Football: 2017 Kelley-Rex Division Preview

2017 Kelley-Rex Football Preview
Attleboro senior Cam Furtado (14) will be one of the key contributors for the Bombardiers this fall as they look to challenge for the Kelley-Rex title. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2017 Kelley-Rex Football Preview

Attleboro

2016 Record: 4-7
2016 Finish: Reached D1A South Quarterfinal
Coach: Mike Strachan

Key/Returning Players: Cam Furtado, Sr., QB/CB; Elvin Sam, Sr., WR/CB; Justin Cote, Jr., RB/OLB; Matthew Corrado, Sr., OL/DL; Matthew Jimenez, Sr., OL/DL; Dan Perry, Sr., OL/DE; James Weir, Sr., LB/TE; Nate Barboza, Sr., LB/FB; Nick Evans, Jr., TE/DE; Kyle Walsh, Jr., OL/DL; Jacob Weatherford, Jr., LB/FB; Josh Therrien, Jr., FS/WR

Outlook:
The Bombardiers started the season 3-2, but closed with only one win in the final six games, including a pair of losses to league rival and eventual Super Bowl champion King Philip. Injuries piled up for Attleboro in 2016, but it gave a number of players the chance to gain valuable varsity experience and the Bombardiers have high hopes for improvement this fall.

Experience at the skill positions is one of the reasons for optimism at Attleboro. Senior Cam Furtado is slated to start the season at quarterback and has proven to be a dynamic playmaker. Classmate Elvin Sam emerged as a big play weapon last fall, whether in the backfield or split out wide, and tight end James Weir gives Attleboro an option in the middle of the field. Wideout Josh Therrien and running back Justin Cote could also play bigger roles with running back Marcus Blaise adding depth.

Attleboro also has a strong returning core on defense with Furtado, Sam, and Therrien in the secondary and Weir joining senior Nate Barboza and junior Jacob Weatherford at linebacker. Matt Corrado, Matt Jimenez, and Kyle Walsh will give the Bombardiers strength on both sides of the line and junior Nick Evans could be poised for a breakout year after moving from linebacker to defensive end. Sophomore Qualeem Charles is also a player to watch on the line.

“I am extremely excited about our senior group of players,” said Attleboro coach Mike Strachan. “We have some dynamic players in Cam Furtado and Elvin Sam and hopefully they can maximize their athletic talents. We have many returning starters from last season so we hope to build on that experience.”

Franklin

2015 Record: 2-9
2015 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinal
Coach: Eian Bain

Key/Returning Players: Jake Noviello, Sr., QB; Sean Leonard, Jr., WR/TE; Brian Kosicki, Sr., OT; Nolan McLaney, Jr., S; Jackson Gilbert, Sr., DE; Ryan Driscoll, Jr., CB; Riley Downing, Jr., OL/DL

Outlook:
The first season for the Panthers under new head coach Eian Bain was a struggle at times for a young roster that was adapting to new systems on both sides of the ball, but there is hope that the experience gained last fall will pay dividends in 2017. Franklin will have a number of returning players to count on this season.

Offensively, Franklin will have to find ways to make up for the production of graduated running back Jacob Wolowacki, who was a go-to weapon in the ground and passing games. Senior quarterback Jake Noviello will be counted on to lead the offensive unit after more than 1,700 yards and 15 touchdowns last fall. Junior wideout Sean Leonard started all 11 games last year and will be a tough matchup for defenses along with fellow receivers Jack Nally, Will Davis, and Evan Wendell and running back Sean Hofferty. Three-year starter Brian Kosicki will be the leader of the offensive line and tight end Patrick Morrison will be a weapon in the passing game.

On defense, the Panthers have depth in the secondary, including junior safety Nolan McLaney, who was second on the team in tackles last year. Junior Ryan Driscoll has speed on the corner and Bain called him the “focal point” of the defense. Nick Gordon will hold down the other corner spot. Senior defensive end Jackson Gilbert is coming back from injury that cut short his junior season and will add strength on the edge. Junior Riley Downing gives Franklin size and speed in the middle of the line.

“We are in year two of our process,” said Bain. “We are in a different place than we were a year ago…Fans should expect to see a better team in 2017. We have a roster full of experience and had great participation through the Franklin speed and conditioning program. In a league this good we have to bring our best every week.”

King Philip

2016 Record: 12-0
2016 Finish: MIAA D1A State Champions
Coach: Brian Lee

Key/Returning Players: Brendan Lydon, Sr., QB; Evan Rice, Sr., RB/LB; Shane Frommer, Sr., RB/DB; Dylan Leonard, Sr., RB/LB; Cole Baker, Soph., K; Andrew Dittrich, Sr., WR/DB; David Morganelli, Jr. WR/DB; Anthony Vahue, Sr., OL/DL; Jack Webster, Jr., LB.

