Football: 2019 Davenport Division Preview

Stoughton football
Stoughton’s Christopher Ais carries the ball after hauling in a pass in the second half against Canton on Thanksgiving. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2019 Davenport Football Preview

Canton

2018 Record: 8-3
2018 Finish: Reached D5 South Final (Davenport Division Champions)
Coach: Dave Bohane

Key/Returning Players: Robbie Gallery, Sr., SE/LB; Johnny Hagan, Sr., QB; Kyle Fitzgerald, Sr., HB/FS; Matt Connolly, Jr., OL/DL; Gersom Rivera, Sr., RB/HB; Lucas Bryant, Sr., OL/DL; Jack Connolly, Sr., OL/DL; James Murphy, Sr., LB; Derrell Brown, Sr., OL/DL; Owen Lehane, Sr., OL/LB; David Allen, Sr., SE/DB; Jace Emma, Sr., SE/DB; Cam Sanchez, Jr., HB/DB;

Outlook:
Canton had its best season in recent memory a year ago, but the 2019 squad is aiming to take it one step further.

With starters back at almost every position, Canton is aiming to defend its Davenport division title and get back to the sectional final for the second straight season. Johnny Hagan is back under center this season and has all of his weapons back. The Bulldogs ran a mix of Wing-T and spread offense a year ago so Hagan is comfortable running whatever is needed this year. Kyle Fitzgerald, Gersom Rivera, and Cam Sanchez are all talented backs that can help grind down opposing defenses while Hagan makes a lot of plays with his feet as well. Jace Emma was one of Hagan’s favorite targets last year and he will be joined by David Allen as options in the passing game. The offensive line will be anchored by senior Jack Connolly, who missed a good amount of last season with an injury. Matt Connolly, Derrell Brown, and Lucas Bryant return to the line as well while Carson Campbell and Brandon Baran are in the mix for the final spot.

A lot of the same names will make plays on the defensive end as well with Jack Connolly and Matt Connolly teaming up with Nnamdi Onyemelukwe to provide size on the line. The strength of the defense will once again be with the linebackers as the Bulldogs have James Murphy back in the middle alongside junior Lucas Ragusa. Owen Lehane and Robbie Gallery both had strong seasons coming from the outside. The entire secondary is back for the Bulldogs with Rivera and Sanchez handle the corners and Fitzgerald and Allen provide physicality from the safety spots. And for special teams, Lehane handles kicking duties, Allen returns as the punter, and Rivera and Fitzgerald handle return duties. The Bulldogs will look to build some depth with so many two-way players in the lineup.

“We have a lot of experience with a lot of guys that have played at this level, and we had the playoff run so that should definitely help us down the road,” said Canton coach Dave Bohane. “We are focused on Dighton-Rehoboth, focusing on one game at a time. We have a lot of competitors that don’t quit.”

Foxboro

2018 Record: 5-6
2018 Finish: Reached D5 South Quarterfinal
Coach: Jack Martinelli

Key/Returning Players: Anton George, Sr., DL; Mike Sheehan, Sr., LB; Brian Derba, Sr., WR/DB; Shayne Kerrigan, Sr., DB; Michael Devlin, Sr., DB; Zach Jenkins, Sr., OG; Aidan Dow, Sr., OG; Austin Read, Sr., DT; Elijah Lewis, Sr., SE; Ryan Hughes, Sr., SE;

Outlook:
Foxboro’s biggest win of the season came in its final game, a thrilling overtime win over rival Mansfield at Fenway Park two days before Thanksgiving. If the Warriors are able to carry any of that momentum into the 2019 season, Foxboro will certainly be in the mix for the Davenport division title.

The Warriors return a good amount of talent from last year but will need to find a replacement for Liam Foley, who came on strong at the end of last season. Senior Shayne Kerrigan and junior Cam Prescott have both taken reps this preseason so longtime coach Jack Martinelli and his staff will have two good options to work with under center. Last year’s leading rusher Mike Luong also graduated so there will be an opportunity for someone to take on carries out of the backfield. The Warriors have good skill options in Brian Derba (three touchdown catches last year) and split ends Elijah Lewis and Ryan Hughes. Foxboro has some experience on the line as well as Zach Jenkins and Aidan Dow are both returning starters at the guard position.

