NEW BEDFORD, Mass. – Taunton and New Bedford lit up the night sky in Whaler country, putting up a combined 105 points in a wild shootout.
In the end, New Bedford prevailed 63-42 over Taunton, handing the Tigers their first non-league loss since 2012.
The Whalers stuck early, just three plays into the game, when quarterback Chandler Debrosse scrambled for a 77-yard touchdown. Taunton took little time to answer as they went right down the field, ending with Terrence Gibson pounding one in from six-yards out. The Tigers went for two and quarterback Adam Leonard took it in himself to give Taunton an 8-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Whalers answered with three unanswered touchdowns in the second quarter. Debrosse connected with Hunter Fluegel for a three yard score and then again on an 11-yard touchdown. After the two-point conversion on the second connection was good, New Bedford led 21-8 with 7:03 left in the second quarter. Debrosse kept it on a one-yard option run for another score to make it 28-8 in favor of the Whalers.
The Tigers started to put something together when Gibson broke a huge run but was stripped of the ball. The Whalers recovered the ball but the Tigers stood firm and did not give up another point before the half.
In the 3rd quarter, both teams exploded on offense. The Tigers came out swinging as Gibson broke a 66-yard touchdown run to cut the lead to 12. Debrosse responded for New Bedford, taking it in himself on a 33-yard run to put New Bedford up 35-16.
Taunton’s Steven Harrison then broke a 49-yard touchdown run but the two-point conversion was denied, bringing the score to 35-22 in favor of New Bedford. New Bedford had an answer once again, this time as Jonathan Moraes rushed it in from one yard out to make it 42-22.
The scoring in the quarter was far from done though as Leonard connected with Damion Theodule for a 79-yard touchdown, bringing the visitors within two touchdowns at 42-28.
However, Whaler Jordan Ross returned the ensuring kickoff 95-yards for a touchdown to extend New Bedford’s lead to 49-28. The scoring still wasn’t done though as Taunton found the end zone again. This time it was Leonard hooking up with Harrison on an 80-yard touchdown to make it 49-36 after a two-point conversion from Gibson. New Bedford has the last laugh in the third quarter though as Moraes scampered in from 20 yards out to make it 56-36 with less than a minute left in the third quarter.
The two teams combined for 56 points in third quarter alone.
In the fourth quarter, Moraes got another touchdown for the Whalers, this one from six yards out, putting New Bedford up 63-36. The Tigers caped the scoring when Leonard hit Andrew Wellington in the back of the end zone for a touchdown.
“Lot of offense not much defense on both sides,” Taunton coach Chris Greding said. “New Bedford is a great team, you have to give them credit.”
The Tigers will have their home opener on Friday, September 19th against the Durfee Hilltoppers.
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