Outlook:
What will the Warriors do for an encore? King Philip won its third league title in the past five years, second outright Kelley-Rex title in the past three seasons, and completed an unbeaten season with a win over Reading in the Div. 1A Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium.

Despite losing a large and influential senior class, the Warriors are being picked by some to repeat at champs this fall. One reason for continued belief is the return of senior quarterback Brendan Lydon, who showed poise in the pocket and the ability to make accurate passes downfield in his first year under center in 2016. Yale-commit Shane Frommer is also back for his senior season and will be the feature back for the Warriors in a system that prides itself on pushing teams around on the ground. Beyond that, it will be up to a group of rookies to make an impact. KP will boast an entire new offensive line, anchored by senior Anthony Vahue, and all new receivers. Junior David Morganelli will be one of the options for Lydon.

The Warriors boast a bit more experience on the defensive side of the ball. Even though a good chunk of starters are gone, KP’s rotation last year allowed for players like Evan Rice (defensive end), Jack Webster (linebacker) and Dylan Leonard (safety) to see action. Frommer will be back opposite Webster while Vahue will also play on the defensive line. Andrew Dittrich returns as a starting corner back to anchor the secondary.

Although there are a lot of new faces on this year’s roster and a lot of leadership missing from last season’s championship squad, head coach Brian Lee has instilled a toughness that permeates the program and expectations are that KP will have a decent chance at lifting a trophy again this fall.

“We don’t get any points for last year, we don’t get spotted a touchdown because we went undefeated last year,” Lee said. “When it comes to high school football, it’s about taking those rookies and getting them ready for varsity speed, they have to be able to handle the bright lights on Friday nights. If we can get them up to speed, we should be okay.”

Mansfield

2016 Record: 8-3
2016 Finish: Reached D1A South Quarterfinal
Coach: Michael Redding

Key/Returning Players: Will Shield, Sr., OL/DL; Colbey Eason, Jr., OL/DL; Jareme DiLorenzo, Sr., DE/TE; Hunter Ferreira, Sr., WR/OLB; Danny DeGirolamo, Sr., RB/DB; Joe Cox, Sr., RB/OLB; Khristian Conner, Jr., RB/DB; Chris Copponi, Jr., FB/LB; Aidan Sacco, Jr., RB/DB; Mike Shannon, Sr., TE/DE

Outlook:
The Hornets finished second in the Kelley-Rex division last year, with the only Hock loss coming by three points to league champ King Philip. Mansfield was stunned in a playoff thriller against Marshfield, but then bounced back to beat Div. 1 playoff teams Needham and Newton North and will enter 2017 with typically high expectations, as the Hornets look to win their first league title since 2013.

A strength for Mansfield this fall will be the experience it returns at the skill positions led by senior wideout Hunter Ferreira, who has emerged as one of the area’s top receivers. The backfield will once again be loaded for the Hornets, who will count on seniors Danny DeGirolamo and Joe Cox and juniors Khristian Conner and Aidan Sacco. New quarterback Damani Scott will try to make use of that talent and the 6-foot-3 junior has a big arm to make plays downfield.

Cox and Ferreira will add strength and speed to the linebacking corps, while seniors Mike Shannon and Jareme DiLorenzo will provide a pass rush at the defensive end positions. Conner, Sacco, and DeGirolamo will all return in the secondary. If there are questions for the Hornets, it will be at the line of scrimmage; senior Will Shield and junior Colbey Eason have returned and will be the players to build around on the offensive and defensive lines.

“After one week, we are happy with work ethic and development of linemen,” said Mansfield coach Mike Redding, who is in his 30th season with the Hornets. “If we can get pieces of the puzzle sorted out up front on OL and DL, we’ll be a tough out. We have a very good collection of playmakers that can run and catch and we should score some points this year.”

Oliver Ames

2015 Record: 2-9
2015 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Mike Holland

Key/Returning Players: Jack Mills, Sr., OL/DL; Curtis Cann, Sr., QB; Jay Fruci, Sr., FB/LB; Michael Mulrean, Sr., DB/WR; John-Michael Cole, Sr., OL/DL; Noah Fitzgerald, Sr., WR/DB

Outlook:
The Tigers got off to a promising start to 2016, winning two of the opening three games including a dramatic one-point win over Franklin, but Oliver Ames struggled down the stretch against a difficult schedule. Now entering his third year, head coach Mike Holland is confident the program is heading in the right direction this fall.