Foxboro’s defense has returning players at all three levels so the Warriors will likely rely on that side of the ball, especially early on against two strong non-league foes. Anton George, a HockomockSports Hock 5 selection for defensive line, is back and will be a force to deal with for opponents. Austin Read will be key in Foxboro’s run defense from the defensive tackle spot. Mike Sheehan returns to anchor the linebackers group after a standout junior season. The secondary should be one of the top units in the league with a lot of experienced playmakers. Derba and Kerrigan made a lot of plays defensively last year and Michael Devlin could be poised for a big year for the Warriors.

“With a challenging scrimmage schedule and formidable non-league opponents, we should be prepared for the Hock grind,” Martinelli said “We have several key components returning to make this possible, but it’s one game at a time.”

Milford

2018 Record: 6-5
2018 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Anthony Vizakis

Key/Returning Players: Colby Pires, Sr., QB; Luke Rosa, Sr., RB/LB; CJ Cerrella, Sr., RB/LB; Nick Yohn, Jr., OL/DL; Dom Schofield, Jr., OL/DL; Mario Lee, Jr., OL/DL; Carter Scudo, Jr., WB/DB; Dom Stallbaum, Jr., OL/DL; Max Martin, Jr., WR/CB; Matt Varteresian, Jr., WR/DB; Herrick Louis, Jr., WR/LB; Kevin O’Connor, Jr., WR/LB; Xavier Hilton, Sr., WR/DB;

Outlook:
Milford just missed out on the playoffs last season but the 2019 Scarlet Hawks are determined to get back to postseason play.

There is a lot of experience on both sides of the ball, and maybe most importantly, at key positions both offensively and defensively. The Hawks have Colby Pires back at quarterback after a big junior season that saw him toss 22 touchdowns, second most in the Hockomock League. But the challenge will be developing chemistry with a brand new set of receivers. Brendan White (12), Sean Lehane (5), and Shapel Feaster (5) all graduated so Milford is looking for new names to step up and make plays offensively. Junior Carter Scudo is a terrific athlete and will be one of the top options while Max Martin, Matt Varteresian, Herrick Louis, Kevin O’Connor, and Xavier Hilton are all battling to get reps on the field. Milford does bring back its leading rusher in Luke Rosa (seven rushing touchdowns), a very powerful back that will help the Hawks pound the ball. Juniors Nick Yohn, Dom Schofield, Mario Lee, and Dom Stallbaum provide a physical yet athletic offensive line.

The linebackers will be the heart of the Hawks’ defense this season. CJ Cerrella had a breakout junior year and will be on the top linebackers in the Hockomock League this season. He will be joined by Rosa, Louis, and O’Connor. A lot of the offensive line will see action on the defensive side of the ball as well while Scudo returns as a top defensive back at the safety position. Look for Martin, Varteresian, and Hilton to factor into the secondary as well for Milford this season.

“We have a very focused, determined, and excited team this season,” said head coach Anthony Vizakis. “They are a hard working group of guys with their eyes on one goal, one mission, and they are determined to do it together.”




North Attleboro

2018 Record: 8-3 (Davenport Division Champions)
2018 Finish: Reached D3 South Semifinals
Coach: Don Johnson

Key/Returning Players: Ethan Friberg, Sr., TE/DE; John Kummer, Sr., OL/DL; Tom O’Neill, Sr., RB/LB; Ethan Mottinger, Sr., OL/DL; Matt Penta, Jr., QB/DB; Trevor Hewett, Sr., OL/DL; Montrel Jackson, Sr., OL/DL; Russell Dunlap, Sr., SE/DB; Owen Harding, Sr., TE/LB; Duane Bryant, Sr., RB/LB; Tyler DeMattio, So., QB/K;

Outlook:
The Rocketeers have won four straight league titles, the last three in the Davenport division, and will be looking to make it five straight this year.

