King Philip Defeats Reading For First State Title

King Philip football
King Philip junior Shane Frommer carries the ball in the first half at Gillette Stadium. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 
FOXBORO, Mass. – Throughout the 2016 season, King Philip head coach Brian Lee has said time and time again that the Warriors can throw the ball – they just don’t like to if they don’t have to.

Through the first 11 games, the running game was more than sufficient.

But in the D1A State Championship, KP had to rely on the passing game – and Lee was right, the Warriors can throw the ball.

Using an impressive aerial attach and it’s typical hard nosed defense, King Philip defeated Reading, 21-18, at Gillette Stadium for the program’s first ever state championship.

“Reading has an awesome defense, we could not [run the ball],” Lee said. “There were a lot of dudes in there and they were big and strong and physical. We just knew they were not going to let us do what we wanted. We worked on throwing the ball more in practice. We’ve been saying we can throw it, we just don’t like to if we don’t have.

“That’s why this team is so special, because we’re a running team and we had to throw it today. We had to throw it to guys that aren’t your conventional wide receivers and they had to make plays on the biggest stage. That’s why they’re so, so special.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

King Philip’s running attack has given teams fits as season but the Rockets’ defense was stout throughout the first half, bottling up run after run by the Warriors. KP’s defense kept things close but after a scoreless first quarter, the Warriors had just nine yards after two offensive series.

Reading was able to move the ball on its second series of the game, even converting a fourth down a fourth down on the first play of the second quarter at the KP 19-yard line. The Rockets were forced to go for it again on fourth down from the 13 yard line but Reading quarterback Corey DiLoreto’s pass was dropped in the end zone.

A 45-yard gain by Gio Fernandez finally gave King Philip’s offense some life as they moved into Reading territory. But a penalty forced KP back and 10 yard gain on fourth down from Brendan Lydon (13/18, 256 yards, two touchdowns) to Fernandez came up a yard short.

One play into Reading’s third series, Nick DiNapoli took the toss to the right side and got around the edge and sprinted his way for a 79 yard touchdown. A failed two point rush gave Reading a 6-0 lead with 3:11 to go in the first half.

On the next series, King Philip began its commitment to the passing game. Facing 3rd and 20, Lydon hit senior Tyler Jenesky over the middle for a 24 yard gain and a first down. Two plays later, Lydon connected with David Morganelli for 14 yards and another first down. After another completion to Jenesky, Lydon connected with Ethan Dunne on a post route for a 14 yard touchdown. Freshman Cole Baker’s extra point (3/3 PAT) gave KP a 7-6 lead with 28 seconds left in the half.

“That was huge,” Lee said of the first half touchdown. “We were getting outplayed big time. Gio gave us a big spark. I thought field position was a real factor early on. We could have done play action but I don’t like to do it when we’re backed up that much. We got some room with that big run and able get those points.”

Reading fumbled the ensuing kickoff and KP recovered at the Rockets’ 30 yard line but the refs ruled the runner down and the team’s headed into the halftime break just a point apart.

King Philip’s defense forced a punt on the opening series of the second half and took advantage with its offense. On the first play, Lydon went play action and found a wide open Brett Mazur for a 62 yard completion. An eight yard pass from Lydon to John DeLuca (45 all purpose yards) made it 4th and 1 from the 2 yard line.

Lydon called his own number and bulled his way into the end zone and Baker’s second extra point put King Philip up 14-6 with 6:34 in the third quarter.

After KP’s defense forced another punt, the offense marched down the field again but Lydon was picked off in the end zone to end the threat. On the ensuing offensive series, Reading opened up its playbook, going with a double reverse with receiver Matt Panacopoulos connecting with Eric D’Agostino for a 50 yard touchdown. However, the two point pass sailed high as KP held a 14-12 advantage with 9:48 left in the game.

It certainly didn’t take King Philip long to respond those. After a one yard gain on first down, the Warriors went play action with Lydon once again finding an open Mazur, who fought off a defender and scampered in for a 69 yard touchdown. Baker’s third extra point put KP up 21-12.

“All season, we’ve averaged about 200 yards on the ground,” Mazur said. “Tonight was a changeup. It was open, it was there, we knew that, and we just took advantage of it. We got the flats open, got everything open and it worked for us.”

“It was confidence and [Brendan’s] really calm,” Lee said of his quarterback. “After he made the mistake, he comes back and puts the ball on the money down here, just unbelievable.

“He’s never lost. Every time he starts, he’s never lost as a quarterback I think that’s impressive. I know it was freshmen and JV before but still. I was yelling and he said coach relax, we’re going to win this.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

After getting the ball back by stopping Reading on downs, King Philip was faced with its own fourth down from the Reading 37-yard line. It looked as though Lydon connected with Mazur again, who clearly got one foot down in bounds, but the ref ruled it was out of bounds and KP turned it over on downs.

The missed call was costly as Reading connected for a 63 yard touchdown on its ensuing drive. DiLoreto hit DiNapoli, who slipped by a pair of defenders and raced the rest of the way. The extra point attempt sailed wide with 3:38 to go.

For the second straight playoff game, Liam Cullagh came up with the onside kick attempt. The Warriors used back to back handoffs to DeLuca to earn a first down and two runs from Shame Frommer resulted in six yards, but KP faced 4th and 5 with 1:08 to go.