According to Holland, the Tigers’ strength on the offensive side of the ball is the experience of playing in the system for several seasons and a greater understanding of the concepts. Senior Curtis Cann will lead the attack after taking over as the starting quarterback last season and he has several talented weapons on the outside in seniors Michael Mulrean and Noah Fitzgerald. Jay Fruci will be one of the returning players in the backfield, lining up behind a big offensive line.

Jack Mills will be a mainstay in the middle on both sides of the ball and is one of the top lineman in the league. He will be paired with fellow senior John-Michael Cole on the line, giving the Tigers depth in the trenches. Fitzgerald and Mulrean will also be important contributors in the secondary, while Fruci will bring athleticism to the linebacking corps. Holland wants his defensive scheme to take advantage of the team’s speed.

“Looking forward to the start of a new season. Our guys’ preparation and approach leading up to the season has been excellent,” Holland said. “We have guys with experience that need to play big, as well as some new guys that are in the mix to compete for spots.”

Taunton

2016 Record: 5-6
2016 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Brad Sidwell

Key/Returning Players: Noah Leonard, Jr., QB; Brayden Merrill, Jr., WR/DB; Collin Hunter, Sr., WR/DB; Paul Corrao, Sr., T/DT; Cam Correiro, Jr., G/DT; Antonio Mendes, Sr., RB; Zakim Harrow, Sr., DT/NG; Nuno Camara, Sr., LB/FB

Outlook:
The Tigers narrowly missed out on a winning record in their first season under head coach Brad Sidwell and showed signs of improvement, including a narrow, three-point loss to Mansfield. In year two, Sidwell is hoping for even more and Taunton has potential on the roster to be a tough out in the league.

Losing wide receiver Adam McLaughlin to graduation will certainly impact the offensive attack, but junior quarterback Noah Leonard returns for his second season under center and will look to build on the experience he gained last fall. With a number of athletes at the skill positions, including senior Collin Hunter and junior Brayden Merrill at wideout and T.J. Mendes in the backfield, Taunton will use a number of formations and styles to cause matchup problems. Sidwell expects the passing game to be a major strength for the Tigers.

Defensively, Taunton will have a number of new faces, but has size and experience at the line of scrimmage. Seniors Paul Corrao and Zakim Harrow and junior Cam Correiro will all make a significant impact on the battle in the trenches. Senior Nuno Camara provides experience to the linebacking corps, while Merrill and Hunter will be important in the secondary.

“Moving into the second year, the players, coaches and fans are excited for the season but there is lots of work to be done,” Sidwell said. “Hopefully we can get off to a good start and provide some confidence to gain momentum into the difficult Hockomock League season.”

KP Holds Off B-R For D1A South Sectional Crown

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King Philip junior Shane Frommer finds his way into the end zone for a two point conversion against B-R. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 
WRENTHAM, Mass. – The rest of the state is starting to find out what King Philip head coach Brian Lee has known for some time now: this year’s Warriors squad is special.

As King Philip landed punch after punch in its D1A South Final matchup with Bridgewater-Raynham, some in the fourth quarter even appearing to be knockouts blows, the sixth-seeded Trojans continued to land counterpunch after counterpunch.

But in the end, the Warriors made the plays they needed to — plays that make a team special — as they held off the Trojans, 33-28, to claim the D1A South Sectional Title and book the program’s first ever trip to a state championship.

King Philip (10-0) will take on Reading (8-2), winners of the North Sectional, in the D1A State Championship game on December 3rd at Gillette Stadium.

“It’s out of control, so out of control,” said KP head coach Brian Lee on his team making its first trip to a Super Bowl. “It’s a special group of kids. People will ask me if this is the best team I’ve ever had…when you line it all up, it’s not. But it comes down to knowing how to make plays at the end, not give up, not get rattled. They’re special, that’s what they do. I’m so proud of them.”

The Warriors set the offensive tone early, marching 80 yards on 18 plays, taking up 9:40 of the first quarter, punctuated by a 5 yard keeper from Brendan Lydon to go up 6-0.

But it was the plays in the fourth quarter that proved to be the difference.

An early fourth quarter touchdown from Shane Frommer (30 carries, 188 yards, two touchdowns) on a 4 yard run gave the Warriors a slim 27-21 lead after a blocked PAT.

As Bridgewater-Raynham tried to land its counter punch, as it had done multiple times throughout the game, the Warriors’ defense came up big. The Trojans used six straight running plays to advance into KP territory but elected to go for it from there. Three straight incompletions – the last on fourth down – forced a turnover on downs.

Fourteen yards from Frommer and then 16 yards from Gio Fernandez (seven carries, 54 yards) helped KP move the chains quickly on back to back plays. But three straight runs totaled just four yards, forcing KP into a 4th and 6 from the BR 24 yard line and 5:04 left in the game.