If North Attleboro does make it five straight, they will need some new players to step up into new roles to do so. The Big Red graduated a lot of talent in almost every position but the Rocketeers are a program that doesn’t rebuild, they reload. The strength of the offensive will start with the offensive line as there are three returning starters. Ethan Mottinger (6’6, 294), who committed to UMass over the offseason, and John Kummer (5’11, 256) man the tackle positions while Ethan Friberg (6’5, 252) adds additional protection from the tight end position. Senior Casey Poirier, junior Matt Penta, and sophomore Tyler DeMattio are locked in a healthy battle at quarterback with each bringing a unique skill set to the offense. North lost almost all of its skill position players but there are a variety of versatile junior backs battling for time. Friberg, Russell Dunlap, and Robbie Donovan will be options in the passing game.

The strong suit of the Rocketeers’ defense will be in the front seven with several returning lineman and senior captain Tom O’Neill anchoring the linebackers. Friberg will be on one end while Montrel Jackson will see time at the other defensive end position. Kummer is joined by Trevor Hewett at defensive tackle to give North a strong, experienced defensive line. Owen Harding and Jacob Silva are in the mix to join O’Neill at linebacker while North will look for some new names to step up in its secondary alongside Jared and Matt Penta. DeMattio returns as the kicker after a standout freshmen campaign (32-for-35 PAT, 3-for-4 field goals).

“We will need to find a way to stay healthy and quickly develop some depth,” said North Attleboro head coach Don Johnson. “With the inexperience in the skill positions, we expect there to be some early growing pains, but we are hopeful that the great attitude and work ethic that has been displayed in the preseason will help us overcome the lack of experience.”

Sharon

2018 Record: 3-8
2018 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Dave Morse

Key/Returning Players: Jaden Williams Thomas, Sr., OL/DL; Alec Filipkowski, Sr., WR/DB; John Saab, Sr., RB/LB; Nico Marrero, Jr., RB/LB; Ike Ogbonnanze, Jr., TE/LB; Kiran Chandrasekaran, Jr., QB; Owen Conway, Jr., WR/DB; Shea Letendre, Jr., OL/DL;

Outlook:
Sharon might not have as many players as some of the other programs in the league and might not match up in terms of size, but the Eagles have plenty of fight and are looking to showcase that this year.

The Eagles are going to look to capitalize on their team speed this year. Junior Nic Morrero was strong on both sides of the ball last season and will likely feature in the backfield this season for the Eagles. John Saab is another returning play that should pick up carries for the Eagles this year. Junior Kiran Chadrasekaran looks set to take over under center for the Eagles and will have a couple of experienced players to work with in senior receiver Alec Filipkowski and junior tight end Ike Ogbonnanze while junior receiver Owen Conway will likely see an expanded role this season.

Senior Jaden Williams-Thomas returns to anchor both the offensive and defensive lines and will be joined by junior Shea Letendre. Williams-Thomas will handle defensive tackle duties and should be a big part of the Eagles’ defense this year. Marrero anchors the linebackers alongside Saab and Ogbonnanze while Filipkowski and Conway will see time in the secondary.

“We have a great group of relentless players that have the right attitude and understand that they have a ton to prove,” said Sharon head coach Dave Morse.

Stoughton

2018 Record: 4-7
2015 Finish: Reached D3 South Quarterfinals
Coach: Greg Burke

Key/Returning Players: Anthony Pizzano, Sr., TE/DB; Clayton Rahaman, Sr., QB/DB; David Peters, Sr., WR/DB; Oluwole Fabikun, Sr., OL/DL; Jaden McCall, Sr., OL/DL; Carlvin LaGuerre, Sr., OL/DL; Jerry Brisson, Sr., OL/DL; Kevlen Rodrigues, Sr., OL/DL; Christopher Ais, Jr., RB/LB; Christian Ais, Jr., RB/LB; Christian Georges, Jr., HB/LB; John Burke, Jr., QB/DB;

Outlook:
Stoughton didn’t have the season it wanted in terms of record, but the Black Knights were competitive in just about every game last year and are hoping to get back in the hunt for the Davenport crown this year.

