STOUGHTON, Mass. – With small snowflakes swirling in the wind, the temperature hovering in the mid-30’s, and Canton Bulldogs and Stoughton facing off on the gridiron on a Thursday morning, it sure felt like Thanksgiving.
The holiday rivalry continued between the Bulldogs and the Black Knights, only this time it was on Earth Day and in the middle of April vacation for the final game of the Fall II season due to COVID-19.
It marked Stoughton’s first home game for the holiday meeting since 2016 and the Black Knights celebrated in grand style. The hosts put a bow on an impressive season with a 41-7 win at the new Veteran’s Memorial Stadium on the campus of Stoughton High.
Stoughton wasted little time to take the lead and found the end zone early and often. In fact, the Black Knights made four trips to the end zone — all in the first quarter — within its first 14 plays on offense. Three of the four drives started in Canton territory and the other just one yard into their own half.
“That was a good start,” said Stoughton head coach Greg Burke. “We’ve played hard the last three weeks, we’ve hung in and had some guys down. Every game has been tough. We might not be the most talented, but we work hard and the kids play tough.
“It’s been a tough year for Canton a little bit, they have some good kids over there. But they weren’t able to do much against our defense. I’m so happy for the seniors, it’s a great way to finish it up. It’s a weird time, been a weird year but overall I think we had a pretty good year, I’m very happy. I’m going to miss these guys.”
The Black Knights also put on a shutdown performance on the defensive side of the ball, shutting out the Bulldogs until the final play from scrimmage when senior Jack Albert, who was selected to wear #27 in honor of former Canton star Ricky Shannon, bullied his way in for a 1-yard touchdown.
Senior Jake Queeney set the tone right away for the hosts with a 58-yard return on the kickoff, only denied a touchdown on a tackle from kicker Will Keefe. From there, Stoughton needed just five plays as senior quarterback Brady Conlin dropped a pass to Christian Ais for a 12-yard score. Jonah Ly’s first of five successful point after attempts put Stoughton ahead 7-0.
The Black Knights got the ball back after a punt at their own 49-yard line. Four plays in, facing 3rd and 9, Conlin dropped back and dumped a screen pass off to junior Emmett Pearl, who got to the sideline and turned on the jets, racing the rest of the way for a 40-yard score with 4:07 left in the first.
Ais had a big return on Canton’s next punt and on the first play of the ensuing drive, Stoughton was back in the end zone again. Senior John Burke took over under center and kept it himself, first racing to the left before cutting back through a big gap and going in for a 19-yard touchdown and a 21-0 lead with 2:30 left in the first quarter.
It continued to go Stoughton’s way as the Bulldogs coughed up the football on the kickoff with Ly coming up with the loose ball. After a 17-year end-around rush from Queeney, Burke handed it off to senior Nivon Domoulin for a 7-yard touchdown and a 28-0 advantage with 0:48 left in the opening quarter.
Domoulin was starting in place of star senior running back Christopher Ais, who missed the game after being poked in the eye the week before. For Stoughton, it was another player on a long list of starters that missed time this season.
“The kids that stepped up for us were great,” Burke said. “We had seniors that came in and got to play and it just shows how they are tough kids. Nivouin was the one today [for Christopher Ais]. We just got Christian Georges back, who at full throttle he’s the best player in the league. But that’s the way it is, that’s high school football. You’re only as good as your backup. These days, you have to practice them almost harder than your starters because, at any time, they’ll be in.”
Canton’s final drive of the first half was its best of the first two quarters, marching 34 yards into Stoughton territory on seven plays but the Black Knights stuffed the Bulldogs on 4th and 2 to end the half with a 28-0 lead.
It was more of the same on the offensive side of the ball for Stoughton in the second half. The Black Knights used eight plays to cover 64 yards, highlighted by a 33-yard pass from Burke to Ais. Christian Georges, back from injury, capped the drive with a 2-yard plunge and a 35-0 advantage.
Stoughton forced a turnover on downs and its offense went to work, needing just three plays to find the end zone. After Ais went for 25-yards, Domoulin found the end zone for the second time in the game with an 8-yard rush.
“I’m really happy with the year,” Burke said. “[John] Burke had a busted finger from last week so Conlin came in, another great senior, and threw two touchdowns. We got Colby [Andrews] in there as well, he’s another senior. You try to play everyone when you can, it’s not easy but they are great kids. I’ll take these kids over anyone. We don’t have any problems, they play together as one and we’re very proud of that.”
Canton took advantage of a Stoughton fumble late in the fourth quarter to get on the board with junior Andrew Butler coming up with the fumble recovery. Butler got the drive going with an 11-yard carry and two plays later, Albert burst up the middle for a score from a yard out.
Stoughton football finishes the season at 5-2 while Canton wraps up the Fall II campaign at 2-5.
Canton, 7 @ Stoughton, 41 – Final – Click here for a recap and photo gallery of this game. 1st Quarter: (S) Brady Conlin 12-yard pass to Christian Ais, Jonah Ly XP good; (S) B. Conlin 40-yard pass to Emmett Pearl, J. Ly XP good; (S) John Burke 19-yard rush, J. Ly XP good; (S) Nivon Domoulin 5-yard rush, J. Ly XP good.
2nd Quarter: No scoring.
3rd Quarter: (S) Christian Georges 2-yard rush, J. Ly XP good; (S) N. Domoulin 2-yard rush, XP failed.
4th Quarter: (C) Jack Albert 1-yard rush, Will Keefe XP good.
Sharon, 28 @ Westwood, 19 – Final – Click here to watch Sharon’s game-winning field goal. 1st Quarter: (S) Kiran Chandrasekaran 25-yard pass to PJ McManus, XP failed; (S) K. Chandrasekaran 40-yard pass to P. McManus, Molly McAlevey XP good.
2nd Quarter: (W) Westwood touchdown, XP good; (W) Westwood touchdown, XP failed.
3rd Quarter: No scoring.
4th Quarter: (S) K. Chandrasekaran 25-yard pass to P. McManus, XP failed; (W) Westwood touchdown, XP blocked; (S) M. McAlevey 28-yard field goal; (S) Ike Ogbonnanze fumble recovery return.
Milford, 42 @ Taunton, 14 – Final – Click here for a photo gallery of this game. 1st Quarter: (M) Carter Scudo 57-yard rush, Nick Araujo XP good; (M) Brady Olson 1-yard rush, N. Araujo XP good; (M) C. Scudo 9-yard rush, N. Araujo XP good.