“The feeling is surreal; all the hard work throughout the year has really come together right now,” DeLuca said. “That was an A-plus effort. Reading over there played a great game, we played a better one. It was the little things that counted in that game. They made a lot of big plays and we just had to keep our mind straight to come back from those hard plays.”

Lee put his faith back in the passing game. Jenesky came in motion from left to right and split out with DeLuca heading in the opposite direction. That left Jenesky open for the catch and 16 yards, converting the first down and giving King Philip the win. It was Jenesky’s third catch of the game – he had just two all season prior to the game.

“Mazur making catches, Jenesky making another at the end…it was just awesome,” Lee said. “Just unbelievable, unbelievable. And then Morganelli made a catch down there, Gio had one on the wheel. It was just crazy.”

For Lee, the program has come a long way since he took over in 2005.

”No disrespect to anybody but football was in a very bad spot when we got there,” Lee said. “I was just hugging it out with Rich Hardwood, who has helped me build this program and made sure these kids have what they need. As a regional school you lose a lot to Xaverian and we lost a lot to Feehan in the beginning. We were always trying to get the kids and the community to buy in. Building a culture is harder than building a team. Coming out today and seeing all of those people, I was like where are we? It’s taken 12 years to build this.

“If you’re a young coach out there and you say our school doesn’t have it, this is not the right place, we can’t win here…you’re doing yourself a huge disservice. You can win anywhere, KP proves it. You win at KP, you can win at everywhere.

“I am not a great coach. What I do is I hire great people and I have great assistant coaches. My defensive coordinator Matt Wassel and [offensive coordinator] John Sariandies – Norwood, shame on them for not standing by him when he was trying to do the right things down there – we have great, great coaches and they’re winners, I love them.”

King Philip finishes the season 12-0 as D1A State Champions.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Warriors Air It Out To Win First Super Bowl Title

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KP quarterback Brendan Lydon completed 13-18 passes for a career-high 256 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Warriors to a win in the Div. 1A Super Bowl and a first state title. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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FOXBORO, Mass. – With 1:45 remaining in Saturday night’s Div. 1A Super Bowl, King Philip faced third and eight from the Reading 38-yard-line. The Warriors went to their bread and butter and gained three yards to the 35. KP ran the play clock down and called timeout. There was confusion when they lined up, so the Warriors had to call their final timeout as well.

Knowing that five yards would seal the program’s first state title, King Philip put the ball in the hands of junior quarterback Brendan Lydon. He delivered. Lydon flipped a perfectly-timed pass to Tyler Jenesky (three catches, 43 yards) in the flat for a 16-yard gain and clinched the state championship at Gillette Stadium.

“If we had gotten a few more yards on third down then we probably would’ve gone with the run,” said senior John DeLuca. “We called in our go-to play, which is a flood right… Luckily, the Reading guys got mangled up with me when I was doing a 10-yard out. [Tyler] was wide open and able to seal the game.

“That was the best execution I’ve ever seen it and it came in the clutch.”

King Philip has been a run-first team under head coach Brian Lee. The Warriors are a team that likes to grind out wins with an old school style that flies in the face of the typical spread formation, pass-happy offense that have become commonplace in high school football.

But, in the biggest game in the program’s history, the Warriors turned all of that on its head, throwing 18 times against a Rockets defense that was piling numbers into the box. Lydon completed 13-18 passes for a career-high 256 yards and totaled three touchdowns (two through the air and one on the ground).

“We were getting stuffed at the beginning of the game so we decided to start throwing,” said Lydon, who was as cool during his interviews as he seemed to be in the pocket. “We just trusted the game plan, listened to the coaching staff and just went with the flow.”

DeLuca, who was the starting quarterback for the past two years before moving to receiver in the preseason, praised Lydon for his preparation for the Super Bowl and for being ready when his number was called.

“The past three weeks, since we beat Bridgewater-Raynham, he’s been practicing 110 percent,” DeLuca said. “He’s been coming out early and throwing with the receivers to get the timing right. This game means more than anything to him and he wanted to prove that he can do it. He came in, he knew what he had to do, he did it and he’s a winner.”

The Rockets knew the typical KP game plan was to keep the ball on the ground, but on the third possession of the first half Lydon surprised Reading with a play action pass to Giovanni Fernandez for the Warriors first big gain. That drive ended with a turnover on downs, but it showed the capability of KP’s passing attack.

On its next possession, KP took the lead with a touchdown pass from Lydon to Ethan Dunne. In the third quarter, Lydon used another play action fake to open up Brett Mazur downfield for a huge gain inside the Reading 10. That same combo hooked up again in the fourth quarter on a 69-yard touchdown that turned out to be the game-winner.

“Tonight was a changeup,” said Mazur, who finished with 131 yards receiving. “It was open, it was there, we knew that, and we just took advantage of it. We got the flats open, got everything open and it worked for us.”

When asked about the development of Lydon as quarterback, Mazur replied, “He’s grown so much. You can see him develop. You can see his throws, his vision have gotten much better. He’s making better decision since the beginning of the season and he’s really grown as a player.”

Lydon shrugged aside questions about whether or not he felt more comfortable in the offense now compared to his first start this season at North Attleboro.

