Taunton Roars Past Oliver Ames In “Tiger Bowl”

Taunton football
Taunton’s Javon Franklin intercepts a pass in the end zone in the second quarter against Oliver Ames (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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TAUNTON, Mass. – In the final minute of the first half, Oliver Ames found the end zone to cut Taunton’s lead in half, taking the momentum into the break.

But Taunton stole the momentum back, sandwiching a pair of 60-yard plus drives around an OA three-and-out to begin the second half. The hosts never looked back from that point on, earning a decisive 30-6 victory in the HockomockSports.com Game of the Week, dubbed the “Tiger Bowl.”

“I thought their offense did a good job of mixing it up on us,” said Taunton head coach Brad Sidwell. “I’ve run a no-huddle spread offense before and it’s different for the defense when you haven’t played against it, our guys had to adjust. But coming out in the second half, that first drive was a big deal. And then it was nice to get a stop and do it again on offense.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Taunton was looking to add onto its 13-0 lead when it stopped Oliver Ames on fourth down just over midfield late in the second quarter. But the host Tigers fumbled just two plays into the series with OA’s Andrew Fraser falling onto the loose ball.

OA took advantage, marching 57 yards on nine plays to end the first half on a high note. Junior quarterback Cam Perron (7/18, 99 yards) scampered for 15 yards to begin the drive and back-to-back carries to junior Nathan Cabral (20 carries, 103 yards, touchdown) moved OA up the field 30 yards. An encroachment penalty on Taunton allowed Cabral to convert a fourth down inside the red zone on a short run, and two plays later, Cabral took a pitch to the left and ran in for a 9 yard touchdown, cutting the deficit to 13-6.

Taunton’s offense was unfazed but its deficit shrinking. Senior Tryton Zavala (18 carries, 117 yards) had four rushes on the drive while senior quarterback Noah Leonard (15/19, 213 yards, three touchdowns) went 3-for-3, hitting Wesner Charles (six receptions, 79 yards two touchdowns) for a 26-yard touchdown over the middle. Coby Adams’ extra point made it 20-6 with 7:45 left in the third quarter.

The defense did its part, highlighted by a sack from Taunton senior Max Moitoso on second down. OA ended up without a yard on the drive and had to punt quickly.

After OA’s three and out, the host Tigers once again worked their way down field. Facing a 4th and 7 at the OA 19-yard line, Leonard hit Cam Carroca, who fought his way past the first down maker. On the next play, sophomore Josh Lopes (seven carries, 59 yards) found a big hole on the left side and went in for a 10-yard touchdown and a 27-6 lead with 1:15 left in the third.

“Our guys battled across the board,” said OA head coach Mike Holland. “I thought our guys fought and it was a competitive game at half. Coming out in the second, we had a chance to do a couple of things. We didn’t and they capitalized to pull ahead. They finished strong and we didn’t.

“Football comes down to who can control the line of scrimmage, who can sustain long drives, and who doesn’t come out and go three and out offensively. They came out and drove the field, and offensively we sputtered and had to punt. They got the ball back, ate up some clock with a long drive and finished.”

To start the game, the teams traded punts and then Oliver Ames’ second drive ended on downs. On Taunton’s second drive, the hosts went 76 yards on 10 plays. Danny MacDougall (six catches, 96 yards) had an 11-yard reception and fullback Damian Manning grabbed a 15-yard pass on the drive. Three plays later, Leonard connected with Charles on a fade route for a 7-0 advantage.

Oliver Ames looked to respond, moving the ball into Taunton territory. Perron’s pass to sophomore Jeremy Clark went for 40 yards early in the drive and the junior quarterback also hit Sam Stevens for 12 yards to inch closer to the red zone.

It looked Perron had a man down the left sideline on the ensuing play but Taunton safety Javon Franklin came flying over and made the interception in the end zone.

Taunton took advantage of the turnover, needing just five plays to go 75 yards. MacDougall laid out to haul in a 34-yard pass, OA was hit with a dead ball foul to move the ball half the distance to the goal, and Leonard his Sean Quinlan in the corner of the end zone for a 13-0 lead.

After Taunton went up 27-6, a 39-yard kickoff return from Stevens put Oliver Ames in good position on the ensuing drive. The visiting Tigers got into the red zone when Perron hit Shane Kilkelly (three catches, 30 yards) for 11 yards and a first down. On fourth and goal from the 5 yard line, Taunton brought pressure and Sebastien Celestin came up with a big sack to keep OA out of the end zone.

It marked the third straight game Taunton has allowed just six points.

“We’ve been a little bit bend but don’t break on defense,” Sidwell said. “We got a big turnover in the first half in the end zone. We had a few more man rushes tonight so he couldn’t get comfortable back there. He had some scrambles on us but we were able to get to him a couple of times.”

Adams added a field goal in the fourth, connecting on a 21-yard field goal to cap Taunton’s only drive of the quarter (10 plays, 76 yards).

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Taunton football finished with over 400 yards of offense, with 213 coming off the arm of Leonard and 205 yards on the ground. For Sidwell, it was a welcome sight to see after failing to get the ground game going consistently a week prior.