2nd Quarter: (M) B. Olson 7-yard pass to Jayden Archeval, N. Araujo XP good; (T) Danny MacDougall 13-yard pass to Trent Santos, Matt Abouzied XP good.
3rd Quarter: (T) D. MacDougall 9-yard pass to Nathan Arieta, M. Abouzied XP good.
4th Quarter: (M) B. Olson 13-yard pass to Keithley Sutton, N. Araujo XP good; (M) B. Olson 15-yard pass to Matt Varteresian, N. Araujo XP good.
NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Through the first three weeks of the Fall II season, North Attleboro’s high-powered offense has received plenty of attention and headlines.
In the biggest game of the year to date, however, it was the Rocketeers’ defense that received rave reviews after containing a dangerous Stoughton offense — all the way to the final play of the game — to the tune of a 14-6 victory, clinching at least a share of the Davenport division title in the process.
The North Attleboro defense forced four straight punts to start the game, ended a pair of Stoughton drives on downs inside their own territory, created back-to-back turnovers in the fourth quarter, and denied the visitors a chance at tying the game as time expired.
“We were worried because it’s a physical matchup against those guys with their big backs and all of our little guys coming up trying to tackle them,” said North Attleboro head coach Don Johnson. “I think we kept them off balance enough. We learned last year one guy isn’t going to bring down their backs so we worked all week on getting guys to the football, and we have some speed on defense so that helps.
“It felt like the whole second half we kept giving them chances, we could never get that third score. We felt like if we could get that third score we could relax a little but we never got it, we never finished it on offense but the defense kept stepping up and making plays.”
It marked a quick one-season turnaround for the program, which finished under .500 for the first time in over 25 years during the 2019 season. Now, the Rocketeers are division champions for the fifth time in the past six years.
“These kids were really motivated throughout the whole offseason, they wanted to get North Attleboro back to where it should be,” Johnson said. “I couldn’t be prouder of them, they’ve done everything we’ve asked of them for the past 15, 16 months now and it’s been awesome, it’s a great group of kids.”
Stoughton’s defense, down three starters to injury including top pass-rusher Christian Georges, put in a solid shift as well as the Black Knights continued to make big stops in the second half to give themselves a chance. The visitors made things interesting by scoring on the first play of the fourth quarter as senior quarterback John Burke read the blitz and got the pass out quickly, hitting an open Christian Ais. Ais turned on the jets and sprinted up the left sideline for a 43-yard score and Stoughton trailed by just one possession, 14-6.
North nearly answered right away but couldn’t quite finish off the drive. The Rocketeers used all of their weapons on the drive to march down the field, as junior quarterback Tyler DeMattio (24 carries, 150 yards) started with a 24-yard run, Tommy Whalen followed with a 10-yard carry, and Jacob Silva moved the sticks for the third straight play with a 16-yard rush.
DeMattio ran for 11 yards later in the drive to get into the red zone but on 4th and 5, Stoughton’s Christopher Ais came up with a sack and the Knights took over on downs.
But just three plays into the ensuing drive, North Attleboro got the ball back as junior Tyler Bannon ripped the ball free from the ball carrier and recovered the fumble himself, setting the Rocketeers up with the ball at the Stoughton 30.
The Black Knights once again came up with a red zone stop to stay in the contest. Christian Ais had a tackle for a loss on second down, and on fourth and 2 from the 8-yard line, Stoughton’s Davin Swierzewski met DeMattio up the middle to deny him the first down with 3:24 to play.
A 20-yard rush from Burke plus a personal foul followed by an 11-yard reception from Jake Queeney moved Stoughton over midfield. But Stoughton’s drive came to another screeching halt as Bannon came flying in and jarred the ball free and the ref ruled it was a fumble and not an incomplete pass, allowing sophomore Greg Berthiaume to slide into the loose ball before it went out of bounds, seemingly ending Stoughton’s chance at a comeback with just 1:17 to go.
Stoughton used its two timeouts on first and third down, denying the Rocketeers a first down and making the hosts punt with just seconds to go. A high snap forced punter Max Bumpus to chase the ball down, falling on it at his own 20-yard line for a turnover on downs, giving Stoughton one last chance.
Burke’s first pass was knocked down as Christian Ais was triple covered in the end zone, and his second toss was just out of the end zone as he tried to hit Queeney in the corner.
“We had a chance at the end,” said Stoughton head coach Greg Burke. “I was happy we didn’t let them score in the second half and we got one, but we can’t give up the two scores. They certainly deserved at least one [score] in the first half, they were pushing us around and I thought we’d do a little better upfront so hats off to them. Their quarterback is tough, every time you think you got him he just squirms awayWe lost the ball a couple of times, and you can’t do that in games like this.
“It’s a consolation but the kids played hard, we didn’t get blown out. Our kids are never going to quit, no matter what, no matter who we play so I’m happy about that.”
North Attleboro orchestrated back-to-back scoring drives on its second and third chances of the game. After going three-and-out to start the game, the Rocketeers took advantage of good field position both times.
On the first drive, the Big Red needed seven plays to cover 45 yards before finding the end zone. Silva had a 15-yard carry to set the tone to start the drive and then hauled in a 3-yard catch inside the 5-yard line to move the chains. DeMattio kept it himself from a yard out to give North a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.
North’s next drive started in the first quarter and ended in the end zone with 8:29 left to play in the second quarter. Again starting in Stoughton territory, North marched 41 yards on 10 plays, twice converting on fourth down, to double its lead.
The Rocketeers went to Silva to covert 4th and 1 early in the drive, and then DeMattio kept it himself for 10 yards on 4th and 2. North kept going with DeMattio up the middle and two plays later, he kept it for a 5-yard touchdown and a 14-0 lead.
“With their speed, they were doing a good job of shutting down the edge on us early so it was leaving a little bit of a seam up inside,” Johnson said. “He’s the safest way to run off tackle, you don’t have to risk a handoff or anything. So that’s why it ended up being him more than some of the other running backs.
“[Tyler’s] the guy you want in your fox hole. There’s no stop to him, he’s just constantly going hard in everything that he does. He’s pound-for-pound the toughest kid that I’ve seen in a long time.”