Despite finishing 4-7, Stoughton beat both Davenport champions in North Attleboro (21-10) and Canton (28-7 on Thanksgiving) during the year. If the Black Knights are able to string together those type of performances throughout the year, they will definitely be competing for their first division crown since 2015. Offensively, Stoughton has a good battle at quarterback with junior John Burke and senior Clayton Rahaman. Both saw time last year so head coach Greg Burke has two experienced options to start under center. The offensive line should be a strength for Stoughton with a good group of seniors that includes Oluwole Fabikun, Jaden McCall, Carlvin LaGuerre, and Jerry Brisson. Having a strong and experienced line will set things up nicely for the Black Knights strong run game, which will feature Savion Scott, Christopher Ais, and Christian Ais. Tight end Anthony Pizzano, junior Jake Queeney, and track star David Peters will provide options in the pass game.

Stoughton is often known for its defense and will be looking for that to continue during the 2019 season. Kelven Rodrigues will be a big part of the defensive line for the Black Knights, joined by Brisson, LaGuerre, and Fabikun. Georges had a very strong season on the end last season but will mostly line up as a linebacker this year, alongside Scott and Christopher Ais. Stoughton will have a hard hitting secondary once again this season with Burke, Pizzano, Christian Ais and Kamari Grant all likely to see time.

“We hope to stay healthy and be competitive in the league, all of our athletes improved their strength and conditioning,” Burke said. “We have many juniors also playing and will be a big part of the team. We will need help from all players and try to improve depth.”

2019 Hockomock League Boys Outdoor Track All Stars

Below are the official 2019 Hockomock League Boys Outdoor Track All Stars, selected by the coaches in the league.

Hockomock League MVP

David Peters, Stoughton

Hockomock League All Stars

Colin Levis, Attleboro
David Cataloni, Attleboro
Junior Sainvil, Canton
Thomas Pulcini, Canton
Cam Harrington, Franklin
Dylan Kehoe, Franklin
Michael Hagen, Franklin
Nicholas Calitri, Franklin
Tyler Brogan, Franklin
Michael Griffin, King Philip
Michael Norberg, King Philip
Terrell Jacobs-Baston, King Philip
Andrew Williams, Mansfield
Anthony Comer, Mansfield
Colbey Eason, Mansfield
Greg Waters, Mansfield
Jason Windvogel, Mansfield
Patrick Heavey, Mansfield
Anthony Ghalbouni, Milford
Hugo Lopes, Milford
Joseph Madden, Milford
Rafaell Feliciano, Milford
Emmett Ruote, North Attleboro
Jacob Petersen, North Attleboro
Liam Conway, North Attleboro
Liam Monahan, North Attleboro
Omar Jasseh, North Attleboro
Owen Nassaney, North Attleboro
P.J. Gilpatrick, North Attleboro
Aaron MacDonald, Oliver Ames
Zane Reservitz, Oliver Ames
Marc Davanzo, Sharon
Patrick McManus, Sharon
Anthony Pizzano, Stoughton
Christopher Ais, Stoughton
David Peters, Stoughton
Elisha Teneus-Claude, Stoughton
Steven Westgate, Taunton

Thursday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 01/10/19

Today’s games are listed below.

Boys Hockey
Franklin, 0 vs. Pope Francis, 5 – Final

Boys Indoor Track
Mansfield, 76 vs. Oliver Ames, 24 – FinalMansfield swept the 55M dash, led by Greg Waters’ first place finish in 6.92. Joe Cappelletti and Aidan Sacco took second and third, respectively, for the Hornets. Jack Rivard (37.90) and Dan Knight finished first and second in the 300M, both setting personal best times. Patrick Heavey won the 2 Mile with a Hockomock-best time of 9:57.18, Colbey Eason won the shot put 47-09.00 and sophomore Nico Holmes had a big PR with a toss of 39-05.00 to take third place.

