SUDBURY — A terrifying sequence of events played out in the final moments of North Andover’s Division 2 North final loss to Lincoln-Sudbury on Friday.
Scarlet Knights star Gabe DeSouza had to be taken from the stadium in an ambulance after spending 19 minutes on the field struggling to breathe following a massive hit on a kickoff.
“He seems to be doing alright,” said North Andover coach John Dubzinski after the game. “He was talking and communicating when he left the field. The EMTs said there was no seizure signs. It was very scary. It was awful to see.”
With 1:25 left in the game, DeSouza fielded a kick and was taken hard to the turf.
After standing up, DeSouza took a knee before falling to the field.
DeSouza could be heard gasping for air as police rushed onto the field to assist, one yelling “call 911” to the sidelines.
“On the kickoff, he took a shot to the ribs,” said Dubzinski. “He stayed on the field at first. When I talked to him on the field he told me, ‘I blacked out. I couldn’t feel anything, I couldn’t see anything, I couldn’t breathe.’ He was really struggling to breathe. It was really scary. He did not look good.”
Fans and teammates were left in tears as authorities waited for the ambulance to arrive.
DeSouza, whose jersey was cut off, was secured to a backboard, placed on a stretcher and loaded into the ambulance. The game was called at that point.
“His eyes went into the back of his head and it was scary,” said Dubzinski. “But as time went on and they took off his helmet and shoulder pads, slowly he regained his faculties. They took him to Boston Children’s Hospital.”
No Gillette for Knights
North Andover was turned away without points on three trips inside the Lincoln-Sudbury 30-yard line in a 27-7 loss to the unbeaten Warriors in the Division 2 North championship.
L-S will play King Philip in the Division 2 state championship game at Gillette Stadium.
“We struggled to make the big play when we needed to,” said Dubzinski. “We couldn’t punch it in. We kept moving backwards and they made the plays when they needed to.”
The Scarlet Knights took the opening kickoff and marched to the L-S 28-yard line. But after QB Jake McElroy was sacked, North Andover was forced to punt.
On their second drive of the game, the Knights advanced to the Warrior 18-yard…