“I was frustrated last game against Durfee because in the second half, we couldn’t run the ball against similar type defense with everybody up in there,” Sidwell said. “You have to find ways to run the ball and I’m pleased with how we did tonight.”

Taunton football (1-0 Hockomock, 3-0 overall) is on the road next week when it visits Attleboro (0-1, 2-1) on Friday night at 7:00. Oliver Ames (0-1, 0-3) will try to bounce back when it visits Franklin.

Second Half Comeback Lifts Taunton Over Sharon

Taunton boys soccer
Taunton’s Mateusz Hagemajer fends off Sharon’s Isaiah Stessman late in the second half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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TAUNTON, Mass. – The Taunton boys soccer team didn’t win the battle of possession or have the most chances in the game, but it did have the advantage where it mattered most: the score.

The Tigers weathered a strong attack from Sharon, countering with two second half goals, including the game-winner in the final five minutes, to pick up a 2-1 win.

“For this team, it’s about a belief system,” said Taunton head coach Taylor Whitters. “They have to really believe in what they are capable of, because they are capable of a lot, this team has a lot of talent. It’s about being confident. This team in particular, they don’t give up. They are really embracing the “we” mentality over “me” and I think thats’ carrying them through.

“They are determined and resilient, and that showed today. We can’t come out flat like we did. But I couldn’t be prouder of the whole team for staying with it.”

With the game tied 1-1, Taunton senior Brett Beaulieu won a one-on-one battle on the left flank, dribbled into open space and drove a perfectly weighted cross into the senior. Junior Mateusz Hagemajer was in the right spot, heading it just under the bar through the keeper’s hands for the game-winner.

Sharon had the majority of the play, especially in the first half. The Eagles applied a ton of pressure in the opening 20 minutes but couldn’t solve the Tigers’ defense, anchored by Evan Melo and Liam Crowley, or goalie Nolan Melo (10 saves).

Senior Antonio El-Khoury had a nice rip from 25 yards out sail just over the bar, junior Isaiah Stessman drove a low shot from the top of the box off the post, and the Eagles had a couple of crosses go without an answer.

The Eagles finally broke through in the 26th minute when Stessman tucked a header just inside the far post off a nicely taken corner from senior Eli Berkowitz.

Before the end of the half, Taunton settled in some and developed a pair of chances on their own. In the 33rd minute, Hagemajer hit a half volley that was smothered on the bounce by Sharon keeper Ethan Kantor. Five minutes later, hard work from Jared Roderick nearly led to a chance for Hagemajer in the box but Sharon’s Daniel Gunduz interjected and cleared.

After some back and forth play in the early second, Taunton came up with the equalizer just over the midway point of the half. Beaulieu came up big again, gaining possession just over half and linking up with Colby Fernandes in the final third.

Fernandes took a touch into space before taking a shot from 25 yards out. The shot deflected off a player and hit off the inside of the post, just outside the reach of the diving keeper, to make it 1-1. It was Beaulieu’s first of two assists on the night.

“We rely on Brett a lot,” Whitters said. “He’s a very smart player and he’s very tactically aware. He’s very versatile so I can have him go in the middle to calm things down or he can be an attacking option out wide. He really sets a positive tone for us, he’s a workhorse out there.”

Sharon nearly responded right away when Berkowitz was played in alone in the 67th minute but Melo made a terrific one-on-one stop to keep the game level. Eight minutes later, Hagemajer had the winner.

“It’s deflating. We completely dominated that game, dominated the chances,” said Sharon head coach Bryan Kelly. “I’m in shock…we stopped running the last 10 minutes of the game. It was unlucky [Taunton’s] first goal took that deflection. But a break like that gives a team like that hope. We’re not a bad team…I know we’re 0-3-3 but we’ve dominated almost every single game we played.

“We’re missing by just inches and then we give up two lousy goals. It just completely annihilates us. We’re working our butts off, we’re dominating the midfield, we’re getting through balls but with no results. Their goalie was busy but we were missing the frame a lot. Everything was just a few inches off here and there. But give [Taunton] credit, they played their butts off and showed a lot of heart. They had no quit in them.”

Taunton boys soccer (1-1-2 Hockomock, 1-2-2 overall) is back in action on Monday night when it visits Franklin. Sharon (0-2-3, 0-3-3) is in action the same night, taking on Canton in its first ever night game at Sharon High.

Special Teams, Field Position Help KP Beat Foxboro

King Philip football
King Philip junior Ryan Halliday carries the ball against Foxboro in the third quarter. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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WRENTHAM, Mass. – As King Philip’s new offense tries to get up, it’s going to need some help.

On Friday night, that help came in the form of special teams.

The Warriors leaned on a pair of good punt returns and their own punting game to win the field position battle, and as a result, a 17-0 verdict over visiting Foxboro.

Three of King Philip’s seven drives started in Foxboro territory, and all three resulted in points. The other four resulted in three punts and the end of the game.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“I was very happy with special teams, it really kept us in the game,” said King Philip head coach Brian Lee, who earned his 100th career victory. “But we have a lot of things we have to figure out still.”

