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Leominster's defense blanks Fitchburg, 7-0

Philbin, Blue Devils sack
Fitchburg on Thanksgiving

Leominster shuts out Red Raiders, 7-0



By Jack Callahan
Fitchburg Athletics Staff Writer

FITCHBURG —The annual Thanksgiving Day game between the Twin Cities of Fitchburg and Leominster was another classic in the 138th overall meeting and 114th on Thanksgiving Day.

It was a back and forth defensive battle from start to finish, but in the end Leominster’s lone score came midway through the fourth quarter on Bryant Cordeiro’s 28-yard touchdown run as the visiting Blue Devils delivered a 7-0 triumph over the Red Raiders Thursday at historic Crocker Field.

With the win, Leominster improved to 5-6, while Fitchburg ended the season at 7-4.

The Blue Devils extended their all-time series lead over Fitchburg to 68-60-10 in this historic rivalry.

As advertised, both defenses took center stage to continuously fluster each respective offense.

Fitchburg’s tenacious defense was led by the all-out play of senior linebacker Gio Marrone, and Leominster countered with sack machine Kyle Philbin.

The Red Raider offense couldn’t get their dominant run game started, especially with star running back Anthony Oquendo sidelined due to an injury.

This was a game that truly came down to the first score would win.

That happened midway through the fourth quarter, as Leominster running back Cordeiro took a counter play to the left and galloped down the sidelines before scoring from 28 yards out with 7:27 left in the game.

But despite the run game not being able to give the Fitchburg side the jolt it needed, it was QB Montgomery Graham who did everything in his power to guide the offense.

Graham used his left arm to pick up 63 yards passing, and his legs to grind out 52 yards rushing.

“Montgomery played a great game,” said Fitchburg coach Tom DiGeronimo.

Graham kept the Fitchburg offense moving, but seemingly each time drives would stall because of Philbin. The powerful Philbin was a nightmare and sacked Graham five times in the game, including once late to seal Leominster’s Turkey Day victory.

“Kyle is a hell of an athlete,” said Leominster coach Devin Gates, a Fitchburg High graduate. “He’s been doing this all year long. I truly believe he’s one of the most underrated players in Central Mass.”