He explained, “We always had the potential; we have the receivers. We just like to pound the rock because we have good running backs, but when it came down to it we had to throw the ball.”

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

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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.

Friday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 10/07/16

Today’s games are listed below.

Game of the Week – Football
Attleboro, 35 @ Oliver Ames, 8 – Final
1st Quarter: (A) Tyler McGovern 63 yard pass to Elvin Sam, Paul DeLuca XP good; (A) T. McGovern 36 yard pass to E. Sam, P. DeLuca XP good; (A) T. McGovern 1 yard rush, P. DeLuca XP good.
2nd Quarter: (A) Cam Furtado 8 yard rush, P. DeLuca XP good.
3rd Quarter: No scoring.
4th Quarter: (A) C. Furtado 3 yard rush, P. DeLuca XP good; (OA) Liston Funai 5 yard rush, Travis Campbell pass to Michael Mulrean 2pt conversion.

Football
Stoughton, 42 @ Canton, 22 – Final
1st Quarter: (S) Justin Ly 87-yard TD, Josh Cocchi XP good; (C) Tony Harris 65-yard TD, Thomas Monagle XP good; (S) Ryan Sullivan 86-yard punt return, J. Cocchi XP good.
2nd Quarter: (S) Evan Gibb 60-yard pass to Izon Swain-Price, J. Cocchi XP good; R. Sullivan 3-yard rush, J. Cocchi XP good.
3rd Quarter: (S) E. Gibb 19-yard pass to Jack Connelly, David Cellucci 2-point rush; (S) I. Swain-Price 94-yard rush, XP no good.
4th Quarter: (C) Joe Mulkay 8-yard rush, Dan Alice 2-point rush; (C) Dan Dillon 1-yard rush, T. Monagle XP good.

Milford, 41 @ Foxboro, 14 – Final
1st Quarter: (F) Mark Clagg 24 yard pass to Jamaine Few, John Cronin XP good; (M) Blake Hill 58 yard rush, Sean Lehane XP good; (F) Phil Dure 5 yard rush, J. Cronin XP good.
2nd Quarter: (M) B. Hill 5 yard rush, S. Lehane XP good.
3rd Quarter: (M) B. Hill 2 yard rush, S. Lehane XP good; (M) B. Hill 56 yard rush, XP blocked.
4th Quarter: (M) Ryan O’Toole 56 yard rush, S. Lehane XP good; (M) Matt Curran 22 yard pass to Chris Rivera, S. Lehane XP good.

Franklin, 13 @ King Philip, 35 – Final
1st Quarter: (KP) Shane Frommer 62 yard punt return, XP good.
2nd Quarter: (KP) S. Frommer 15 yard rush, XP good.
3rd Quarter: (KP) S. Frommer 11 yard rush, XP good; (KP) Brendan Lydon 1 yard rush, XP good; (F) Jacob Wolowacki 1 yard rush, XP good.
4th Quarter: (KP) B. Lydon 5 yard pass to Brett Mazur, XP good; (F) J. Wolowacki 3 yard rush, XP no good.

Mansfield, 29 @ Taunton, 27 – Final
1st Quarter: (M) Anthony DeGirolamo 1 yard rush, Diogo DeSousa XP good.
2nd Quarter: (M) Nick Graham 44 yard rush, N. Graham 2pt rush; (T) Noah Leonard 15 yard pass to Adam McLaughlin, 2pt failed; (T) Brevan Walker 5 yard rush, N. Leonard 2pt pass to Mike Fernandez.
3rd Quarter: (M) Travis Sjoberg 55 yard interception return, D. DeSousa XP good; (T) B. Walker 10 yard rush, 2pt failed.
4th Quarter: (M) Joe Cox 5 yard rush, D. DeSousa XP good; (T) B. Walker 3 yard rush, XP good.

Boys Soccer
Milford, 0 @ Attleboro, 0 – Final Milford head coach Brian Edwards said Danny Mendoza played “exceptional defense” for the Scarlet Hawks and added Joey Madden did a great job up front.

Foxboro, 1 @ Oliver Ames, 2 – FinalJames Gillespie scored twice, once in each half, as Oliver Ames rallied from an early deficit. Matt Campbell and Thomas McCormick notched assists for Oliver Ames in the win.

North Attleboro, 0 @ Mansfield, 1 – FinalJames Chotkowski netted the game winning goal with just five minutes to play to lift the Hornets. Max Gurnon’s throw in was headed on by Kevin Bouck to Chotkowski, who finished for the lone tally of the game.

Sharon, 0 @ King Philip, 5 – FinalCam Mullins scored a brace, both off corners, and Connor Mullins recorded three assists for the Warriors. Colby Koch, Tyler Mann (from Larsen Keys) and Cam McGovern also scored for KP.

Stoughton, 3 @ Franklin, 2 – FinalFranklin built a two goal lead in the first half but the Black Knights stormed back with three unanswered goals to grab the win. Farley Asmath and Nitin Chaudury netted goals off assists from Liam Kapples to put the hosts up 2-0. Stoughton answered as Noah Schulze scored on a free kick from 30 yards out and then tied the game before the break on Tyler Melo’s strike from outside the area. The Black Knights netted the game-winner with Melo finishing off a cross from Jordan Asnes. Stoughton head coach Aaron Salter said, “It was an excellent team performance today from every player.” Salter had specific praise for his back line as well as Melo and junior Brian Peoples.