King Philip’s defense had another strong showing after allowing just 14 points in the season-opening loss to North Attleboro. A sack from David Morganelli put a quick end to Foxboro’s first series.

A 23-yard punt return from Tim Nault gave King Philip’s offense a strong start, first down at the Foxboro 36-yard line. The Warriors got one first down on a Jack Webster run up the middle, but a tackle for loss from Foxboro’s Anton George and Will Ogbebor put the hosts in a hole.

KP quarterback Robbie Jarest (5-for-7, 32 yards) hit Morganelli (four catches, 35 yards) for an 11-yard gain but it was just short of the sticks. Junior Cole Baker drilled a 35-yard field goal to put the host Warriors ahead 3-0 with 4:05 left in the opening quarter.

King Philip’s defense stymied the Foxboro offense again during the second series, including a sack from Webster. This time the punt was hauled in by Aidan Bender just over midfield, and he raced it 35 yards back to the Foxboro 28-yard line.

Despite facing a 4th and 8, Jarest linked up with Morganelli for 11 yards to move the sticks. An offensive pass interference call moved the ball back at the end of the first quarter, but KP had an eight-yard scamper from Ryan Halliday (23 carries, 98 yards) and five more yards from Webster.

On 3rd and 7, Jarest rolled out right and hit Morganelli, who dove down to the 1-yard line. On the next play, Halliday went up the middle for a 1-yard touchdown and a 10-0 lead with 9:09 to play in the first half.

“Two bad punt coverages hurt us in the first half,” said Foxboro head coach Jack Martinelli. “It gave them great field position. We gave them short fields two or three times…they earned them, and we’re not good enough to play that way. We have a great kicker (Russell Neale), but we haven’t gotten into range to use him.”

Foxboro responded with its best drive of the game, moving into King Philip territory. The Warriors ran 11 plays for 50 yards, highlighted by passes from Liam Foley (9-for-21, 84 yards) to Keyshawn Sanders (8 yards) and Brian Derba (5 yards). Foley hit Shayne Kerrigan over the middle for 20 yards to convert a third down.

A 15-yard scramble from Foley gave Foxboro the ball at the King Philip 30-yard line but three plays later, King Philip’s Deric Casado tipped a pass and then came down with the interception to end Foxboro’s threat.

Baker punted for KP when its drive stalled, booting to the Foxboro 30-yard line. With a long field to go, Foxboro’s drive ended near midfield when time ran out on the first half.

Foxboro’s defense started the second half on a high note, forcing a punt. Again, Baker booted it to the Foxboro 30-yard line. Although Foley hit Pat Stapleton for 16 yards on the first play, a sack from Morganelli three plays later halted the drive.

Although Foxboro’s defense came up with a stop, KP continued to win the field position with another strong punt from Baker (47 yards). King Philip’s defense pushed the visiting Warriors back even further with losses of six and three yards on the first two plays.

On fourth down, Foxboro’s punt sailed out of bounds at its 36-yard line. Once again, King Philip cashed in on good field position.

This time the host Warriors ran seven plays to cover 36 yards, capped by a 3-yard touchdown from Halliday, who had gallops of 12 and nine on the drive. Baker’s extra point put KP up 17-0 with 9:13 to play.

“In the second half, when we were struggling on offense, to flip the field on the big punt from Baker was huge,” Lee said. “Punting and those two punt returns…short field allows you to be patient. It puts the defense in a bind right away. ”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

After giving up just 14 points last week, King Philip’s defense had another strong outing. Foxboro had just 92 yards of offense and KP recorded four sacks and one interception.

“We felt good about our defense, and we’re going to lean on them to get us going. We’ll play the field position and go from there. I’m very pleased with the defense. We don’t have a superstar this year. There’s no Shane [Frommer], no Mark Glebus, so we all have to chip in, we all have to contribute.”

Foxboro (0-2) will try to break into the win column when it plays Stoughton (1-1) at Canton High School.

Second Half Surge Helps Canton Edge Franklin

Canton field hockey
Canton’s Katie Trerice looks to make a clearance while Franklin’s Cassi Ronan applies pressure. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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CANTON, Mass. – While the majority of Hockomock League teams have hit the field, court, or links over the past two weeks to get their seasons underway, the Canton field hockey team has been left watching.

Between hot weather and thunderstorms, the Bulldogs have had their first game pushed back on a couple of occasions.

Canton finally began its 2018 season on Friday afternoon and used a late surge in the second half to pick up a 2-1 win over visiting Franklin.

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“It was our first game, had a very long preseason I think it took them a little while to get out of drill mode and get into game mode,” said Canton head coach Chrissy O’Connor. “We made some changes on the field and once it kind of clicked, then they started to get more comfortable.

“The past few days have been tough, the longer you wait, it can get stale. Practices get a little boring and they just want to get out there and play. The first half they were figuring things out a bit and then the second half of the second half they really started to click and work well together.”

Trailing 1-0 in the second half, the Bulldogs came to life at the midway point. After fending off pressure from Franklin over the first 15 minutes of the second half, Canton turned on the pressure.

