Forget a sophomore slump. The Reading High School football team is enjoying the fruits of a sophomore surge.
After sputtering offensively early in the season, the Rockets have gotten a boost from a handful of young players, including sophomore running back D’Aundray Burcy, who ran for three touchdowns on Friday night to lead the Rockets to a 32-7 win over visiting Woburn.
“I think that’s a function of our offensive line getting healthy and clicking, and breaking in some new guys in other spots,” said head coach John Fiore. “We have a lot of sophomores, five or six, playing in our regular rotation. It’s a learning curve.”
Though the offensive attack was balanced throughout the night, Burcy stole the show as he notched his second game of the year with three touchdowns. One of those scores came as he took a handoff, broke to the outside and turned on the afterburners for a 79-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter that was the final score of the game.
Despite his impressive individual statistics, Burcy is quick to dish the credit for the success he’s found during his first varsity season.
“I give all the credit to my offensive line and fullback. They’re doing all the blocking,” said the sophomore tailback. “The whole team is executing plays and the coach is calling a great game. That’s what we have to do to be successful.”
Fiore said Burcy’s sophomore success has not come as a major surprise to him. The coach got a glimpse of Burcy’s potential during offseason training camp.
“He had tremendous burst and knew what to do with the ball,” said Fiore. “It was just a matter of learning our system, learning our terms, and doing other things a tailback has to do.”
In addition to Burcy’s three touchdowns, quarterback Drew Belcher fired a 10-yard touchdown to Liam Kenneally with 16 seconds left before halftime. It was a critical drive for the Rockets, as Woburn had pulled within 17-7 with just over two minutes to play in the second quarter.
Thanks to a stunning loss by Arlington against Lexington, Reading finished with a share of the Middlesex League Liberty Division regular season title.
The win wraps up the regular season for Reading, which ended with a 5-1 record thanks to a four-game winning streak to close out the year.
Reading learned its playoff fate on Sunday night. The Rockets snagged the No. 2 seed in the North Division 2 bracket. As a result, the locals will take on Cambridge Rindge and Latin at 7 p.m. on Friday. The winner takes on either No. 3 Waltham or No. 6 North Andover in the semifinals.
“You want to play your best football at the end of the year,” said Fiore. “We have to strive to improve. We’ve got a long way to go, but next week it’s about getting that first win.”