“[On that fourth down] we called 10 different plays and I said ‘You know what? I just want Shane to touch the ball, he’ll make the play for us’ and he did.”

Frommer sure did, taking a handoff to the right side and bouncing outside to find some space, the run going for 17 yards and a first down. Two plays later, Lydon used a sneak to get in from a yard out to put KP up 33-21 with 3:48 left.

“He is a dude,” Lee said of Frommer. “This program has been established by trying to find a tailback we can build around. It was going to be Sean, it was his turn, and we would use Shane as a back up guy. Shane’s just a killer out there, in a positive sense of the word. He’s such a winner, so much heart when he runs.”

“This is the most amazing day of my life,” an elated Frommer said after the game. “We practice every day for this. It started in June with Gut Camp – we wake up at five in morning every day just to work out. I can’t even explain it right now, I’m so pumped.

“It’s not just me, it’s the hoggies up front. They do everything for me. If they don’t do their job, I can’t do mine. Garrity is such a great back, when he went down I knew I had to step up.”

Frommer was quick to credit linemen Daniel Loewen, Paul Macrina, Nate Gudas, Max Penner and Carl Sanuth. Fernandez and fellow fullback Alex Olsen (six carries, 29 yards) also provided key blocks, as well as tight end Brett Mazur.

Bridgewater-Raynham made the game interesting, quickly moving into KP territory. It looked as though the Warriors made the stop on fourth down, but a holding call kept the Trojans’ drive alive. Quarterback Corey Sullivan connected with Shawn Noel Jr. (197 all purpose yards) on a screen for a 23 yard touchdown to bring B-R within 33-28 with 2:52 left.

Liam Cullagh swallowed up the onside kick attempt from B-R but KP’s offense stalled for just the second time in the game, forcing the Warriors to punt with a minute to play.

With no timeouts and 68 yards to travel, B-R had to throw the ball but for the second straight week, Andrew Dittrich came away with the game-sealing interception.

“That’s why I say the team is special, because when you’re used to making the big plays, and not giving up the big plays like that, when they’re happening – we scored, they scored, we scored, they block the PAT – just every time it felt like it was going to slip away or there’s a weird call against us, it’s just about the next play,” Lee said. “And it’s a hard thing to coach, I wish I could take credit for it but it’s really the guys and my assistant coaches, they do such a good job.

“Here’s what this team has taught me, and I tried to teach it to them as well,” Lee said. “It’s funny, I’m learning it from them. I believed we were going to get a pick. As soon as that ball was in the air, I knew we were coming down with it.”

Bryce Shaw’s touchdown early in the second quarter put B-R ahead 7-6 but KP responded swiftly with John DeLuca (four carries, 20 yards) bursting up the middle for a 12 yard touchdown. A two-point conversion from Frommer put KP up 14-7 with 4:04 left in the second quarter.

Noel Jr. scored on the second play of the second half to bring the Trojans level but KP answered once again with Frommer diving in from 5 yards out. Noel Jr. once again scored to tie the game at 21-21 heading into the fourth quarter.

In its first Super Bowl appearance, King Philip will take on a Reading squad that shutout Malden Catholic in the first round, shutout Chelmsford in the second round and beat top-seeded Lincoln-Sudbury 21-7 in the Sectional Final. The time of the Super Bowl is still to be announced.

KP Grinds Out Win, Books Place In South Final

King Philip football
The KP defense limited Marshfield to just eight first downs and only seven points to stay unbeaten and advance to the D1A South final. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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WRENTHAM, Mass. – King Philip had the chance to run out the clock in the closing minutes of Friday night’s Div. 1A South semifinal at Macktaz Field, but Shane Frommer was stopped for a two-yard loss on fourth and two from the Marshfield 17. The Rams had one last chance after the turnover on downs to try and even the score.

Marshfield, which had beaten the Warriors two years ago on the same field in the Div. 2 South final, started the drive with an incomplete pass and then a pass batted down by senior Brett Mazur. On third and 10, Jackson Phinney (8-28, 119 yards) picked out Christian Friedel for 16 yards. Two plays later, Phinney found Mike Catanoso for 39 yards and first down at the KP 26.

The Warriors needed to make a play and on second down it appeared they had when John DeLuca and Frommer had Phinney wrapped up for a big sack, only to have the quarterback somehow release the ball for an incomplete pass. Phinney scrambled on third down and was hit hard after four yards by the far sideline.

The officials kept the clock winding and as the final seconds ticked off the Rams barely got a play away. The ball was up for grabs near the goal line and Andrew Dittrich came up with the interception that sealed the victory. KP held on 14-7 and will play for the sectional title for the second time in three seasons.