Girls Soccer
Attleboro, 0 @ Milford, 1 – Final – Milford senior Sydney Morrison netted the lone goal of the game off an assist from Kristen Franzini to help the Scarlet Hawks edge Attleboro. Milford head coach Jay Mastaj said Maggie Boyle and Ashleigh Starks both played well for the Scarlet Hawks.

Mansfield, 2 @ North Attleboro, 1 – FinalHannah Reiter scored both goals for the Hornets, including the winner on a header off an Emily Vigeant corner with eight minutes remaining. Stephanie Kemp assisted the first Mansfield goal. Emily Schromm scored North Attleboro’s goal to tie the game at 1-1 in the second half off an assist from Haley Guertin. North interim head coach Bill Wallace said Aine Mendonca played well for the Rocketeers.

King Philip, 2 @ Sharon, 1 – FinalAvery Snead (from Maddie Smith) and Abby Baker scored the goals for the Warriors. Ally Filipkowski scored the goal for the Eagles off an assist by Alex Rabb.

Franklin, 4 @ Stoughton, 0 – Final Meghan Doherty, Miranda Smith, Sara Yelle and Molly Duncan scored the goals for the Panthers, while Calen Frongillo has a pair of assists and Emily Mastaj and Nadia Havens each had one.

Volleyball
Milford, 3 @ Attleboro, 0 – Final

Canton, 3 @ Taunton, 0 – FinalCanton picked up the win 25-13, 25-9, 25-15 in what head coach Pat Cawley called a “great team effort.” Nicole Poole controlled the offense skillfully, dishing out 27 assists and adding two kills and two aces. Hannah Jerrier had a 10 kills with no errors, hitting an impressive .435. Casey Shea added seven kills with just one error, hitting .545. Julia Panico was “outstanding” in the back row according to Cawley, finishing with 20 digs. Erika Lum, Maria Mackie and Emily Lynch combined for 33 digs for the Bulldogs.

Foxboro, 0 @ Oliver Ames, 3 – Final

North Attleboro, 1 @ Mansfield, 3 – FinalMansfield notched a 25-13, 25-17, 19-25, 25-21 win at home over the Rocketeers. Meg Hill led the Hornets with 10 kills and six blocks, Olivia Broyles had eight blocks and played strong defense. Julia Harrison had seven kills, Jess Haradon added 23 digs and Chloe Peters had 33 assists and 14 service points.

Sharon, 0 @ King Philip, 3 – FinalKing Philip earned the sweep on the road with a 26-24, 25-18, 25-19. Sydney Phillips led KP with 16 kills and 14 service points, Carly Adams added 18 service points and 22 assists, Amanda Loewen chipped in with eight digs, Liv Balduf had four kills and nine service points and Angela Vellante added 15 service points and three digs.

Stoughton, 1 @ Franklin, 3 – Final – Lauren McGrath helped set Franklin up for victory, notching 33 assists along with seven digs and three aces to lead the Panthers. Erin Skidmore had 15 kills and 11 digs, Maddie Kuzio had 21 digs and three aces, Lindsay McGowan contributed with seven kills, four digs, three aces and Meaghan Maguire finished with eight blocks and five kills for Franklin. For Stoughton, Riley Bagley had 43 digs while Val Whalen added 17 kills and sophomore Molly Turner had 20 assists.

Field Hockey
King Philip, 0 @ Stoughton, 1 – Final – Gianna Barbosa stopped 10 shots, earning the shutout as the Black Knights handed King Philip its first loss of the season. Kelli Joyce scored the game winner for Stoughton early in the second half off an assist by Julia Russell.

Mansfield @ Sharon, 3:45

Golf
Mansfield, 173 @ King Philip, 155 – Final King Philip’s Danny McLaughlin earned match medalist honors, shooting a low round of 37 to lead the Warriors. Senior Jack Citarell finished with a 40 for the Warriors but picked up birdies on both the fifth and sixth hole to help KP. Sebastian Ladoulis and Matt Stanton both shot 39 for KP. Jason Hindman led Mansfield with a 39.

Taunton, 256 @ Coyle & Cassidy, 280 – Final

King Philip Edges Mansfield in Key Division Showdown

King Philip football
King Philip senior John DeLuca looks upfield after taking a reverse – a run that set up the game winning touchdown. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 
WRENTHAM, Mass. – King Philip head coach Brian Lee would be the first to tell you the Warriors’ offense isn’t typically flashy, but in a crucial division showdown on the road at Mansfield, sometimes you need to add some flare.

Lee did just that, picking the perfect time to reach into KP’s bag of tricks. Trailing 17-14 with nine minutes to play in the game, quarterback Brendan Lyon tossed to his right to Sean Garrity, but instead of taking the ball around the edge, Garrity tossed it back to an oncoming John DeLuca on a reverse. DeLuca went on to break a couple of tackles downfield – one with the help of receiver Michael Mello – before finally being tackled at the 4 yard line – a 61 yard gain.

Two plays later, Lydon (3/10, 77 yards; 5 carries 17 yards) snuck it in from a yard out to put KP ahead.