After four punts to open the game, Stoughton finally got something going on offense late in the first half. Jonah Ly sprinted for 12 yards on first down, Christian Ais followed with a 13-yard carry, and Christopher Ais went up the middle to convert third and short. The Black Knights moved inside the red zone but back-to-back incompletions, including one near the pylon in the front of the end zone, stopped the drive.
Stoughton’s defense forced a turnover on downs on North’s first drive of the second half (10 plays, 51 yards) and the Black Knights carried some momentum to offense. Christian Ais scampered his way for a 41-yard carry to start the drive but three plays later, Burke’s pass to Christian Ais was spotted a yard short on fourth down.
“They have great speed, they were able to use that,” Burke said. “We had some success going right at them but we didn’t continue with it, but shoulda, coulda, woulda, and we just didn’t do enough. We had some chances but came up short on some fourth downs. They did a good job using their speed, brought an extra guy in on us. I thought we’d hit a few more passes but we didn’t. And we had turnovers, you can’t do that.”
North Attleboro (4-0) can clinch the Davenport title outright when it travels to Foxboro on Friday for a 5:30 kickoff. Stoughton (3-1) will compete in crossover action when it hosts Milford (3-1) on Saturday at 11:00 AM.
STOUGHTON, Mass. – The Stoughton football team has long prided itself on its performance in the fourth quarter and how they finish games.
Whether it’s with a lead, in a tie game, or trying to come from behind, the Black Knights always look to empty the tank in the final 12 minutes of action.
Locked in a defensive battle with division rival Foxboro, knotted at 7-7 since the opening quarter of the game, Stoughton delivered in the fourth quarter. The Black Knights scored a pair of touchdowns inside the final five minutes of the game, sandwiched around a game-clinching takeaway to earn a 21-7 win over the visiting Warriors.
After the opening drive of the game in which the Black Knights broke free for a 44-yard touchdown, Foxboro’s defense stymied Stoughton’s offense. The Warriors recovered fumbles on back-to-back possessions in the first half, forced Stoughton to punt to start the second half, and had a huge stop in the red zone forcing a turnover on downs in the third quarter.
But when Stoughton’s offense took the field for the first time in the fourth quarter, starting at their own 20-yard line with 11 minutes to play, the Black Knights finally found a rhythm.
Helped along by a pass interference call three plays in on a third down, Stoughton’s ground game got going. Christopher Ais (20 carries, 138 yards) took four straight carries, moving the chains twice, and took the Knights into Foxboro territory. Then it was Christian Ais’ (10 carries, 50 yards) turn, cutting back up the middle for a 21-yard dash to get down to the 10-yard line.
Three plays later, Christian Ais bowled his way over a trio of Foxboro defenders at the goal line, getting an extra push from junior lineman Edward Conrad, for a 2-yard touchdown. Jonah Ly (3-for-3 on extra points) split the upright to put Stoughton up 14-7 with 4:33 to go.
Ais’ score capped a 10-play, 80-yard drive that took off 6:27 of the clock.
“We fumbled all over the place, you don’t do that, you can’t give up the ball,” said Stoughton head coach Greg Burke. “They are tough, we knew they’d be good but at least we finished up the way we want to play and we played good defense throughout. But hey, if we give up only one touchdown every week I’ll take it. We have a couple of issues that we still need to iron out but we’ll get there.”
Foxboro started the ensuing drive at its own 15-yard line but Cam Prescott’s deep pass got caught up in the wind and Stoughton senior Andrew Medina was able to adjust and come down with the interception to get the hosts the ball back right away.
Stoughton went right back to its ground game, and aided by a Foxboro unsportsmanlike penalty, moved into the red zone. Christopher Ais broke free for a 15-yard run to get inside the 10-yard line and two plays later, senior quarterback John Burke took the QB option around the corner on the left sideline for a 9-yard touchdown and a 21-7 lead with 1:31 to play.
“The fourth quarter comes down to weight training,” Burke said. “We’ve got a brand new weight room here that the kids haven’t been able to use. They put in the time, they found ways in the offseason to lift. We aren’t the biggest team but pound-for-pound I’ll match us against anyone. I felt like if we could hang close for three quarters, we could win in the fourth. We didn’t help ourselves with the fumbles, they had one or two good hits but those fumbles are our fault. We’ll get back to the drawing board but we’re 2-0 and we’ll take any league win we can.”
While Foxboro’s defense slowed Stoughton’s offense throughout the majority of the game, the Black Knights’ defense kept the Warriors’ offense bottled up.
The Warriors’ defense forced a turnover on downs to set up Foxboro’s best drive of the game, a 5-play, 45-yard drive. Starting in Stoughton territory, junior Dylan Gordon had pair of good runs and junior Omarion Otto-Broomstein barreled his way in from 1-yard out. Sam Carpenter’s successful point after attempt tied the game, 7-7, with 1:14 left in the opening quarter.
But beyond that, Stoughton’s defense didn’t allow the Warriors to move the ball much. In fact, Foxboro only ran more than five plays on one drive, punting on five possessions, including four straight between the second and third quarters. The Warriors ran nine plays on their second possession but that came to an end on downs.
“Our defense played great for us,” Burke said. “[Gordon] had a couple of runs, we kept [Chris McNamara] in check, and [Luis Sulham] only caught a couple of passes. They did a good job passing blocking, that’s something we usually get in on but they did a nice job there. But I was very, very happy with the way the defense played and getting the win, it was a tough win. We still have a long way to go.”
Stoughton nearly jumped back in front twice near the end of the second. The Black Knights marched 9 plays to get into the red zone but fumbled on a run to the left and Sulham jumped on the loose ball for the visitors. But Foxboro’s drive was put to a stop on a sack from Davin Swierzewski. Stoughton got the ball back at the Foxboro 31-yard line with 32 seconds left but had four straight incompletions to end the half.
The Black Knights threatened again at the end of the third quarter, set up on a 41-yard pass and catch from Burke to Christian Ais. But Foxboro’s defense tightened up, getting key tackles from Mike Norvish, Dylan Kerrigan, Jon Moses, James Kraus and Trent Rennie. Stoughton tried to run the “Philly Special” on fourth down but Jake Queeney’s pass to Burke was just out of reach in the end zone.