“You’re up 14-0, you think you’re going to win,” said KP coach Brian Lee, “and all of sudden they come back because they’re tough, they’re a great team, and you can get back down. Just to be hanging in there, still making plays, still chopping is why they’re special.”

KP came into the game with a plan to slow down the high-powered Marshfield offense, which scored 41 last week against Mansfield, and it worked to near-perfection. The Rams were held without a point until midway through the fourth quarter and had only eight first downs (two in the first half).

“We just had a good game plan,” said Lee of the defensive effort. “We had a great week of practice, really felt prepared. I thought we all felt confident in what our defense could do. We were probably more concerned with what we were going to do on offense, which we struggled to move the ball but it’s tough to finish drives.”

The Warriors took advantage of a short field to take the lead in the first quarter. Frommer (23 carries, 108 yards) returned Marshfield’s second punt 21 yards down to the Rams 29. Giovanni Fernandez (10 carries, 47 yards), Frommer, and Alex Olsen (11 carries, 49 yards) got the ball to the one where junior quarterback Brendan Lydon punched it in.

Lee explained, “Field position is great. We’ve been playing good special teams and it just helps out. It allows you to be patient. We don’t have any problem running the ball and waiting for a good opportunity.”

KP also had a long drive late in the second quarter that used up nearly seven minutes off the clock. The Warriors went from their own 13 as far as the Marshfield 37 on 12 plays before a nine-yard loss ended the scoring chance. Chris O’Neil closed the half with an interception.

Only seven points were on the score board but the game was being played at KP’s pace. The Warriors were methodical on offense, keeping the ball on the ground and keeping the Marshfield offense standing on the sidelines. Lee credited his offensive line of Matthew Tobichuk, Paul Macrina, Carl Sanuth, Cameron Gately, and Daniel Loewen for helping to win the time of possession battle.

“I’m very proud of them,” Lee said. “We ate a lot of clock up, which helped slow down that offense. Even though we weren’t finishing drives, we still took an offense that is very high-powered and kept them off the field.”

The teams traded turnovers on downs to start the second half, but on its second possession KP put together a drive that looked at the time like it put the game away. The Warriors went 67 yards in 13 plays with Frommer, DeLuca, Olsen, and Fernandez all getting carries. After Lydon was ruled down inside the one of a sneak attempt, Olsen got the touchdown on fourth and an inch to make it 14-0.

Just when it looked as though the game was won, Marshfield’s offense woke up. The Rams went 71 yards in nine plays and used little more than two minutes off the clock to cut the KP lead in half with 7:04 remaining. A Jack McNeil end around for 35 yards was the big play and Phinney capped the drive with a two-yard keeper.

As the Rams lined up for the kick-off, they stayed bunched up around the kicker and surprised KP with an onside kick right down the middle of the field. Marshfield recovered and the visiting crowd found its voice. But three plays later Ethan Dunne turned momentum right back around to the home team with a juggling interception in front of the Marshfield bench.

“I screwed that up that was on me,” said Lee of the onside kick, “and Ethan bailed me out. It’s a nice treat to have when a player does that and we’ve been all over them about losing the turnover battles and they really stepped up this week.”

KP tried to run out the clock and Lydon earned a first down on fourth and three with a hard count that got the Rams to jump offsides. Three plays later, the Marshfield defense made a play to give its offense one last chance. The KP defense was waiting and Dittrich made the final play to end the comeback bid.

“It feels good,” said Lee of being back in the South final. “I’d feel better if we were playing someone easy. Tomorrow we’ll go see them and get to work and think about that. We’ll enjoy tonight and go from there.”

King-Philip (8-0) will host the winner of Wellesley and Bridgewater-Raynham on Friday night.

KP Wears Down Attleboro to Clinch League Title

King Philip football
Shane Frommer (25) rushed for 102 yards and a touchdown and caught a touchdown on a hook and lateral to help KP beat Attleboro and clinch at least a share of the Kelley-Rex division title. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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ATTLEBORO, Mass. – King Philip had been inside the red zone three times and had held Attleboro without a first down for the first two quarters, but as halftime rapidly approached the Warriors were clinging to a 3-0 lead courtesy of a 20-yard field goal by freshman Cole Baker.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

With the clock winding down in the half, KP pulled out a trick play to try and break the game open. Brendan Lydon hit Ethan Dunne for 15 yards on a hook and the receiver pitched the ball to tailback Shane Frommer, who raced the final 25 yards down the near sideline to make it 10-0 at the break.

KP got the ball back to start the second half and scored again. The Warriors went from just three points to three scores in front and never looked back on their way to a 36-13 victory over the Bombardiers that sealed at least a share of KP’s fourth Kelley-Rex division title in the past six years.