The Warriors defense did its job, forcing a three and out on Mansfield’s ensuring drive and stopping the Hornets on fourth down with just over two minutes to play to secure a 20-17 win at Alumni Field.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“We’ve had it, we put it in the [playbook] a while ago but we were looking for the right moment to pull it out,” Lee said. “It’s a good play in concept but when John runs it, it becomes that much better of a play.”

The Hornets looked like they might pull back ahead on their final drive of the game. Anthony DeGirolamo connected with Hunter Ferreira for 24 yards on first down to move the ball to midfield. Two plays later, a double move from Ferreira put him open towards the end zone, but the throw just missed as Ferreira could only get one hand on the ball before it fell incomplete.

On fourth and 6 from their own 46, DeGirolamo dropped back to pass but the Warriors brought heavy pressure. Shane Frommer came from DeGirolamo’s right, forcing him to move in the pocket and Alex Olsen and Brett Mazur came crashing in for the sack and the turnover on downs.

KP converted a fourth and inches from the Mansfield 38 yard line with just over a minute to seal the win.

“Whenever you play Mansfield, it just always feels different,” Lee said. “I told the guys, when you come over there, you’re going to feel the difference. They hit harder, they run faster, they coach well. So you’re going to have to battle the entire time, there won’t be any runaways. I was pleased they were able to keep chopping like they did.”

After trading punts to open the game, DeGirolamo hit Will Garvin for a 27 yard gain to get inside the KP 10 yard line. The Warriors’ defense held on though and Mansfield settled for a 20-yard field goal from Diogo DeSousa to go up 3-0.

The Warriors forced Mansfield to punt on their next drive but King Philip senior Ethan Dunne came flying in untouched to block the kick. King Philip took over at the Mansfield 21 yard line.

It looked as though Mansfield’s defense had stopped KP despite the good field position, but the Warriors earned a defensive pass interference call on 4th and 19 from the 30 yard line. Two plays later, Lydon hit Garrity (15 carries, 58 yards) on a screen for a 25 yard touchdown and a 7-3 lead.

Mansfield worked up the field for a 44 yard field goal attempt just before halftime but it appeared the Warriors got a hand on the kick and it fell short.

“Just huge,” Lee said of the special teams plays. “We were struggling to move the ball on offense, we needed something positive to happen. We work a lot on special teams so to make plays like that…I think we blocked the field goal before the end of the half too. So two huge plays for us to turn it around.”

It didn’t take long for Mansfield to regain the lead in the second half, cashing in on its first drive. On just the third play, Hornet back Nick Graham (19 carries, 124 yards) got a nice block from fellow backJoe Cox, cut back into some space and sprinted for a 50 yard touchdown to put Mansfield up 10-7.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

KP responded right away to tilt the game back in their favor. Lydon hit Dunne on third down for a big 39 yard gain. Four plays later, Olsen (8 carries, 27 yards) plunged up the middle for a 2 yard touchdown to make it 14-10 with 5:37 left in the third quarter.

The seesaw battle continued with Mansfield landing a counter punch on its next drive. Facing 3rd and 5 from their own 34, DeGirolamo (5/12, 132 yards) used play action and then found a wide open Ferreira (3 catches, 105 yards) in space for a 66 yard touchdown, making it 17-14 with 2:17 left in the third.

The Warriors started the fourth quarter with a big play, converting a 4th and 1 from their own 30 yard line with a Lydon sneak. Three plays later is when Lee elected to go with the reverse for DeLuca’s big run.

“We blitzed on the backside and ran by it, that was a good call,” Mansfield head coach Mike Redding said of the play. “They had run the toss the last three games. We were prepared for that, but they hadn’t shown the reverse. It was a great call at that point and DeLuca made a great run. We wrapped him up a couple of times but he broke away.”

The extra point following Lydon’s sneak was short, opening the door for Mansfield with a three point deficit and foot of DeSousa available.

But KP’s defense held Mansfield on the ensuing drive, forcing a punt. Mansfield’s defense did the same as the time ticked away in the fourth quarter. That set up Mansfield’s fourth down attempt that was shut down by Olsen and Mazur’s sack.

“We were having a hell of a time covering their guys,” Lee said of sending pressure on the fourth down. “You wonder if you should play soft. They have so many weapons; they could have run it on fourth down. We thought they’d pass, the guys got in there and made a huge play.”

“Alex is our emotional leader on defense, a captain on defense. He puts us in the right defense, he works really hard. He’s an old school hard-nosed kid. And then at the end, running the ball, those ugly looking dives.”

The win puts King Philip in the driver’s seat in the Kelley-Rex division. Although it was Mansfield’s second loss of the season, it was the first in terms of the playoff system.

“Now we have to bang out the next three and get ready for the playoffs. Maybe [KP] finishes the one seed and we finish the second seed and maybe we play again, maybe the finals or the semifinals. I think that’s the focus now. We have three games to bang out wins and then lined up ready to go.

“This thing could go on for three more days and I think it’d go back and forth – two very good high school teams. It’s a tough one to lose but with this new system we have a second life to get lined up for in November to make a run in the playoffs. I think us and them are two of the better teams in the division, we still have a lot to play for.”