“I thought the kids did a good job but those three backs [the Ais brothers and Christian Georges], you can’t key on one that’s for sure,” said Foxboro head coach Jack Martinelli. “It’s not like stopping one back, and they run what they run offensively very well. Even if you have those kids stopped, they are still going to get positive yardage so give them credit. It was a good game, 21-7 doesn’t look like the game I saw…14-7 yeah. If you don’t tie up those kids before they get going…they are as good as I’ve seen in a while in a league and there are three of them.
“I’m disappointed in how it ended but not disappointed in how the kids played from start to finish. Now we’re onto next week.”
Stoughton (2-0) will host Sharon on Friday night at 5:00 while Foxboro (1-1) has its home opener, hosting Canton at 5:30.
Stoughton had four players rush for a touchdown and its defense put together a stellar performance as raw Black Knights christened their new home turf field with a 29-7 win over neighboring Oliver Ames.
“Four years…four long years…finally. It’s incredible,” said Stoughton head coach Greg Burke, who has been at the helm since 1990. “We were nervous early, that’s just the nature of the beast but we finally got it going and our defense played tough. We battled, we have some new kids upfront and they were working hard and then we got things going. There’s still room for improvement, had a couple of screw ups but first game, I’ll take it. We got everyone out, no one got hurt.”
It was a slow start for both offenses with the Black Knights stifling the Tigers on their rushing attempts, shutting the visitors out on third down conversions for the entire game (0-for-10). On the flip slide, the Tigers were up for the challenge while Stoughton certainly didn’t help itself with a handful of first quarter penalties.
The first score of the game came on the first drive of the game but it wasn’t in favor of Oliver Ames, who received the opening kickoff. A false start put the visitors in third and long and Stoughton senior Christian Georges (four sacks) came flying in for a sack. On fourth down, the snap to the punter was high and the ball went through the back of the end zone for a safety and a 2-0 lead.
Stoughton carried that 2-0 lead into the second quarter but quickly added onto its lead with its first touchdown on its new turf. Georges had another third-down sack and OA’s punt didn’t travel far, setting the Black Knights up with first down at the Tigers’ 28-yard line.
On the first offensive play, Georges bulldozed his way through traffic and raced away for a touchdown. Jonah Ly hit his first of three extra points on the night and the Black Knights took a 9-0 with 11:01 left in the first half.
Oliver Ames went three-and-out on the ensuing possession as Anthony Girolamo and Sproul Derolus limited the Tigers to one yard on third down. Stoughton had an incomplete pass on first but senior Christopher Ais broke through a handful of would-be tacklers and sprinted the distance for a 51-yard touchdown and a 16-0 advantage with 8:11 left in the first half.
“We know we can rely on our defense, and we know the Wing-T as well as anybody because we run it, so we know the goods and bads,” Burke said of the defense playing well as the offense got going. “They caught us on a couple but not many. We don’t have a ton of size defensively but we have a lot of speed so even if we make a mistake then we can rally. And it felt like we got a bunch of sacks too.”
Stoughton football Oliver Ames football
The Tigers earned their first first down on the next drive when quarterback Jake Grimaldi kept it on fourth and short, getting a friendly push from sophomore Chad Silva. But the drive didn’t last much longer and Georges added yet another third down sack with just under three minutes left to get Stoughton the ball back.
Stoughton brought a lot of pressure on OA’s punt and it didn’t travel far. The Black Knights took advantage of the short field and on the third play of the drive, Girolamo forced his way past a pair of defenders and into the end zone for a 7-yard score, extending the lead to 23-0 just before halftime.
“They run hard, their guys are tough and physical, super athletic and well-coached…they’ve got the whole thing going on over there,” said OA head coach Ed DeWitt on the Black Knights. “We’re not quite there yet but we’re working towards it. There’s a lot of talk about the switch to the Davenport, but there’s no let up in the league. It’s not a step down, I’ve seen most of these teams and they are good, it’s just different opponents [than the Kelley-Rex]. But we have to focus on our improvement each week.”
It was more of the same in the second half. Senior quarterback John Burke opened the first drive with a 20 yard run of his own the Knights picked up right where they left off. Christian Ais ripped off runs of 11-yards and 30-yards, Christopher Ais took back-to-back carries for 17 yards, and two plays later, Christian Ais plunged in untouched from 1-yard out to make it 29-0.
Stoughton football Oliver Ames football
Christopher Ais led the way with 104 yards on nine carries, Christian Ais had 63 yards on five carries, and Georges had 43 yards on four carries.
“We have three or four guys that can get it done, and that’s why our offense works well,” Burke said. “You give them all the ball and then they are involved with blocking and fakes. With Chris Ais and Christian Ais and we have Georges too…we have different guys to give it to or to use for blocking.”
The Black Knights got the ball back after forcing another three-and-out but OA came up with a big stop on a third down sack from senior Dante Cocivera.
Stoughton turned to Girolamo and Ly for their fourth quarter offense, marching down the field on a lengthy drive but couldn’t add any points after missing on a 39-yard field goal attempt.
Oliver Ames orchestrated its best drive of the game to end the contest. The Tigers marched 80 yards on 13 plays, finding the end zone with under a minute to go.
Stoughton football Oliver Ames football
Silva (14 carries, 58 yards) ripped off a 19-yard rush on second down and the Tigers got their first of two fourth down conversions on the drive on another keeper from Grimaldi. Senior Jadon Ricci carried for seven yards and 14 yards to put the Tigers in a position to score but a sack from Stoughton’s Shawn Fargher put OA into a fourth and 18 situation.
Grimaldi floated a pass to the corner end zone and senior Pete Bosader was able to reach out in front of the defender while falling backwards, hauling in a 27-yard touchdown. Drew Nickla split the uprights for the extra point.
“Our guys are fighting and we preach playing four quarters,” DeWitt said. “It was nice to get guys fighting at the end, making a play, that’s exciting to see, that shows the mentality we’re looking for but obviously we want to do it sooner. We thought we were physical enough early but we have to keep that going for four quarters and not just find it at the end.”
Stoughton football (1-0) will stick around Veteran’s Memorial Stadium for another home game next week, hosting Foxboro on Friday at 5:00. Oliver Ames (0-1) will have its home opener on the same night against Canton at 5:00.
Foxboro, 49 @ Sharon, 7 – Final 1st Quarter: (F) Omarion Otto-Broomstein 1-yard rush, Sam Carpenter XP good. (F) Cam Prescott 42-yard pass to Luis Sulham, S. Carpenter XP good. (F) Dylan Gordon 48-yard rush, S. Carpenter XP good.