“You go in only up by three, it’s anyone’s game,” said KP coach Brian Lee about the hook and lateral. “You make a big play and then you start the half and come down…and now we’re up by three scores. It was a huge, huge play right before the half for us.”

KP dominated possession in the opening half, but struggled to finish drives. It started with an 11-play drive in the first quarter that got down to the Attleboro 10, but ended when Lydon (5-11, 78 yards) was picked off in the end zone by Cam Furtado (one of his two picks on the night). Following another three and out by the Bombardiers, KP marched down to the Attleboro 12, but Baker’s 19-yard field goal attempt was blocked.

“It was tough sledding,” admitted Lee about the struggles in the first half. “There’s some big beef in there. I think [Attleboro has] the meat more than Arby’s does”

Once again Attleboro went three and out and Andrew Gelsomini returned the punt to the Bombardiers 35. The Warriors got the ball down to the three but had to settle for a kick from Baker to take the lead.

KP got the ball back with less than two minutes remaining in the half at its own 38. After a false start, John DeLuca (12 carries, 74 yards) went for 10 on a keeper and then two plays later broke up the middle for a 17-yard gain on third down that put the Warriors at the Attleboro 40 with a shot to run the hook and lateral play that turned into a huge momentum swing.

“I thought we had a really solid game plan against them,” said Attleboro coach Mike Strachan, “but then the play right before the half, the hook and ladder…we look at situations and we practice situations but when you see it in a game it’s different.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

The Warriors started the third quarter with a 39-yard return by Frommer that set them up at the Attleboro 31. Frommer gained eight yards on fourth and two to keep the drive alive and then broke a 12-yard run to get inside the five. Lydon capped the drive with a 1-yard plunge to make it 17-0.

Attleboro finally got a first down on its first possession of the second half. Tyler McGovern (5-12, 104 yards) found Elvin Sam deep down the near sideline for a 28-yard gain. On the next play, Sam (three catches, 96 yards) managed to steal the ball out of the tight coverage of Andrew Dittrich for a 31-yard completion. After a penalty, Marc Dieu pushed it across for a two-yard score that got the hosts on the board.

From that point on, the Warriors wore down the Bombardiers, who lost Jason Mota to a bad leg injury in the first half and saw Andrew Gingras and Furtado not return to the game after halftime. KP continued to do what it does best and dominate the line of scrimmage with physical play.

“That’s a good football team,” Strachan said. “They’re physical and they deserve to be champions. We’ve got to get back to work. They wore us down and we’ve got some injuries that we have to overcome next week.”

A 12-play, 69-yard drive was finished off by a DeLuca 12-yard touchdown that restored the three-score lead. KP then went 51 yards in five plays that was ended when Frommer (19 carries, 102 yards) went over the right side for a 12-yard score. After an Attleboro punt, Giovanni Fernandez (eight carries, 103 yards) sealed the win with a 65-yard touchdown straight up the middle of the field.

“Tough sledding in there but trying to stay with what you do, staying patient with it,” said Lee about his team’s ability to break games open in the second half. “When the defense is playing good, it allows you to be patient and try to get our backs going and we were able to wear them down a little and pull away.”

Attleboro managed to get another score 1:49 left to play. McGovern again looked deep and found Sam for a 37-yard touchdown.

The Warriors (6-0, 4-0) have clinched a share of the league title and will have the opportunity to win it outright for the second time in the past three seasons (and the second time in program history) with a win at home against Taunton next Friday.

“We do not want to share,” Lee said. “We’re happy with this but as far as we’re concerned we want to go out and win it. [Taunton] looked really good last week and Coach Sid (Taunton coach Brad Sidwell) is a great coach…so you want to go out and play well.”

Attleboro (3-3, 2-2) will try to close out the regular season with a win at Franklin next Friday at Pisini Field.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Dominant Performance Gives King Philip Second Win

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Foxboro’s Paul Darcy tackles King Philip’s Dylan Leonard following Leonard’s interception. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 
WRENTHAM, Mass. – If you could draw up a prototypical King Philip football game, the Warriors’ 21-0 win over Foxboro on Friday night probably wouldn’t be too far off.

King Philip had its running game going, amassing all 236 of their offensive yards on the ground. The defense was stout, holding Foxboro to under 50 yards of total offense and forcing a turnover. And KP dominated on time of possession, picking up 17 first downs compared to just three for Foxboro.

“It’s nice when you can do it,” King Philip head coach Brian Lee said of being able to continuously run the ball. “The other facets of the game will come. Some nights we’ll be throwing it all over the place, you just never know what you’re going to get for defensive looks. We just played good defense, so you feel comfortable being patient.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Senior back Sean Garrity (17 carries, 102 yards) went over the century mark for the second straight week while Shane Frommer (14 carries, 66 yards) and fullback Alex Olsen (seven carries, 46 yards) proved to be viable options as well.