King Philip football (4-0, 2-0) will return to Macktaz Field next Friday with a visit from Thanksgiving rival Franklin. Mansfield (2-2, 1-1) will take a trip to Aleixo Stadium to take on the Tigers on the same day.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

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)

Josh PerryFollowJoshPerry


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.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

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.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Football: 2016 Kelley-Rex Division Preview

2016 Kelley-Rex Football Preview

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2016 Kelley-Rex Football Preview

Attleboro

2015 Record: 7-4
2015 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinal
Coach: Mike Strachan

Key/Returning Players: Cam Furtado, Jr., QB/DB; Tyler McGovern, Sr., QB; Andrew Gingras, Sr., OL/DL; Sam Corrado, Sr., RB/LB

Outlook:
Attleboro has developed as a program under head coach Mike Strachan and continues to be one of the teams contend with for the Kelley-Rex title even with a number of new faces on the roster heading into this fall. Even with the loss of standout lineman Kyle Murphy, the Bombardiers will have size on both sides of the ball and use that to control the line of scrimmage.

Offensively, senior quarterback Tyler McGovern returns after an injury knocked him out of the starting lineup midway through last season. He gives Attleboro the chance to look downfield, while junior Cam Furtado stepped in at QB last year and proved to be a dynamic athlete who opened up defenses with his legs.

The offense will flow behind senior lineman Andrew Gingras. At 6’5 and 285 pounds, Gingras will be counted on to open holes for senior running back Sam Corrado and also provide a stout run stopper on defense. Corrado will also provide help at linebacker and on special teams.

“The 2016 Bombardiers are a young team with many players that will be competing for time both offensively and defensively,” said Strachan, who is confident that despite the youth on the roster that Attleboro will be a team to watch this fall.

Franklin

2015 Record: 2-9
2015 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Eian Bain

Key/Returning Players:
Jacob Wolowacki, Sr., RB; Packie Watson, Sr., WR/DB; Joey Blasie, Sr., WR/DB; John Fenton, Sr., OL/DL; Jake Noviello, Jr., QB; Jake Lyons, Sr., RB/DB; Brad Jarosz, Sr., FB/DL; Nick Gordon, So., QB/DB; Khyler Colella, Sr., RB/LB

Outlook:
There is a lot of energy in the Franklin camp over the past couple of weeks, as new head coach Eian Bain takes over from longtime coach Brad Sidwell and looks to give the Panthers a boost after three straight one-win seasons in the Kelley-Rex division. Bain said that he expects there to be a “different vibe” from the team this season.

The Panthers have a lot of experience coming back this season starting in the backfield with quarterbacks Jake Noviello (junior) and Alex Cregg (senior), who both saw action last season. Whoever is starting will have a host of experienced receivers to look for with Eddie Scannapieco, Packie Watson, and Joey Blasie on the outside and 6’5 Connor Peterson at tight end. The bulk of the offense will run through senior tailback Jacob Wolowacki, who emerged last year as a go-to back with three touchdown runs.

Defensively, Franklin has a lot of talent returning in the back seven led by senior safety Jake Lyons, who will also help out as a running back on offense. The secondary also includes Kyle McInery and Nick Gordon with Justin O’Callahan, Bruce Johnson and Khyler Colella manning the linebacker positions. Brad Jarosz will add size to the defensive end position.

Bain said, “It has been an uptempo, high energy camp in Franklin. Players have answered the bell every step of the way to learn both new offensive and defensive systems. While still a work in progress, the team is making strides every day.”

King Philip

2015 Record: 5-6
2015 Finish: Reached D2 South Quarterfinal
Coach: Brian Lee

Key/Returning Players:
John DeLuca, Sr., QB; Sean Garrity, Sr., RB/DB; Brett Mazur, Sr., TE/LB; Alex Olsen, Sr., FB/LB; Giovanni Fernandez, Sr., RB/LB; Daniel Loewen, Sr., OL/DL; Michael Sullivan, Sr., OL/DL; Paul Macrina, Sr., OL/DL; Michael Mello, Sr., WR/DB

Outlook:
King Philip got off to a rough start last season, but managed to turn things around with a dramatic victory at Mansfield and won three out of four to get back into the postseason. The Warriors could be inconsistent on the offensive side of the ball in 2015, but with experienced skill position players coming back KP could be ready to challenge for the league title.

It begins in the backfield with senior quarterback John DeLuca, who is ready for his third year as the starter and is one of the toughest signal callers in the league. This season, DeLuca will have a number of weapons to help put points on the board. Senior running back Sean Garrity will add speed to the edge for the Warriors, while his classmate Giovanni Fernandez is a power back to add another dimension inside the red zone. Senior Michael Mello returns to add experience to the receiving corps.

The strength of the Warriors under head coach Brian Lee has been defense and line play and this season should be no different. Seniors Paul Macrina, Michael Sullivan, and Daniel Loewen will be major factors on both sides of the ball. Senior Alex Olsen has the potential to be the defensive MVP this year taking over the role of graduated linebacker Cory Lombardo. Fernandez and fellow senior Brett Mazur will add strength to the linebacker position as well.