Attleboro, 57 vs. King Philip, 43 – FinalAttleboro swept the 55M dash and went first and second in three more events to earn a close win over King Philip. Humza Habib (6.95), Dante Williams, and Colin Levis were the top three finishers in the 55M dash for the Bombardiers while Levis (37.33) and Habib came in first and second in the 300M, Alex Paradise (5-08.00) and Ethan Shangraw were first and second in the high jump, and Shangraw (18-07.00) and Demar Dunn went 1-2 in the long jump. King Philip swept first place in the distance events with Mike Griffin winning the 1000M in 2:37.59, Eric DiLorenzo crossing first in the 1 Mile in 4:44.00, and Michael Norberg taking the top spot in the 2 Mile in 10:22.88.

Franklin, 55 vs. Taunton, 45 – FinalFranklin swept the 1000M race to highlight a close win over Taunton. Senior Michael Hagen set a new personal best time at 2:47.65 to win the race with classmate Nicholas Zaffino just 0:00.02 seconds behind. Senior Dylan Kehoe rounded out the top three for the Panthers. Andrew Faught (8.80) and Nicholas Mazzarella went 1-2 in the 55M hurdles for Franklin. Taunton’s Sebastien Celestin was a double winner, taking first in both the 55M dash (6.89, PR) and the 300M (37.50, PR).

Milford, 70 vs. Canton, 25 – FinalMilford took first and second in four events and swept the high jump to earn a win over Canton. Anton Luckett won the high jump at 5-04.00 with Sean Lehane and Tiago Filadelfo taking second and third, respectively. Milford’s Hugo Lopes (37.48) and Rafaell Feliciano went 1-2 in the 300M, Ryan Kelley (1:31.53) and Anthony Ghalbouni were first and second in the 60M, Maxwell Manor (4:46.07) and Anthony DiStauro went 1-2 in the 1 Mile, and Miguel Torres (10:24.13) and James Comisky were the top two finishers in the 2 Mile. Canton’s Nate Quan was first in the long jump (19-04.50) and Cam Sanchez won the 55M dash (6.97).

Sharon, 82 vs. Foxboro, 17 – FinalSharon won eight individual events and both relays to record a big win over Foxboro. Isaiah Stessman was a double-winner for the Eagles, taking first in the high jump (5-04.00) and the 55M hurdles (8.17, PR). Foxboro senior Will Regan won the 600M in 1:27.08.

North Attleboro, 54 vs. Stoughton, 46 – FinalNorth Attleboro swept the 1 Mile and took first and second in the 2 Mile to earn a close victory over Stoughton. Liam Monahan won a pair of events for the Rocketeers, clocking in at 4:40.56 to win the 1 Mile with sophomore Jackson Magas taking second and sophomore Kyle Robinson coming in third. Monahan won the 2 Mile in 10:25.10 with junior Daniel Nobrega taking second. Stoughton took the top three spots in the 55M hurdles with junior David Peters (7.91) coming in first, sophomore Christopher Ais taking second, and junior Anthony Pizzano clocking in third.

Girls Indoor Track
Mansfield, 75 vs. Oliver Ames, 25 – FinalMansfield senior Amanda Mangano won three events for the second straight meet, helping the Hornets beat Oliver Ames. Mangano won the 55M dash (7.66), high jump (5-00.00), and long jump (16-06.50). Hornet sophomore Grace Fernandez cut off nine seconds to PR in the 600 to take first, Maggie Riley had a personal best time to win the 1 Mile and senior Zoe Plante shaved off nearly a half a second for a PR to win the 55M hurdles.