After earning a penalty corner, Canton’s Meg Aldrich served a pass in. Maria Femia was able to put it back in, Molly Cummings deflected it along, and senior Maggie Malloy cleaned up the loose ball to make it 1-1 with 12:50 to play.

Canton kept its pressure up and found the back of the net again just over a minute later. Malloy had her first shot denied by Franklin goalie Christina Luccini but the Panthers defense was unable to get a clearance.

The ball popped back onto the stick of Malloy, who pushed it forward some and then unleashed a hard shot at the near post that put the Bulldogs up 2-1.

“She’s a gifted goal scorer but she’s always a great motivator,” O’Connor said of Malloy. “She’s a hard worker and she kind of brings everyone along with her. I think that energy will translate to the younger players and they’ll start picking it up a little bit just based on her play.”

Franklin’s best chance at an equalizer came with just over six minutes to go. Senior Cassi Ronan split a pair of defenders and sent a pass into the area to Ashley Reutlinger but Canton defender Allie Gefteas made the clear.

“We let down a little bit,” said Franklin head coach Michelle Hess. “That’s something we’ve been working on because we get a little too comfortable. We let down and [Canton] completely capitalized. We’re still learning to bounce back, we let down once and then again right away. Hopefully, we can work on some transition stuff and have them get right back in the game.

We have two starters out so we had a little bit of a different look today and for it being the first time, they did pretty well. But once we get healthy I think we’ll be more solid in the middle and in transition.

It was a back-and-forth contest early on but little chances for either side. The Bulldogs had the best two chances early but couldn’t get a chance on net.

A shot from Maggie Malloy was deflected in the 9th minute but freshman Erin Lane couldn’t get to the loose ball before it skipped over the end line. Ten minutes later, Kaitlyn Goyetch found Femia in front but Franklin freshman Kate O’Rourke did well to break the play up before a shot.

The first shot on goal came from Reutlinger in the 22nd minute, forcing a save from Canton sophomore goalie Riley O’Connor. On the ensuing corner, Reutlinger linked up with Ronan and the senior lofted a shot perfectly over the goalie and just under the bar for a 1-0 lead.

Canton nearly tied it just three minutes later when Goyetch found Malloy in the middle but Franklin goalie Anna Jardine closed the pads at the perfect time to deny the chance. Malloy had another chance two minutes later but Franklin’s Elizabeth Clark thwarted the bid.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Before Canton took momentum in the second half, Franklin was just inches away from doubling its lead. Ronan’s shot was deflected by Olivia Rondeau and found the stick of Stephanie Bell. But Canton’s Rose Malloy was positioned perfectly on the goal line to knock the shot away.

“We have a very young starting team, we lost some good talent last year.,” O’Connor said. “It’s about getting comfortable with each other and filling in some spots. Even coaching-wise, we’re figuring out where everyone fits. I think we spent part of that game doing that but we’re glad they were able to come through with the win.”

Canton field hockey (1-0 Hockomock, 1-0 overall) is back in action on Monday when it hosts Stoughton at 7:00. Franklin (1-2, 1-2) hits the road to visit Mansfield on Monday afternoon.

Balanced Attack Leads Franklin Past King Philip

Franklin volleyball
Franklin’s Hailey Sanders connects on an attack in the second set against King Philip. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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FRANKLIN, Mass. – It doesn’t matter where Franklin volleyball is in its rotation on the court, first-year Panthers head coach Kelsey Weymouth is confident the offense can get it done.

Franklin’s balanced offense was on full display on Wednesday evening, with five players registering at least four kills to help the Panthers sweep visiting King Philip, 3-0 (25-22, 25-18, 25-16).

Senior Ellie Wisniewski (three aces) and sophomore Allyson Bonnet-Eymard (seven digs) tied for a team-high eight kills from the outside hitter spot, senior Hailey Sanders (two blocks) added five kills from the right side, and senior middle Maggie Doyle (three blocks) was responsible for four kills.

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And on top of that, setter Lauren McGrath (27 assists, two aces) provided an extra offensive punch with five kills.

“No matter who is in the front row, I have confidence in them,” Weymouth said. “It’s a reassuring feeling knowing that whoever is up there, I have confidence they will put the balls down.

“And Lauren is a versatile setter, she knows how to run an offense, she knows when to put the ball to a certain player. Those four hitters [Sanders, Wisniewski, Doyle, Bonnet-Eymard] know how to work hard, find spots and put the ball down.”

The balance came in handy in an incredibly tight first set. Franklin’s largest lead was four points (three occasions) while King Philip led by three (9-6) early on. The set was tied on eight occasions, including at 13, 15, 16, 17, 18, and 19.

Bonnet-Eymard, Wisniewski, and Sanders each had two kills in the opening set. Holding a 21-20 lead, Bonnet-Eymard smashed down a kill to put the Panthers up by two. Back-to-back errors from KP pushed Franklin near set point. The Panthers had two errors of their own but clinched the set with a net infraction.