Mansfield

2015 Record: 5-6
2015 Finish: Reached D2 South Semifinal
Coach: Michael Redding

Key/Returning Players:
Hunter Ferreira, Jr., WR/DB; Ben Budwey, Sr., WR; Brian Lynch, Sr., RB; Nick Graham, Sr., RB/DB; Anthony DeGirolamo, Sr., QB; AJ Gibbs, Sr., OL/DL; Colin Gibbons, Sr., OL/DL; Travis Sjoberg, Sr., LB; Andrew Ducharme, Sr., OL/DL; Nick Krouskos, Sr., RB/LB; Diogo DeSousa, Sr., K

Outlook:
Mansfield’s defense held teams to 15 or fewer points in all but two games last year. Only St. John’s Prep and Marshfield (two teams ranked in the top five in the state when they faced the Hornets) were able to get any rhythm going offensively against the Hornets. Despite strength on that side of the ball, Mansfield struggled to find consistency on offense and ended up one point short of a share of the Kelley-Rex division title.

This season, the Hornets offense could be a huge strength with a number of playmakers returning. Senior quarterback Anthony DeGirolamo will be the starter for the second season in a row and will have a strong backfield around him with senior Brian Lynch as the power back and Nick Graham giving Mansfield speed to the edges. DeGirolamo will be able to aim for junior Hunter Ferreira, who has emerged as one of the top receivers in the league, and senior Ben Budwey.

On defense, the front seven will once again be a strong feature for the Hornets. A.J. Gibbs, Colin Gibbons, and Andrew Ducharme add size and strength on both sides of the ball, while senior linebacker Travis Sjoberg is a leader with the potential for hitting triple digits in tackles this fall. Senior placekicker Diogo DeSousa is a weapon in special teams after being recognized at kicking camps over the summer.

“We are a senior team (30 seniors),” said Mansfield head coach Mike Redding, “but we have some very talented juniors and sophomores that will help us win this year and give us some great depth”

Oliver Ames

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

Key/Returning Players:
Liston Funai, Sr., RB; Jack Mills, Sr., OL/DL; Travis Campbell, Sr., QB/LB; Kyle Gagliardi, Sr., QB/DB; Leandro Moro, Sr., TE/LB; Jay Fruci, Jr., LB; Noah Fitzgerald, Jr., DB; Michael Mulrean, Jr., DB

Outlook:
Oliver Ames head coach Mike Holland is entering his second season in charge of the Tigers and will also be managing the program’s first fall in the Kelley-Rex division. In the last three games of 2015, OA beat Norwell and North Quincy and battled Sharon in a three-point loss on Thanksgiving Day, building momentum heading into this season.

The Tigers are excited about the potential of the offense with two quarterbacks who can make plays with their feet or their arms. Kyle Gagliardi and Travis Campbell are in the mix to be the starter and Holland expressed confidence in both of his seniors. OA also has a strong running game with senior Liston Funai leading the way for a group of backs that provide the Tigers with toughness and the ability to find open space.

OA has a lot of experience returning on the defensive side of the ball. Jack Mills will be a force on both the offensive and defensive line, while Jay Fruci and Leandro Moro will provide a spark from the linebacker spot. The secondary has also been boosted by Noah Fitzgerald and Michael Mulrean. “[We] have an excellent group of seniors and younger guys,” said Holland. “Kids are working hard and putting in strong efforts in all phases.”

Taunton

2015 Record: 1-10
2015 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Brad Sidwell

Key/Returning Players:
Adam Mclaughlin, Sr., WR/DB; Andrew Welington, Sr., TE/LB; Collin Hunter, Jr., QB; Khoury Simmons, Sr., OL/DL; Jake Norberto, Sr., OL/DL; Khoury Simmons, Sr., OL/DL; Paul Corrao, Jr., OL/DL; Zakim Harrow, Sr., OL/DL; Sylvester English, Sr., OL/DL; Mike Fernandez, Sr., TE/LB; Brevan Walker, Sr., RB/DB

Outlook:
The Tigers have a new coaching staff this fall, but it will be one that is very familiar to fans of the Hockomock League. Brad Sidwell moved to Taunton after 20 years in charge of the Franklin program. Sidwell comes into his new position with plenty of experience in the league and an experienced roster that has 14 returning starters, but the Tigers enter 2016 without a Kelley-Rex win since 2012.

There is optimism in the camp this preseason because of the large number of returning players and because of the size that Taunton boasts on the front line. Senior Zakim Harrow checks in at 6’2 and 335 pounds, his classmate Sylvester English is 6’1 and 290 pounds and junior Paul Carrao is 6’3 and 270 pounds. Those players will open holes on both sides of the ball and create space for playmakers such as senior linebacker Mike Fernandez and senior running back Brevan Walker.

There is a battle for the quarterback position this season. Junior Collin Hunter threw 11 touchdown passes last fall but sophomore Noah Leonard has impressed in camp and could snag the starting spot for Friday night’s opener at New Bedford. Whoever is under center will have a couple of strong targets to aim for with senior receivers Adam McLaughlin and Sam Krajewski and senior tight end Andrew Wellington all back.

“We’re just looking for improvement everyday,” Sidwell said. “Hopefully with a little confidence we can get off to a good start.”