Attleboro, 31 vs. King Philip, 69 – FinalKing Philip swept the the 600M race, won both relays, and took first and second in three more events to pick up a win over Attleboro. Sophomore Grace Crocker set a new PR, clocking in at 1:50.68 to win the 600M with junior Liliana Rolfe and junior Brianna Quirke taking second and third. The Warriors earned the top two spots in the 55M hurdles (Abigail Dunne and Victoria Priestley), the shot put (Bailee Ziolkowski and Sarah Vigevani) and the high jump (Paige Berdos and Dunne). Attleboro’s Abisola Olaogun won both the 55M dash and the long jump (PR, 15-09.25) for the Bombardiers.

Franklin, 47 vs. Taunton, 53 – FinalTaunton won six individual events as well as the 4×400 relay to edge Franklin in a tight meet. Sophomore Olivia Dias was a double winner for the Tigers, winning the 55M dash (7.77) and the 600M (1:45.27) while Kerla Sylvestre won the 300M (43.46), senior Maggie Sullivan was first in the 1000M (3:17.26), Annabella Chavez had the top toss in the shot put (29-02.00), and Victoria Gravel won the long jump (15-10.00). Franklin’s Daniella Pierre was a double-winner, taking first in the high jump (4-10.00) and the 55M hurdles (8.92).

Milford, 76 vs. Canton, 20 – FinalMilford’s 4×200 relay team of Kerry O’Connor, Sydney Sutton, Sarah Flanagan, and Sienna Pierce set a new school record with a time of 1:49.35 to highlight the Scarlet Hawks’ win over Canton. O’Connor also won the long jump (16-04.00) and the 300M (42.16), Sutton took first in the 55M dash (7.57), Flanagan was second in both the 55M dash and 300M, and Pierce was fifth in the 55M dash and third in the 300M. Canton’s Bronwyn Mahoney won the shot put (30-05.50), Chloe Pennacchio took second in both the 1 Mile and 2 Mile, and sophomore Lauren Sullivan placed second in the 600M with a PR of 1:56.41.

Sharon, 60 vs. Foxboro, 36 – FinalSharon junior Jada Johnson continued her dominant season, this time winning three events to help the Eagles pick up a win over Foxboro. Johnson took first in the 300M (42.71, PR), the 55M hurdles (8.51, PR), and the high jump (5-04.00) to pace Sharon. Foxboro junior Isabell Hallal ran a PR in the 600M, clocking in at 1:50.06 to win the race.

North Attleboro, 75 vs. Stoughton, 16 – FinalNorth Attleboro swept three events on its way to a big win over Stoughton. The Rocketeers took the top three spots in the 55M dash (Vanessa Ibarhim, Emily Nardelli, Meagan Dowd), the 300M (Tess Collins, Lily Wetherbee, Sam Hawkins), and the long jump (Wetherbee, Celine Ibrahim, Hawkins). Stoughton sophomore Katrina Billo was first in the 1 Mile in 6:21.38.

Grier Helps Stoughton Run Past Canton on Thanksgiving

Stoughton football
Stoughton’s Christopher Ais carries the ball after hauling in a pass in the second half against Canton. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
CANTON, Mass. – Stoughton senior Jeff Grier was mostly a spectator during last year’s Thanksgiving game against rival Canton, a game the Bulldogs ran away with.

After not getting a carry on the holiday as a junior, Grier wanted to make the most of his opportunity this time around.

The senior delivered, and in a big way. Grier had 15 carries for 211 yards and scored three touchdowns to pace the Black Knights to a 28-7 win over the Bulldogs in the 93rd annual meeting on Thanksgiving.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“This felt great,” Grier said. “I didn’t play last year so this is my first real Thanksgiving game. Senior year, my last game, I just went out there and did my best, did what I could to help the team. Coming into today, we really wanted to bring [the trophy] back home and that’s what we did.”

Grier entered his final season as the top home run threat type running back in the Hockomock, capable of breaking off a big play on any carry. But injuries hampered his season, and Stoughton head coach Greg Burke said Thursday morning was the first time his starting running back was fully healthy all season.

“We played hard today, Grier got going – this is the first week he’s been healthy, and he’s a great kid,” Burke said. “The line played well, we don’t have the biggest line but they are tough, we have some tough kids.