“In this environment, against a team like that, for the girls to come out and win that first was a big confidence booster,” Weymouth said. “We knew this wouldn’t be an easy game against KP, it never is. I told the girls that as long as they push every single point and make them do the work, we’ll be fine. We had to be ready for them to come back but the girls did a nice job staying on the attack.”

When KP had its largest lead of the opening set (9-6), Franklin responded with a 7-0 run to force a King Philip timeout. Two Warrior errors sandwiched a kill from Franklin’s Emma Chase to knot it 9-9.

McGrath caught the defense with a dump on the second touch for a kill, Bonnet-Eymard followed with an ace, and Wisniewski slammed down back-to-back shots for a 13-9 advantage.

“We were making too many errors early and we’re too good of a team to do that,” Weymouth said. “I think they just needed a deep breath and they did a nice job to rally back. We want our side out percentage to be high, we don’t want teams to go on runs.”

For Warrior head coach Kristen Guess, it was all about unforced errors in the opening set (12 errors).

“I definitely think the first two games we beat ourselves,” Guess said. “We made a lot of unforced errors, especially in the first game. It could have been a lot closer and it could have gone either way. We had a lot of miscommunication errors that we normally don’t do. We have a couple of young players on the floor that don’t have a lot of experience and I think that could have had an impact. I definitely think we need to communicate more.

“If we take the first game, then the momentum is with us and maybe we take the second game. But Franklin is a good team, they played well. You can’t take anything away from them. We could have played better, but it just wasn’t our night.”

The second set was just as close as the first one. A kill from McGrath and a KP error gave Franklin its largest lead of the match to that point (11-6). But the Warriors quickly rattled off a 5-1 run, including an ace from Grace Ely and a kill and ace from Nicole Coughlan to bring the Warriors within one (12-11).

But the Panthers responded by winning six of the next eight points. Wisniewski looked to have a kill an original attack but it was popped back up on a nice defensive play by KP libero Olivia Atkins. The ball floated back up by the net and Wisniewski reacted quickly, slamming the free ball back down for an 18-13 lead.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Bonnet-Eymard ended the set with back-to-back kills to give the Panthers a 25-18 win and a 2-0 advantage.

The Warriors kept close through the early stages of the third set but Franklin was able to create enough separation with a 4-1 burst midway through. Doyle and Bonnet-Eymard had back-to-back kills, and the latter added an ace for an 18-11 lead. KP got within four (19-15) but the home side was able to finish the game off.

Riley Marino anchored the Panther defense with 10 digs. Ely had a team-high eight kills for the Warriors, Coughlan added seven kills, and Catherine Waldeck finished with six kills.

Franklin volleyball (2-0 Hockomock, 3-0 overall) hits the road on Friday to take on Canton. King Philip (1-1, 1-1) is back in action on the same day when it visits Milford.

Attleboro Cashes In Late To Take Down Canton

Attleboro boys soccer
Canton’s Paul Corcoran (left) challenges Attleboro’s Aidan Lancaster in the first half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Attleboro head coach Peter Pereira knew he needed junior outside back Josh Smith to have a strong game defensively.

Not only did Smith deliver, he gave a little extra.

Smith scored his first career goal in the 71st minute to break open a scoreless game to help the Bombardiers take a 2-0 decision over Canton in their season opener.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“More importantly than the goal, he defended their best player,” Pereira said. “We were trying to find someone to finish, we tried subbing too. It was good for Josh to get it. He’s a solid player, he’s not a flashy player but he’s very smart.”

For the majority of the game, Smith was tasked with dealing with a Bulldogs’ offense that scored four goals in their season opener just days earlier against Marshfield. But he was able to give Attleboro the lead just inside the final 10 minutes.

After a free kick was partially cleared by the Bulldogs’ defense, junior Michael Russo delivers a service back into the area. Sophomore Joey Soucy ran onto it and fired a one-time shot from in close. Canton keeper Alejandro Correal made a terrific first save but the rebound popped loose and Smith was there to tap it in for a 1-0 lead.

“It was a good win, the kids are excited,” Pereira said. Attleboro was the last of the 12 Hockomock teams to kickoff its 2018 campaign. “They’ve been ready to go, everyone else has been playing. They were nervous in the first half but then we settled down and it was a totally different team out there for us in the second half.”

The game was loaded was chances for both sides but it wasn’t until Smith’s goal in the final 10 minutes either side broke through.

With Canton down a goal and pushing for an equalizer, Attleboro senior Will Halben gained possession just over half after a turnover. He went at the defense with pace, getting by his mark and rifling a shot into the far corner to make it 2-0 in the 77th minute.

“Towards the end of the game, when you’re up by a goal, he can be deadly,” Pereira said of Halben, who has been the Bombardiers’ leading scorer for the past two years. “He had a couple of chances earlier too and he’ll get a couple of those each game, but it was nice to have him finish.”

The Bulldogs had the better of play for the first 40 minutes but couldn’t find the back of the net. Griffin Roach had a header off Paul Corcoran’s throw-in saved by Attleboro keeper Andre Menard in the opening 15 minutes.

The best chance came off the foot of TJ McCabe. After winning possession near midfield, the sophomore beat off two defenders to gain some space before ripping a hard shot from 25 yards out that just sailed over the crossbar.