Both teams advanced inside the opposition’s 30-yard line on the opening drives but both sides failed to convert on fourth down. Mark Clagg’s pass to Jamaine Few in the end zone went incomplete to end Foxboro’s drive while Trey Guerrini broke up Brendan Lydon’s pass on fourth on KP’s opening possession.

Foxboro’s second possession resulted in a punt and the end of the first quarter. King Philip worked the first drive of the second quarter inside the red zone but their 27-yard field goal attempt was short.

The first turn of events finally came on Foxboro’s next possession when Dylan Leonard jumped the route, picking off Clagg on 3rd and 8 from the Foxboro 22 yard line. Leonard was able to get some yards on the return, setting up KP in the red zone.

After Lydon converted a 4th and 1 and the nine with a sneak, Frommer and Garrity took back to back carries to get it to the two yard line. Lydon took it in himself with the sneak and freshman Cole Baker’s extra point gave KP a 7-0 lead just 41 seconds before halftime.

“The hogs up front have been doing a good job, they were really stacking it in there and bringing a lot of dudes,” Lee said. “They got penetration a couple of times but we snuck by it and we were able to make plays. Our backs run the ball real hard, I have a lot of faith in them. If we miss a block, the backs can make a guy miss and fall forward for three yards and we’ll get it from there.”

KP started the second half in similar style, keeping the ball on the ground to move up the field. After Garrity was stopped in the back field for his first loss of the day, he took his next carry 33 yards up the left sideline, nearly breaking free for the end zone. Frommer romped through the defense for 15 yards on a pair of carries and Garrity took 15 more. Frommer was tripped up just outside the goal line, leading to Lydon’s second touchdown, this one a 1 yard sneak. Baker’s extra point gave King Philip a 14-0 lead with 4:58 left in the third quarter.

“We were on the field way too much defensively tonight,” Foxboro head coach Jack Martinelli said. “You can only make so many stops and we didn’t punch back. You have to give them credit, they’re a good football team, they play hard, they play tough both ways. The score reflects the game was played.

“They were tougher, they deserved the 21-0 score.”

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Foxboro was forced into punts on its next two drives, the latter coming from deep inside its own territory. Guerrini skied a nice punt that reached midfield but KP’s Andrew Dittrich found some space on the right side and raced for a 42 yard return, giving KP possession inside the 10. After a pair of runs from Olsen, Lydon grabbed his third touchdown with yet another 1 yard sneak. Baker’s extra point made it 21-0 with 8:36 left in the game.

“It’s complimentary football. It’s cliche to say right now but it’s nice to have it,” Lee said. “Special teams, we’ve been waiting to make a big play in special teams. In the past we’ve always had a guy that can do that and we’re starting to develop that now. Hopefully that’s something we can capitalize on and get good field position.”

Nathan Gudas, Evan Rice and Sam Saintilus came up with sacks on Foxboro’s last possession, putting an end to the game. King Philip had five sacks with Garrity, John DeLuca, and Nick Kerr also getting in on the action.

“The kids played really good,” Lee said of his defense. “All of the guys in the secondary, they are all returning players. So all last year, they got tons of work. Last year when we played [Foxboro] they went right down the field throwing the ball. It started that way tonight but the kids settled down, made some adjustments, we got some pressure and went from there. When you get a lead, you feel good and we were able to keep it away from them. It wasn’t as pretty as we’d like it to be but it was good enough to get it done.”

King Philip football moves to 2-0 with wins over two Davenport division teams, which do not count to the league record. It marks just the fourth time in history KP has beat Foxboro and North in the same season, including 2011, 2009 and 1969. The Warriors will start their Kelley-Rex schedule with a trip to Oliver Ames next week.

“Back in the old days, we’d be sitting pretty good right now,” Lee said with a laugh of beating North and Foxboro to start the season. “The guys don’t really understand what the big three [Foxboro, North, Mansfield] was in the Hock. We used to waive the white flag to Jack, we used to hope North Attleboro would stop scoring. To be competitive with those guys means everything.”

Foxboro (1-1) will open up Davenport play on Saturday when they take a visit to Sharon to play the Eagles, who are sitting at 2-0.

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Lydon, Garrity Lift Warriors to Win at Community Field

King Philip Football
Junior Brendan Lydon thre the game-winning touchdown pass and Sean Garrity ran for a pair of scores as King Philip beat North Attleboro on opening day at Community Field. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – King Philip head coach Brian Lee likes to keep things close to the vest. Coming into the season, many outside of the program expected senior John DeLuca to be the starting quarterback for the third straight year. Instead, on opening night at Community Field, DeLuca was split out as a slot receiver and junior Brendan Lydon was under center.