“The kids wanted that trophy back so bad after we lost it last year.”

The teams were tied 7-7 at halftime before Grier went off in the second half with three unanswered scores to lead the way.

It took the Stoughton offense very little time to take its first lead of the game. After receiving the kick off to begin the second half, the Black Knights needed just two plays. On 2nd and 13, Grier came across the formation on a counter, found a small hole, burst through it and raced his way to a 66-yard touchdown. Josh Cocchi made all four of his extra points on the day, this one putting Stoughton up 14-7 with 10:02 left in the third quarter.

Canton’s offense took the field and looked primed to respond with a strong drive of their own. Highlighted by a 20-yard run from Kyle Fitzgerald (10 carries, 49 yards), the Bulldogs moved to the Stoughton 25-yard line.

But Stoughton’s defense clamped down, holding Canton to a short gain on first down, getting an incomplete pass on second down, and Savion Scott coming up with a big sack on third down. The Black Knights forced a turnover on downs with an incomplete pass on fourth.

The Black Knights offense went back to work, using a strong ground game to move up the field. Christian Ais (65 all purpose yards) had a 19 yard run and Alex Iverson followed with 15 more yards to get to the Canton 33-yard line.

On second down, sophomore quarterback John Burke (3-for-3, 68 yards) connected with Christopher Ais for 16 yards. On the next play, Grier fought his way through a tackle and found the end zone on an 18-yard carry. Stoughton led 21-7 with 1:45 left in the third quarter.

“We’ve played hard the last couple of weeks, we’ve just turned the ball over too many times,” Burke said. “We’ve played some tough teams this year, we’ve been up and down. I’m just happy for these guys that we finished strong today, it’s really rewarding for all they’ve been through this year.

“That’s a good Canton team, I don’t want to see them next year but I know we will. I love Dave [Bohane] and all of his guys, they are great coaches. It’s just phenomenal for the town of Stoughton and all of they’ve gone through.”

Stoughton’s defense forced a three and out but Canton’s defense answered with the same, with Brendan Albert coming up with a big nine-yard tackle for loss on third down to force a Stoughton punt.

The Black Knights’ defense didn’t allow Canton’s offense to get going at all, with Evan Jackman and Jacob Brisson combining to stop a runner for no gain on second down, and Christian Georges batting down a third-down pass at the line of scrimmage to force a punt.

Stoughton’s next offensive possession was short lived as Albert came from behind to knock the ball free and the Bulldogs recovered. But on the first play of the ensuing drive, Canton junior quarterback Johnny Hagan was picked off on a deep pass by Stoughton junior Anthony Pizzano with 6:00 left in the game.

“We kept those guys in check, they’ve been running all over people,” Burke said. “We did well today [on defense]. We kept it simple, used our simplest defense. We had to make sure that [Hagan] doesn’t kill you. We had a couple of spies on him every play, you have to. He’s a guy where nothing is happening on a play and all of a sudden he’s in the end zone.

Facing a 3rd and 14 at its own 28, Stoughton elected to keep the ball on the ground to kill more clock but Grier was able to turn the corner and get up field and no one was able to catch him as he sprinted for a 72-yard score and a 28-7 lead with 4:34 to play.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Canton scored the first touchdown of the day. After punting on the opening drive, the Bulldogs got the ball back after stopping Stoughton’s offense and fake punt attempt. Canton took advantage of the short field and on fourth down, Hagan hit Fitzgerald for a 30-yard touchdown. Owen Lehane’s extra point made it 7-0 with 9:20 left in the first quarter.

Stoughton tied the game late in the first half. After stalling on its first two drives, the Black Knights went to the air to get things going offensively. Burke hit Christian Ais out of the backfield for a 48-yard pass, down to the 1-yard line. From there, Burke pushed it in himself and tied the game 7-7 with 1:45 left in the second quarter.

“I’m just really happy for the kids,” Burke said. “They sucked it up and it was a great way to finish the year.”

Stoughton football finishes the season 4-7 while Canton closes out 2018 with an 8-3 record.