2nd Quarter: (F) Chris McNamara 1-yard rush, S. Carpenter XP good. (F) C. Prescott 29-yard pass to James Kraus, S. Carpenter XP good. (F) L. Sulham 65-yard punt return, S. Carpenter XP good.
3rd Quarter: (S) Nico Marrero 3-yard rush, Molly McAlevey XP good.
4th Quarter: (F) Jack Austin 65-yard pass to Joseph Gonzalez, XP good.
Franklin, 7 @ Mansfield, 49 – Final – Click here for a Recap and Photo Gallery from this game. 1st Quarter: (M) Nico Holmes 6-yard rush, James Gilleran XP good; (M) Cincere Gill 52-yard rush, J. Gilleran XP good; (M) Rocco Scarpellini 25-yard interception return, J. Gilleran XP good.
2nd Quarter: (F) Jared Arone 19-yard pass to Will Tracey, Parker Cheuvront XP good; (M) Matt Boen 17-yard pass to N. Holmes, J Gilleran XP good; (M) C. Gill 20-yard rush, J. Gilleran XP good; (M) C. Gill 5-yard rush, J. Gilleran XP good.
3rd Quarter: (M) Jack Colby 35-yard interception return; J. Gilleran XP good.
4th Quarter: No scoring.
Taunton, 6 @ King Philip, 21 – Final
Oliver Ames, 7 @ Stoughton, 29 – Final – Click here for a Recap and Photo Gallery from this game. 1st Quarter: (S) Safety.
2nd Quarter: (S) Christian Georges 28-yard rush, Jonah Ly XP good; (S) Christopher Ais 51-yard rush, J. Ly XP good; (S) Anthony Girolamo 7-yard rush, J. Ly XP good.
3rd Quarter: (S) Christian Ais 1-yard rush, XP failed.
4th Quarter: (OA) Jake Grimaldi 27-yard pass to Pete Bosader, Drew Nickla XP good.
Canton was one of the best teams in the Hockomock League over the past two seasons because of how well-balanced they were with impact players all over the field. The majority of those players graduated so this year’s Bulldogs will be leaning on the few experienced players back. One of those is two-way lineman Matt Connolly, a 6-foot-2, 300-pound guard/defensive tackle that demands attention no matter what side of the ball he’s playing on. When the ball is snapped, Connolly almost always requires a double-team defensively to try and slow him down. He does a great job of taking away gaps and rushing lanes, and when it comes to pass rush, he can really put opposing linemen on skates, driving them backward. Canton will have a lot of new faces on the line this year but Connolly will be a familiar force for foes.
Georges was a dominant presence on the Stoughton defensive line last season, whether it was setting the edge, taking on extra blockers to open gaps for his teammates, or bursting into the backfield to make a big play behind the line of scrimmage. A versatile weapon for the Stoughton defense, Georges could line up on the outside as a pass-rushing linebacker or with his hand down on the line ready to stuff the opposition ground game. George combines speed, strength, and football IQ to always find the point of attack and destroy the offense’s best-laid plans. He was a major factor in the Black Knights allowing 12 points or fewer in seven games last year, finishing with 15 tackles for loss and seven sacks. He will be hoping to do even better this season, as Stoughton seeks out a first league title since 2015.
Guy was a one-man wrecking crew for the Mansfield defense last season, which was a huge problem for teams facing the Div. 2 state champions since the Hornets had a few players who qualified for that title. At times unblockable, Guy dominated the line of scrimmage, forcing teams to double-team him and opening gaps for Mansfield’s ball-hawking linebackers to get into the backfield. Combining strength and a quick first step, he finished with 34 tackles, including four for loss, and had four sacks. The University of Michigan-commit was a disruptive force in both the ground game and in the pass rush, while also being one of the top linemen on the other side of the ball as well. Guy’s presence in the heart of the Mansfield defensive line is one of the reasons the Hornets will be favored again to bring home another Kelley-Rex division title.
Mansfield has a big void to fill with the graduation of league MVP and HockomockSports.com Player of the Year Vinnie Holmes, who had 91 total tackles last season. It just so happens it will be Nico Holmes, Vinnie’s younger brother, that will be one of the candidates to step up into that role. Holmes has plenty of experience at the varsity, starting along the defensive line last season for the D2 State Champions. Now he’ll line up with the linebackers and look to continue to make plays from that spot. We know he’s not afraid to hit people, we saw it last year on both sides of the ball as he led the way for the Hornets’ rushing game as a fullback. The senior is one of four captains for Mansfield this season so the Hornets will be counting on his leadership both on and off the field.
Foxboro has always leaned on its defense to be successful and Moses is an imposing figure in the heart of the linebacking corps and will be key to the Warriors remaining a tough team to move the ball against. At 6’4 and 215 pounds, Moses looks more like a defensive lineman and uses his size and strength to set the edge against the ground game. Not someone who allows runners to get away once he gets his hands on them, Moses is also capable of using his quickness to get into the backfield and disrupt things right at the point of attack. His big frame makes him an important piece of the Foxboro pass rush, as it’s not easy for quarterbacks to look over him and try to make plays downfield. Also a solid blocker at tight end and a big target in the passing game, Moses can make an impact on both sides of the ball. The Warriors will be hoping to make a run at a league title this season and Moses and a hard-hitting defense will have to be a big part of that title challenge.
Oliver Ames is hoping to surprise some teams this year in its first season back in the Davenport division. While the Tigers’ division record hasn’t been great, they have done a really good job against their non-league foes and their defense has really stood out in those games. A major player in that defensive unit is back this season in senior Jadon Ricci, a defensive back specialist that has a nose for the football. Ricci can line up in the slot or outside, or even take a step back into a safety role, but no matter where he is on the field, he seems to find his way to the football. Whether it’s reading a quarterback’s eyes and making a play on a pass or flying to a ball carrier, Ricci seems to always been in the mix.