King Philip Scores Early And Often Against Taunton

King Philip junior Gio Fernandez carries the ball in the first quarter against Taunton. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
King Philip junior Gio Fernandez carries the ball in the first quarter against Taunton. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)

By Ryan Lanigan, Editor-in-Chief
TAUNTON, Mass. – King Philip’s offense scored early and often and built a big lead early and never looked back in 47-22 win over Taunton.
The Warriors brought the pressure early and Chris O’Neil came away with an interception on Taunton’s third play of the game. King Philip used nine plays to cover 57 yards — all on the ground — before junior Sean Garrity burst straight up the middle for a 10 yard touchdown and the Warriors went up 6-0 less than five minutes into the game.
It was more of the same in the first half as King Philip scored on every single possession in the first half. Defensively, the Warriors allowed Taunton to gain just 23 yards on their first five drives and had a pair of takeaways.
Taunton was forced to punt on its second drive and the Warriors took advantage of very favorable field position. Starting at the Taunton 36 yard, it only took KP five plays to find the end zone again. This drive, highlighted again by a long run from quarterback John DeLuca, was capped off when DeLuca hit senior Cory Lombardo out of the backfield. Lombardo caught the ball around the seven yard line and fought his way through three tackles and dove into the end zone. DeLuca’s keeper for the two point conversion made it 14-0 as time expired in the first quarter.
King Philip was able to add to its lead very early in the second quarter. A dropped snap from Taunton was recovered by Brett Mazur at the Taunton 24 yard line and on the first play, DeLuca threw a strike over the middle to junior Mike Mello for a touchdown to make it 20-0.
“I was very pleased with everything we did offensively,” KP head coach Brian Lee said. “I thought everybody played well, I really did, from the O-line to the backs and John too. And we made some good grabs which I was happy to see. Defensively we came up with some turnovers that we were looking for but we left some other ones out there. We’re certainly not happy with everything that happened defensively but in a tough season, we’re happy.”
A quick three and out gave the Warriors the ball back, this time at the Taunton 45 yard line. A four yard rush from Gio Fernandez preceded a 13 keeper from DeLuca and a 24 scamper from Garrity. DeLuca kept it himself and pushed it in from three yards out to make it 27-0 with 8:01 left in the second quarter.
“We tried to get after the quarterbacks as best we can,” Lee said of pressuring Taunton. “Covering the pass has been a little bit of a weak post for us and they saw that and came out with the idea to attack us but I think our guys have been getting better each week. We have a couple sophomores out there and they keep getting better.”
Six minutes later, Gio Fernandez capped an eight play, 59 yard drive with a run from five yards out to make it 34-0 with 1:59 left in the first half.
Taunton put together its best drive on its next series, going 62 yards on 10 plays in exactly 1:59.
Facing third and eight, Jason DaRosa picked up 14 yards to move the chains. Three plays later, sophomore quarterback Collin Hunter hit junior Adam McLaughlin on a hitch route and McLaughlin beat his defender and ran for a 35 yard gain to the 10 yard line. On fourth and goal from the six with just one second left, Hunter rolled away from pressure to the left and fired to an open Tanner Costa for the touchdown to make it 34-06 at halftime.
To start the second half, Taunton was able to limit KP to just three yards on its first two carries and put them in a third down situation. But sophomore Shane Frommer (70 yards) broke out for a 27 yard gain and a first down. On the next play, Brendan Lydon completed an 18 yard pass to Mello for a touchdown to make it 40-6.
Taunton also converted on its first drive of the second half. A third and five was turned into third and 10 after a false start but Hunter found Damion Theodule over the middle for a 20 yard pick up. Two plays later, Hunter connected with Costa on a screen play and he raced all the way for a 47 yard touchdown to make it 40-14.
For the seventh straight drive, KP was able to find the end zone. The Warriors went 12 plays and covered 66 yards, mostly on the back of Michael Conti (eight carries, 33 yards) and Lydon used a keeper to punch it in from a yard out.
“Their offense, they are just bigger, faster and stronger than us,” Taunton head coach Chris Greding said. “Consistently they are gaining six or seven yards on first down and that puts us in a hole. Our special teams just gave them excellent field position all game and I’ll take the blame on that and that’s certainly not taking anything away from KP and their offense. They aren’t going to trick you, they are going to run it right down your throat and that’s what they did. That’s a very tough squad they have over there, my hats off to them.”
Taunton had to punt but was able to get the ball back when Amir Rehim pounced on a fumble. The Tigers took advantage of that as Hunter hit Costa for a 39 yard gain to get to the 12 yard line. Three runs from Lazare Joseph pushed Taunton to the one and Hunter used the QB option to get it in from 1 yard and make it 47-22.
DeLuca was 2/3 throwing the ball but added 62 yards on the ground on five carries. Frommer, Fernandez and Garrity all were over 50 yards as well. For Taunton, Hunter was 8/23 for 150 yards with a pair of touchdowns while DaRosa had 48 yards on nine carries.
“I think we are very much improved and we continue to improve,” Lee said. “Shane Frommer came in tonight as a sophomore and gave us a little spark and I think he’s someone we might be able to go to more in the future.”
King Philip (3-2, 3-4) finishes in a three way tie in the Kelley-Rex and will make the playoffs in Division 2 South. As of publication of this recap, KP is seeded 5th according to the Boston Herald and would travel to #4 Mansfield. With games still to be played, that could change. Official seedings will be announced on Sunday and we will have an update on the website.
Taunton (0-5, 0-7) misses the playoffs and will match up with another team that missed the playoffs next week.
Ryan Lanigan can be contacted at RyanLanigan@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @R_Lanigan.