Facing North Attleboro on the road is not the easiest task for a quarterback’s first varsity game, but Lydon answered the call with 112 yards, the game-winning touchdown, and most importantly no turnovers. Thanks to a strong performance from Lydon, two touchdowns from senior running back Sean Garrity, and a typically smothering defensive performance, KP started its season with a 19-7 victory.

“He’s like a surfer or something,” Lee joked about Lydon. “He doesn’t really get rattled too much and that’s a good temperament to have and he couldn’t have played better on his first night.”

Lydon said, “It feels unbelievable. I just had to stay calm, cool, and collected and I knew the boys would get it done.”

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The Warriors moved the ball well on its first drive, including a 26-yard completion by Lydon to Shane Frommer on a screen to the North 20-yard line. But, the drive stalled, as did KP’s second drive, which also ended up in Rocketeers territory until Garrity lost a fumble at the North 39.

After back-to-back three and outs, North finally got something going offensively and moved the ball upfield. Junior Chad Peterson hit senior Bobby Mylod for 21 yards on third and 11 to keep the drive alive and then hit Mylod again on a crossing pattern for a 15-yard touchdown to give the hosts the lead.

Another KP drive ended in North territory, but the Warriors got the ball back at the Rocketeers 26 when Frommer dove on Nick Rajotte’s fumble. It was doubly difficult for North, which also lost Rajotte to an injury for the remainder of the game.

Garrity made the turnover count when he took a toss to the near sideline and burst through a hole for a 26-yard score that tied the game heading into halftime.

“It was huge because we had some drives fizzle,” said Lee of the tying touchdown. “I thought Sean really set the tone for us tonight. We didn’t even know he was going to be our main dude until tonight and he was angry and he wanted the job.”

The Warriors started the second half with the ball and quickly went back to work grinding out yards with the running game. Alex Olsen had a 10-yard carry on an inside handoff to convert on third and short and two plays later KP took the lead. North got pressure on Lydon, but he somehow eluded the rush long enough to fire a strike downfield to Michael Mello. The 48-yard touchdown put KP ahead 13-7.

“Defintely a lot of pressure,” said Lydon. “I don’t know…it was kind of a spur of the moment kind of thing. Swam the guy, threw it deep and Mello was there to get the TD. The greatest feeling in the world.”

North coach Don Johnson said, “I thought Tommy Reynolds had him and then the kid makes a good catch. The coverage wasn’t bad; we were there, so it was one of those kind of games. I knew it was going to come down to one play here or there, whichever team would make those plays and they made more than we did tonight.”

King Philip put the game away with a drive to make Lee proud. The Warriors moved 75 yards on 15 plays and ran out the remainder of the clock in the third quarter and the first three minutes of the fourth. Lydon found tight end Brett Mazur for a third down conversion, DeLuca (10 carries, 69 yards) ran the “Wildcat” three times for 25 yards, and Garrity finished the drive with a 12-yard rush up the middle.

“What they do, they do very well,” said Johnson. “They’re not fancy. They just pound it and come right at you. I thought the quarterback did a really nice job, so you couldn’t just sell out on the run.”

The Warriors were also dominating on defense. KP allowed only five first downs in the game and sacked Peterson four times. Junior Evan Rice, whose father played with Lee at Walpole High, had three of those sacks and two other hits that forced incomplete passes. Peterson (9-16, 59 yards) hooked up with Kyle McCarthy several times in the second half, but could not get the ball down field. Andrew Dittrich picked off a deep throw with a minute left to seal the win.

“That was part of the reason we didn’t get much going on offense,” said Johnson of the pressure. “In part that was good defense, but we had some breakdowns inside too.”

Lee saved special praise for DeLuca. He said, “You see what John DeLuca is for this team. How much of a competitor he is, what a winner he is, so you’re going to take a kid like that and ask him to move you’ve got to think highly of the kid coming in. It says a lot about John and how much he wants to win.”

The KP bench was all smiles as it ran through a tunnel of cheerleaders and fans on the way to the locker room. Lydon admitted that the Warriors felt under-appreciated coming into the season. He explained, “North is a great team, ranked in the top five to start the season…I guess we just brought it. It’s a great feeling and definitely a lot of confidence going forward.”

Lee added, “I didn’t know if we had it anymore. There’s new rules and football’s changing…they’re trying to make it something I don’t want to be a part of and then they come out tonight and they play it’s the way it’s supposed to be played.”

North Attleboro will travel to Bishop Feehan next week, while King Philip will get another cross-division test when it hosts Foxboro.

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