Sometimes flying under the radar last season because of the attention that went to fellow linebackers Luke Rosa and CJ Cerrella, Schofield emerged as a consistent playmaker on the outside. Capable of making big plays in the pass rush, against the run game, and dropping into coverage, the UMass-commit is poised for a breakout season as the Hawks take on the challenge of facing a Kelley-Rex division schedule. An imposing presence at 6’5 and 230 pounds, Schofield has the quickness to cover ground in a hurry and the strength to step up and set the edge to bottle up the opposing running game. Milford has seen its fair share of talented linebackers in recent years and Schofield is continuing that trend and is poised for a breakout season as the Hawks look to make noise in their first season in the Kelley-Rex.
North Attleboro’s lineup was torn apart by injuries last season but one player that really stood out on both sides of the ball is now senior captain Jacob Silva. Whether it was at tailback or outside linebacker, Silva gave it his all on every play and was a real bright spot for the Rocketeers. Silva is the type of player that isn’t afraid of running tight at — and on some occasions through — the opposition, whether it’s when he’s carrying the ball or flying off the edge to try to make a play on a running back or sacking a quarterback. Silva reads the game really well and reacts accordingly, using his speed to drop into coverage when needed to cover tight ends or running backs downfield. The Rocketeers have high expectations for this season and Silva’s leadership on defense will be a big key to achieving their goals.
A rare four-year varsity player, Strachan comes into his senior season as one of the league’s top returning linebackers. He has led the Bombardiers in tackles each of the past two seasons, including 80.5 tackles (66 of them solo) last year. Strachan, a University of Rhode Island-commit, is also strong in the passing game, dropping into coverage and recording two pass breakups and a clutch end zone interception that sealed the Thanksgiving Day win at North Attleboro. His toughness and physicality were also on display on offense, where he finished with 512 all-purpose yards and six rushing touchdowns. Able to read the play and with the speed to cover a lot of ground, Strachan has been a force to be reckoned with in the Attleboro defense and will be hoping to close out his high school career by helping Attleboro challenge the top teams in the league.
If you’re looking for a player that defines King Philip football, look no further than senior Pat Zarba. A three-year starter, Zarba is a blue-collar type player that works incredibly hard on both sides of the ball, doesn’t do anything overly flashy, but is an incredibly effective player. Offensively, Zarba really sets the tone with his physicality and creates a lot of opportunities for the backs. Zarba lines up at defensive tackle defensively, and at 6-foot-2, 290 pounds, in a one-man wrecking crew in the middle. He almost always sees a double team but that doesn’t stop him from using his strength to get free and clog up the middle. Expect more of the same when it comes to toughness along the line from King Philip this season with Zarba setting the example.
It’s a new era in Canton as Anthony Fallon takes over for longtime head coach Dave Bohane, who stepped down from his second stint in charge of the Bulldogs at the end of last season.
While it’s a new era, all of the players and coaches are hoping that the success from the past two seasons continues going forward. If that success is going to continue, it’s going to be by a host of new faces. The Bulldogs graduated a historic class that won back-to-back Davenport division titles and reached the D5 South Sectional final in 2019. While competing for the Davenport division title this year, Canton will lean heavily on its few returners while new players take advantage of the new opportunities.
Senior Matt Connolly is a force on both sides of the ball, protecting the quarterback on the offensive line and leading the way for the ground game with his blocking. And defensively, the 6-foot-2, 300-pound senior who is committed to play at Assumption College, is an absolute handful and requires a lot of attention. Cam Sanchez is another experienced player back for the Bulldogs and will be involved in the running game offensively and apart of the secondary defensively. Carson Campbell started all 11 games for Canton last year at right tackle and will add defensive line duties this season. Jack Albert should see an expanded role on both sides of the ball and will be one of the main targets in the receiving game.
“Our team has great speed in our secondary, we are big and strong upfront and our linebackers are tough and fast,” Fallon said. “We have a solid mix on our varsity of juniors and seniors. I am also excited with our numbers on the sub-varsity level with 30-plus players. With a tough-minded defense and a fast offense, I know we will compete in every game.”
There is a lot of optimism in Foxboro for the Fall II season, and with a strong group of returning starters in different spots all over the field, there is good reason for it.
The Warriors seem to be in the mix for the Davenport division title each season, coming in third in 2019 and 2017. With talent back in key spots, Foxboro could be a serious contender for their first crown since 2015. The offense starts with the line and Foxboro has some experience and size to work with. Senior Sean Ferguson is a towering presence at 6’5, 315-pounds and anchors the line from the center position and he will be joined by junior Dylan Kerrigan (6’0, 205) at tackle. Senior Cam Prescott will start under center and will have a bevy of options to work with including playmaker Luis Sulham and junior Rashaad Way. Look for Chris McNamara to pick up where he left off carrying the ball.
Foxboro has an equal amount of playmakers on the defensive side of the ball with the strength of the team coming from the linebackers and the secondary. Seniors Mike Norvish and James Stamatos return with plenty of varsity experience under their belts and will anchor the linebacker position while senior James Kraus will start at safety and will be accompanied in the secondary by Way and Tom Sharkey, both juniors. One player to keep an eye out for is senior Jon Moses, a 6’4 defensive end that really improved over the course of last season and could be a handful for opposing offenses to deal with.
“The heart and soul of team this year is the senior leadership and experience along with a strong and talented junior class,” said Foxboro head coach Jack Martinelli.
North Attleboro was ravished by injuries during the 2019 season and the result was the program’s first sub-.500 season in 27 years. It speaks volumes to how consistent the Rocketeers are year in and year out that it had been that long but the Big Red are ready to turn the page and begin a new streak.
The Rocketeers are getting a lot of players back that missed time last year and also have a bunch of players back that were thrown into the fire last year and now have varsity experience. With that combination, North Attleboro is hoping the end result is the Davenport division title. Junior Tyler DeMattio is back under center for his second year as the starter after making a big splash on Thanksgiving his freshman season. DeMattio can get it done with both his arm and his legs (and his foot in the kicking game). He has a lot of weapons at his disposal this year with Jared Penta and Alex McCoy in the slots, Coby Feid and Matt Penta at split end, and 6-foot-5 Endicott-commit Robbie Donovan at tight end. Jacob Silva returns at tailback and will be complemented by senior Tommy Whalen while sophomores Nathan Shultz and Greg Berthiaume could be in the mix as well. Harry Bullock will anchor the offensive line alongside classmates Danny Hayes and Justin Vecchiarelli and juniors Jared Vacher and Keysun Wise.