“You can’t play 40 minutes of the first half where you’re really on your front foot dominating and not score a goal and think you’re going to win a game, you can’t do that in the Hockomock League,” said Canton head coach Danny Erickson, now in his 26th season at the helm of the Bulldogs.

“Attleboro is too good a team for that. I thought we played great soccer today, pretty much start to finish. I thought the second half was even, we both had some chances. I thought we dominated the first half but Attleboro was clean with a couple finishes in the end and that was the difference. But that was a great Hockomock League game. We could have come out on top but Attleboro deserved it today.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

The first half hour of the second half was full of goal scoring chances, including two from Canton inside the first 15 minutes. Corcoran linked up with McCabe, who found Cruz but his chance was turned aside. Two minutes later, Roach once again got his head on a throw by Corcoran but it went just over the bar.

Attleboro countered two minutes later when Brady Holander’s service connected to Justin Lurssen but Correal made a nice diving save to keep the game level.

The Bombardiers next best chance came 10 minutes later when Eli Araujo played Halben into space behind the defense and the senior got past Correal but was forced wide enough by the keeper where his tough angle shot went high.

“The first half, they had the play and then in the second half I thought we outplayed them a little bit,” Pereira said. “They are a good team, they play physical, they play quick, they have size. That was a good game. You knew whoever got the first goal was going to get the win. We ended up with two nice ones.”

Attleboro boys soccer (1-0 Hockomock, 1-0 overall) faces another stiff challenge on Wednesday when it welcomes Mansfield (2-0) to Tozier-Cassidy Field. Canton (0-1, 1-1) will try to bounce back when it hits the road to take on Foxboro on the same day.

New Faces But Familiar Result In OA’s Season Opener

Oliver Ames boys soccer
Oliver Ames’ Colin Milliken and Stoughton’s Rami Houraibi battle for possession in the first half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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NORTH EASTON, Mass. – It was all new faces on the field for Oliver Ames, but the result was very familiar.

The Tigers, fresh off their third state final appearance in the past four years, have an entire new lineup after graduating two dozen seniors, including all starters and most reserves that played regularly.

In the first game with its new line up, Oliver Ames came away with a 3-0 win over visiting Stoughton.

“The kids have worked hard and that showed today,” said Oliver Ames head coach John Barata. “We can knock the ball around and play some soccer but we just have to mature a bit and grow up and gel as a group. I think as the season progresses we’ll get a little bit better each day.”

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The Tigers took the lead in the 15th minute and then broke the game open with back-to-back goals inside the final five minutes of the first half.

“It definitely felt like a first game,” said first-year Stoughton head coach Joshua Aubin. “We haven’t played a competitive game in almost two weeks. I think everyone was a little nervous to start and it showed. They got that first goal off an amazing shot, one of the best you’ll see all year. But the second and third goals, they were on us. Turnover at midfield and quick counter and then a silly foul in the box. But those two goals, those are easy enough to fix so that’s encouraging.”

Oliver Ames established control of the play early and were rewarded by a terrific goal. Sophomore Anthony DaCosta found himself in space when a long ball came in from sophomore Matthew Nikiciuk. DeCosta was given the space to take a touch and turn, and without hesitation the sophomore rifled a nice shot from 25-yards out that beat the keeper and went right under the bar for a 1-0 lead.

After a bit of back and forth play for the next 20 minutes, the Tigers changed the complexion of the game in the final five minutes of the first half.

Junior Jonathan Freeman came away with a win just over midfield and quickly found the feet of junior Colin Milliken. Milliken turned and played a through ball between two defenders, allowing senior Sean Flaherty to run onto it and slot his shot him at the far post to make it 2-0.

Stoughton had its best chance of the half shortly after going down 2-0. Senior Fabi Ponce de Leon played a curling free kick into the area that was spilled but the rebound effort from Gabe Ribeiro was to the left of the frame.

OA quickly countered and attacked up the left side. Sophomore Brady deVos found some space in the area and tried to get by his defender but was hauled down.

The sophomore stepped up to the spot and calmly blasted his bid into the back of the net just a minute later, giving OA a 3-0 lead just minutes before the halftime whistle.

“I thought overall we were in control of the play but it felt like we were getting a little panicky,” Barata said. “We had some chances to score the next goal and we just hand’t so I think getting the second and third goals relieved some pressure on them.”

“The third goal really hurt, that 1-2 punch,” Aubin said. “But it’s stuff that we can watch film and try to correct. I thought they picked themselves up coming into the second half and were competitive.”

Trailing 3-0 in the second half, the Black Knights tinkered with their lineup in an attempt to get back into the game. While it meant trying to build more offense, it sacrificed some defense.

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The Tigers were able to take advantage of that at times but couldn’t add onto their lead because of some stellar saves from junior keeper CCarter Gerome (11 saves).

Just six minutes into the second half, Milliken once again found Flaherty in behind the defense and the senior used a nice cut back move to free himself but his chance was turned aside by a terrific sliding save attempt from Gerome.

