabody made a big play down the sideline there and that was big for us.”

Solid drive

A big kickoff return to open the game by Morse’s Parker Onorato (67 yards) set the Shipbuilders up deep in Leavitt territory. But the Hornets held on downs, then proceeded to drive 93 yards in just four plays for a 7-0 lead. Sirois broke loose for a 55-yard TD run, one play after Caleb Bowen picked up 37 yards.


“We watched a lot of film during the week and the line worked their tails off tonight,” said Sirois, who led the Hornets with 181 rushing yards on 17 rushes. “The first time we were running our counter plays, they were over-committing a little bit on defense. We kept running what was working, but they adjusted to that and slowed us down.”

“We had some formations that we liked. Our whole line played fantastic tonight,” added Hathaway.

An interception by Morse cornerback Tyler York ended Leavitt’s second drive, but a four-minute march on the Hornets’ third possession ended with a Bowen 3-yard TD run and a 13-0 Leavitt lead with 5:57 left in the first half.

Another big kickoff return, this one by Baltazar (29 yards) gave Morse good field position. Two plays later, Baltazar went up the middle for a 29-yard TD run. Dillon Havener’s extra-point kick made for a 13-7 game.

“We were very resilient, and I think we will see that all year with this group,” said Darling of his squad. “We had to make some adjustments, and we had a lot of trouble tackling (Hunter) Sirois, something that was high on our list of priorities.”

“Baltazar is a tough runner and they gave us a formation that we hadn’t seen,” said Hathaway.


Leavitt out-possessed Morse in the second half, holding the ball for more than 18 minutes and limiting the Shipbuilders to just 41 yards on 16 plays.

A downside for Leavitt was 14 penalties, accounting for 100 yards.

“There are some things that we are trying to correct with some young guys,” said Hathaway.

For the game, Leavitt rushed for 366 yards and picked up 17 first downs compared to five for Morse. James chipped in 74 yards on nine carries, with Bowen adding 50 yards on seven lugs. Bowen also hauled in a pass for 38 yards.

York finished with two interceptions to pace the Morse defense. Arius Eich led the Shipbuilders with 10 tackles, while Sebastian Tibbetts had nine stops.

Sirois, James, Hunter Marshall and Aidan Parmenter picked up five tackles each for Leavitt.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.