On top of the eight returning starters on offense, the Rocketeers boast eight returners on the defensive side of the ball as well. North Attleboro has a lot of depth at the linebacker position with Silva, a team captain, being a key part of the group. He’ll be joined by Berthiaume, Vecchiarelli, Whalen, senior Dylan Eberle, and junior Tyler Bannon. Jared and Matt Penta are both very experienced safeties while McCoy and Feid return at corner, so the secondary will certainly be a strength for the Big Red. The Rocketeers don’t have the biggest defensive line but the likes of Donovan, Vacher, and Bullock provide speed from the edge.
“The extended off season has provided extra time for tremendous growth in the weight room,” said North Attleboro head coach Don Johnson. “The depth at the skill positions on both sides of the ball will be the strength of this team. The key will be how quickly and effectively we can put together our offensive and defensive lines.”
Oliver Ames is back in the Davenport division and is looking to make a splash in its first season back.
The Tigers had a lot of success when the league first split into two divisions, winning the Davenport title in 2011 and 2013 before making the jump up to the Kelley-Rex. With a strong group of players back, OA is looking to take the next step forward during the Fall II 2020 season. Senior captain Gavin Morrison is a two-way lineman and will anchor the offensive group from the center spot. He’ll be joined by senior Dante Cocivera and Max Tower, both returning players from last season. Junior Collin Williamson burst onto the scene last year and should see an expanded role in the backfield during this abbreviated season while sophomore Chad Silva should be in the mix as well.
Speed will be a strength on the defensive side of the ball for the Tigers, who boast a lot of the same faces on the defensive line as their offensive line. Tower anchors the linebackers and will be one to keep an eye on, using his speed and strength to make plays, and he’ll be joined by the sophomore Silva. Senior captain Jaden Ricci is one of the best defensive players on the team, a fast, physical player with a nose for the ball that will start at corner. He’ll be joined by senior Jaden Krowski in the secondary.
2020 (Fall II) Davenport Division Preview
“We are excited about where our program is heading and are really ecstatic and thankful to get an opportunity to play this season,” said head coach Ed DeWitt.
Sharon had a very young squad a season ago and went through plenty of growing pains. The Eagles are hoping to turn some of that experience into success on the field this season.
Not only do the Eagles have their quarterback and top receivers back, but they are also getting a big boost with a return from injury. Senior Kiran Chandrasekaran returns under center and has weapons in PJ McManus, Owen Conway, and Conor McLaughlin in the passing game. Nico Marrero, who showed flashes of great play as a sophomore, had to miss all of last year due to injury but is back this year and will be a key two-way player for the Eagles. Marrero is a powerful runner that will look to find space created by an improved offensive line. The Eagles’ offensive line is anchored by senior center Shea Letendre while junior Jack Murphy and sophomores Miles Clay and Daniel Davis help round out Sharon’s line.
Defensive the Eagles are always a competitive group, the challenge will be doing so for four quarters against some top offenses in the Davenport. Ike Ogbonnanze, who is also a big receiving target on offense, will start at linebacker alongside Marrero and Letendre, giving the Eagles a very experienced group in the heart of the defense. McManus and Conway will play on both sides of the ball, starting in the secondary defensively.
“Our kids know our numbers are not strong but they have a great attitude and are playing like their backs are against the wall,” said Sharon head coach Dave Morse.
Stoughton head coach Greg Burke always leans heavily on his senior class and he has a real talented group this year.
The Black Knights have a handful of very talented and experienced seniors that have played a lot of snaps over the past two seasons and that has Stoughton primed for a run a the Davenport division title. Senior John Burke is back under center at quarterback for the Knights and it’s likely we’ll see Brady Conlin take some snaps similar to how Burke split with Clayton Rahaman last season. Both quarterbacks will have plenty of options to work with, especially on the ground. The Knights have a “home run” type offense with any given handoff capable to break off a big run. Senior brothers Christopher and Christian Ais recently committed to the University of New Haven and both bring speed and power when running the ball. Christian Georges is another workhorse out of the backfield while juniors Anthony Girolamo and Jonah Ly could see some carries as well. What makes Stoughton’s run game so dangerous is all of the backs do a great job of blocking when they don’t get carries. Jake Queeney will be the main target in the passing game for the Knights. Sproul Derolus is one of the few returners on the offensive line so Stoughton will need some players to step up there.
Defense is always a staple for the Knights and that looks to be the case again this year. A lot of the same faces that make plays on the offensive side will be the ones making plays on the defensive side. Georges is an absolute monster coming off the edge and uses his speed and strength to cause havoc in the backfield. Christopher Ais will be joined by Ly and Girolamo at linebacker while Christian Ais, Queeney, and Burke are all returners in the secondary for the Knights.
“Hopefully without a ton of injuries we can have a good year,” Burke said. “We have some experience and the kids have worked hard in the clubs for weight training. We need the juniors to step up and contribute fast while still learning varsity speed. The league is always tough and hopefully, we can survive tough crossover games.”
STOUGHTON, Mass. – On Monday evening, the Stoughton boys basketball team went into Sharon, controlled the tempo, and put up its best offensive performance of the season in a comfortable win over the Eagles.
On Tuesday night, the Black Knights did it again.
Stoughton boys basketball
From senior Colby Andrews’ first basket just 10 seconds into the contest up until sophomore Rayan Sablon’s three-pointer in the final minute, Stoughton had its foot on the gas from start to finish to earn a 74-56 win over the visiting Eagles.
It marked Stoughton’s best offensive output of the season and the most points scored by any Davenport division team so far this season.
“That’s the pace we want, we want to pick it up and we want to get shots up,” said first-year Stoughton head coach Evan Taylor. “I think it’s just been about getting more comfortable with the offense, just being together more as a team. We’re playing together as a team more, everyone is touching the ball and getting more involved.
“We’ve really started to pick up the pace a lot more, which is the tempo we want to play at. Obviously, it helps when shots start falling that weren’t following to start the season. We’ve always had the confidence in the shots, now we’re starting to see them fall.”
The Black Knights were coming off a 72-point performance just 24 hours earlier on the road at Sharon. They followed a similar blueprint on their home court. Stoughton’s offense was off and running from the beginning, laughing up 23 field goal attempts — with seven makes — over the first eight minutes with just one turnover.
That resulted in a 16-13 lead for the hosts, which could have been more if not for a terrific individual effort from Sharon sophomore Matt Baur (18 points, five rebounds), who hit five of the Eagles’ six shots from the floor and had 11 points to keep the visitors close.