“We made some adjustments at halftime and I think it showed. I thought we were much more competitive in that second half. ,” Aubin said. “So we were a bit more offensive minded so we knew we’d give up some chances but Carter definitely stood on his head at times and kept us in the game.”

Stoughton’s best chance of the second half came in the 61st minute when Ponce de Leon put a free kick on frame but OA senior keeper Jacob Lerman made a move to his right to punch the ball out.

A minute later, OA nearly had another goal with Flaherty in alone but once again Gerome came up big to keep the Tigers off the scoresheet in the second half.

Oliver Ames (1-0 Hockomock, 1-0 overall) is back in action on Tuesday when it welcomes Taunton (0-1-1) to Muscato Stadium. Stoughton (0-1, 0-1) hits the road to take on North Attleboro on the same day.

Cote, Weir Pace Attleboro Past Milford In Opener

Attleboro football
Attleboro senior Justin Cote tries to get past a Milford defender in the first quarter. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
ATTLEBORO, Mass. – The combination of Attleboro quarterback Jason Weir and running back Justin Cote is going to be a handful for opposing teams this season. Milford found that out firsthand on Friday night.

Weir and Cote combined for over 200 yards on the ground, helping the Bombardiers open their season with a 21-7 win over the visiting Scarlet Hawks.

“We want to run the ball first,” said Attleboro head coach Mike Strachan. “Jason is big and tough and Justin is a dynamic running back. We’re able to move some things around and we’re still trying to find our identity a bit but I think what you saw tonight is what we’re going to be.”

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The Bombardiers had 28 rushing plays in the second half compared to just one passing attempt.

Weir accounted for 139 yards of offense, going 6-for-8 for 41 yards and one passing touchdown while picking up 98 yards and one rushing touchdown on 17 carries. Meanwhile, Cote had 125 rushing yards on 15 carries and scored once.

Both defenses stood tall to start the game but a mistake of special teams opened the door for Attleboro to cash in. A punt from Attleboro’s Nolan Jaeger was dropped at the 10-yard line and Bombardier Isaac Guidel pounced on the loose ball to get possession back for the hosts.

Milford’s defense stood tall for the first three plays, including dropping Cote for a loss on third down but Attleboro decided to go for it. On the first play of the second quarter, Weir hit junior Ethan Cameron as he faded to the corner of the end zone for a 16-yard touchdown.

Colby Briggs’ extra point put Attleboro up 7-0 with 10:54 left in the second quarter.

Milford’s offense stalled at its own 28-yard line but senior punter Sean Lehane drilled a deep kick that just rolled into the end zone for a touchback, forcing Attleboro to drive 80 yards.

Attleboro got halfway there before having to punt. The Bombardier defense came up with a big stop again, forcing Milford to punt from its own 33-yard line. Lehane once again came up big as his punt was downed at the Attleboro 12-yard line.

With little time left in the half, Attleboro couldn’t get much further than midfield and a strip sack from Ryan Hazard ended the drive as time expired on the first half.

The Bombardiers’ offense set the tone for the second half with its first drive, going 80 yards on 10 plays.

Cameron had a 9-yard rush, Weir had a 12-yard run and Cote rattled off a 28-yard rush during the drive. A 9-yard rush from Cote got Attleboro to the 1-yard line and Weir did the rest from there, using a sneak to squeeze up the middle for a score and a 14-0 advantage with 5:42 left in the third quarter.

Milford ran its only three plays of the quarter but Attleboro’s defense came up with a stop on third and short and had to punt.

“Defensively we’re pretty physical up front, the front four is a pretty good group,” Strachan said. “I’m proud of our kids and we just have to build on this one and now we have Dartmouth next week and that’s where the focus has to be on.”

Starting at its own 28-yard line, Attleboro used 13 plays — all rushing — to cover 72 yards. Weir converted the first three third downs on the drive before the Bombardiers were faced with fourth from the 33-yard line.

Cote burst out to his right, hesitated to fake out a defender, and then took off again, racing through defenders for a 33-yard score and a 21-0 lead with 7:02 in the fourth quarter.

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“The defense was on the field far too long,” said Milford head coach Anthony Vizakis. “We had a couple of missed opportunities but we’ll work on them and try to get better tomorrow. Attleboro is a big, strong, and physical team and they use it to their advantage.”

Milford put together its best drive of the game in response to Attleboro’s third touchdown. Junior Colby Pires (16-for-23, 101 yards) hit Lehane and Hugo Lopes on back-to-back nine yard completions, earning Milford’s first first-down of the second half.

Brendan White (six catches, 60 yards) hauled in an eight yard pass, and one play later, went for 23 yards on fourth down. Four plays later, Luke Rosa broke through two tackles in the backfield and plunged through the defense for a 1-yard touchdown.

Lehane hit the extra point and then used a perfect chip that allowed Dylan Ortiz to go up and catch the onside kick. Milford began to move the ball again, picking up back-to-back first downs but Pires was hit as he threw on the next play and Cameron hauled in the pass for an interception.

Although Milford’s defense stopped Attleboro on three straight plays, Attleboro’s defense got the ball right back when Jaeger intercepted the Hawks’ first play of the next drive.