Christian Georges converted a putback attempt to push Stoughton’s lead to eight just over two minutes into the second but the Eagles continued to keep up with the Black Knights’ torrid pace. Sam Cohen hit a jumper, Owen Conway drove to the basket for two, and Baur drained a triple. Kiran Chandrasekaran sank a pair of free throws to get the visitors within four, 28-24, with three minutes to go in the first half.
That’s when Stoughton showed just how quickly and deadly its offense can be when it gets going. Junior Connor Andrews drained a three after an offensive rebound and pass from junior KC Ugwuakazi (17 points, 15 rebounds, five blocks). Andrews came up with a turnover on the ensuing inbounds and found senior Jake Queeney (15 points) for a triple, and after two straight Eagles’ turnovers, Ugwuakazi cleaned up his own miss.
Stoughton continued to crash the offensive glass (23 offensive rebounds), this time Cashmere Mathurin grabbed a board and put it back up for two to complete a 10-0 run in less than two minutes.
Even though Sharon broke the run out of a timeout when Ryan Zunenshine converted an offensive rebound into two points, the Black Knights added seven more points over the final minute. Brett Pendenza made a pair of free throws, Sablon drained a three, and Mathurin beat the buzzer with a hard banked-in shot to give Stoughton a 45-28 halftime lead.
Stoughton boys basketball
“That’s not the pace we want to play at,” said Sharon head coach Andrew Ferguson, his side committing 10 of its 14 turnovers in the opening half. “The same thing happened last night. They sped us up, they played at the pace they wanted to and that’s a credit to them. We stressed trying to play slower, execute our offense, run our screens, slips, back doors, and we didn’t do it. It was too much one on one, too much first pass shot. It’s disappointing because we had been playing well. We needed to slow it down in this game but we couldn’t play at the pace we wanted.
“We let our bad defensive possessions affect our offense, and we let our bad offensive possessions affect our defensive possessions, it’s a snowball. We weren’t communicating enough defensively, we were helping off the wrong spots, and then we were just selfish on offense.”
A switch to a zone defense by the Eagles helped some but was merely a speed bump for the Black Knights. Brady Conlin knocked down a three against the zone early, and after Stoughton’s longest scoreless stretch of the game of nearly three minutes, Pendenza and Queeney delivered back-to-back triples to help Stoughton push its lead to 54-35 just past the midway point of the third.
Queeney’s isolation step-back triple extended Stoughton’s advantage to 59-37 with two minutes to go in the third but Sharon made a final push to get back into it. Matt Baskin (nine points, 10 rebounds) went coast-to-coast for two and then sank a triple after a Stoughton turnover. Zunenshine used a crafty finish for two and Ryan Baker’s contested heave from deep three-point territory beat the buzzer as the Eagles got back into the game, down 59-47 going into the fourth.
Zunenshine opened with two more to make it a 10-point game but that would be the closest the Eagles would get the rest of the way. Ugwuakazi scored four straight points, had a big block on the defensive end, and Queeney converted another offensive rebound into points as Stoughton restored a comfortable lead at 65-49.
“In the beginning of the season, they’re probably going the other way,” Taylor said of the close game situations in the second and fourth quarters. “There’s been some mental growth. It’s been a growing season for all of them, and with just two returners back from last year, we knew it would be. Everybody is getting experience now, and everyone is learning together. We’ve been watching film, just trying to get better as a team each day.”
Stoughton (4-5 Davenport, 4-5 overall) travels to Mansfield on Thursday for its first of three straight games against Kelley-Rex opponents. Sharon (3-4, 3-5) returns home on Friday night against rival Oliver Ames.
Foxboro, 64 @ Stoughton, 67 – Final – In a back-and-forth contest, Stoughton won the fourth quarter and the game, holding on as Foxboro’s shot at the buzzer was just off the mark. After a strong start from the Black Knights, Foxboro used a 20-2 in the first quarter to take a double-digit lead after eight minutes. Dylan Gordon (19 points), Sam Golub (11 points), and Ryan LeClair (career-high 15 points) all hit threes in the opening period to give the visitors the lead. Stoughton responded with a big second quarter, with six players recording a field goal including a pair of threes from senior Jake Queeney (career-high 15 points) and one from Christian Georges to tie the game 33-33 at halftime. Golub added two more triples in the third and sophomore Alex Penders had six of his 16 points in the third to help Foxboro take a 52-50 lead going into the fourth. Stoughton junior KC Ugwuakazi scored all of his 14 points in the second half and helped set up one of the biggest shots of the game. With two minutes to go, Ugwuakazi took a pass in the paint and drew the attention of the defense. He found Connor Andrews (nine points), who quickly skipped a pass to Brett Pendenza (career-high 16 points) for a corner three to make it 65-60 with two minutes to play.
Oliver Ames @ Sharon – Postponed to TBD.
King Philip, 61 @ Milford, 66 – Final – Ten players entered the scoring sheet for the Hawks, who broke into the win column with a win over visiting King Philip. The Hawks increased their advantage after each of the first three quarters, holding the visiting Warriors at arms length down the stretch. Senior Jordan Darling scored eight of his 10 points in the opening half while Ben Blanchard (team-high 12 points), Brady Olson, and Wes Solomon all connected from three-point range in the second to give Milford a 33-25 lead at halftime. Dom Schofield and Sean Murray each scored eight points in the third and Max Martin hit a three as the Hawks pushed the advantage to 50-41 going into the final frame. King Philip sophomore Will Laplante hit seven three-pointers for a career-high 26 points to help keep the Warriors in the game. Junior Danny Clancy scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half for KP.
Stoughton, 19 @ Foxboro, 76 – Final – All 11 players scored for Foxboro, which ended its two-game losing streak and moved back over .500 on the season. Katelyn Mollica was the game’s top scorer with 27 points. Camryn Collins also hit double digits with 10 points and Hannah Blake added nine.
Sharon, 13 @ Oliver Ames, 58 – Final – Oliver Ames got off to a strong start and never looked back, earning a win at home behind a complete game effort. Caroline Peper was the leading scorer for OA with 11 points while Jess Erlich, Jasmyn Cooper, and Anna Murphy each chipped in with seven points. Caroline Flynn dished out eight assists in the win.