“[Milford] played us really tough, they did a good job defensively,” Strachan said. “That’s a good football team with a lot of good players, I think they’re going to do well in their division.

Attleboro football (1-0) is back in action on Friday when it travels to Dartmouth. Milford (0-1) has its home opener next week when it hosts Franklin.

Mansfield Pulls Away From BC High In Fourth Quarter

By Matt Feld, HockomockSports.com Contributor

DORCHESTER, Mass. – On a Mansfield team filled with star upperclassmen, sophomore Cincere Gill made the opening night difference.

With the Hornets locked in a 7-7 tie with host BC High, Gill ran for a pair of scores over the final seven minutes to lead Mansfield to a 21-7 win over the Eagles on Friday night at James Cotter Field.

Mansfield mostly relied on two-way standout Vinnie Holmes to handle the ball through the first three quarter as the nunior totaled 90 yards heading into the final frame. The constant wear on the Eagles’ front seven of bringing Holmes down began to showcase itself in the fourth quarter, allowing Gill to use his speed and athleticism to take over.

“After (BC High) tied the score, just a great response by our guys in the fourth quarter on the road,” said Mansfield coach Mike Redding. “Cincere (Gill) is a young player but gives us that element of speed off the edge and big-play capability.”

Mansfield grabbed the lead midway through the second quarter when on third and nine from the BC High 11, Damani Scott took the snap out of the shot gun, rolled right and found a wide-open Nick Marciano for the touchdown.

The Hornets maintained the 7-0 edge into the final stanza, but saw the Eagles tie the game up on a Jacob Perez 12-yard score.

The Hornets were then in danger of turning the ball back over to BC High and giving the Eagles a chance to jump in front, but Aiden Sacco turned a poor snap on a punt attempt into a 17-yard pick up down to the Eagles’ 24-yard line. Two plays later, Gill corralled the ball off the jet sweep and ran it up the right side for a 21-yard touchdown to push Mansfield in front, 14-7.

On BC High’s ensuing drive, Holmes provided the key defensive play of the night. Looking to tie the game up midway through the fourth quarter, BC High running back Brendan Cassamajor rushed for a combined 38 yards to put the Eagles inside the Mansfield 30-yard line.

On fourth and one at the Hornets 25-yard line, the Eagles attempted a play-action pass. Holmes, however, snuffed it out and sacked a scrambling Joe Brink to turn BC High over on downs.

That’s when Mansfield’s ground attack put the game out of reach. Khristian Conner got the drive started with a six yard run, and moments later Marciano broke free for a pickup of 46 yards down inside the BC High 15-yard line. With less than a minute to play, Gill put the finishing touches on a key road win for Mansfield scampering in from four yards out to give the Hornets an insurmountable 21-7 lead.

“Vinnie is just a hard runner and a bruiser,” said Redding. “It allows us to wear some teams down. Marciano is dynamic. I thought we were a little sloppy at times. We had some chances to get that second score to get to 10 or 14 and could not, but I was real proud of our guys for fighting through on the road.”

King Philip Names DeStefano as New Boys Hoops Coach

Dave DeStefano
Dave DeStefano (right), pictured here working at a local camp recently, is the new boys basketball coach at KP. (Courtesy photo)
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After a decade of patrolling the sidelines as an assistant coach for two local programs, Dave DeStefano is getting his turn in the spotlight.

King Philip athletic director Gary Brown announced the hiring of DeStefano as the new boys basketball coach on Friday afternoon. DeStefano is the Warriors’ fifth head coach since the start of the 2011-2012 season.

“I’m really excited for this opportunity,” DeStefano told HockomockSports.com. “I’d like to thank Gary Brown and Dr. Lisa Mobley, I’m very appreciative and look forward to working with them. I look at this as a fresh start for everyone in the program. All the players, they are going to have to earn everything. There’s going to be constant competition for each spot and for playing time. I’m really excited to put a product out there that the KP community will be exited about, both on and off the court.”

DeStefano spent the last three seasons as the JV coach at Hockomock rival Foxboro High. Prior to that, he spent seven seasons as an assistant coach for Bishop Feehan. During that stretch, the Shamrocks won four Eastern Athletic Conference titles as well as the 2015 D2 South Sectional championship.

“I am extremely proud to announce David DeStefano as the new coach of the King Philip Boys Basketball program,” Brown said in a statement. “David brings passion, enthusiasm, and a wealth of knowledge as the new leader of this program. He impressed our search committee and administration with a personal coaching philosophy that is an excellent match with the core values here at KP.”

King Philip is coming off a season in which it went 4-16, losing six of those games by six points or less, including an overtime loss (74-71) to eventual D2 State Champion Tech Boston. King Philip graduated five players from last year’s squad.

“I plan on working really closely with the youth program and try to build up from there,” DeStefano said. “I don’t want to be just the varsity coach, I want to build the program as a whole and that starts with the youth programs. I want to build a culture of success with the high school program that a lot of other programs have at KP. And we’re going to build it through confidence and unselfish attitudes.”