Stoughton, 51 @ Sharon, 6 – Final – Click here for a photo gallery of this game. 1st Quarter: (St) Christian Ais 10-yard rush, Anthony Girolamo XP good; (St) Christopher Ais 17-yard rush, A. Girolamo XP good.
2nd Quarter: (St) Clayton Rahaman 15-yard pass to Christopher Ais, XP no good; (St) Christopher Ais 20-yard rush, A. Girolamo XP good; John Burke 22-yard pass to Jonah Ly, A. Girolamo XP good; (St) Christian Georges 30-yard rush, A. Girolamo XP good; (St) Jake Queeney 50-yard interception return, A. Girolamo XP good.
3rd Quarter: No scoring.
4th Quarter: (St) A. Girolamo 21-yard field goal; (Sh) Ike Ogbonnanze 67-yard rush, XP no good.
Mansfield, 1 @ Stoughton, 2 – Final – Mansfield took a 1-0 lead into halftime but Stoughton came out and scored a pair of second half goals to earn two points. Sagar Koul put the visitors ahead in the first half, finishing off a through ball from Cam Eddy. Mason Eschleman scored the game-winning goal for Stoughton.
Attleboro, 2 @ Sharon, 0 – Final – Madison Ellis and Emma Briggs each scored once to lead Attleboro to a win on the road at Sharon.
Taunton, 0 @ Canton, 2 – Final – Canton scored once in each half to grab a win over visiting Taunton. Freshman Ellie Bohane scored the game-winner in the first half while senior Kaitlyn Goyetch added an insurance tally in the second half for the Bulldogs.
North Attleboro, 0 @ King Philip, 1 – Final – King Philip scored the lone goal of the game midway through the first half and goalie Makenzie Manning and the Warriors’ defense posted a shutout to beat North Attleboro. Junior Abby Nixon converted at 14:32 on a feed from Sammy Robison for the lone goal of the game. Manning made four saves for the shutout while senior Raegan Simeone and junior Christina Gifun both played well in the midfield for KP.
Mansfield, 2 @ Stoughton, 0 – Final – Stori Rounds and Paige Peterson each scored once to lead Mansfield to a win on the road at Stoughton.
Oliver Ames @ Milford, 4:00
Attleboro @ Sharon, 5:00
Taunton, 0 @ Canton, 3 – Final – Canton defended home court by earning a clean 3-0 sweep (25-13, 25-11, 25-17) of visiting Taunton. Jackie Morrissey ran the Bulldogs’ offense with 16 assists and six digs while Claire Quinn, Taylor Harris, and Liz Bickett combined for 20 kills. The Nikki DesJardins, Stephanie Trendell and Emily Morrison played well defensively for Canton. For Taunton, Ella Dunderdale had 10 kills and two aces, Hailey Sullivan added 10 digs, and Jaelyn Fernandez dished out 18 assists.
Franklin, 3 @ Foxboro, 0 – Final – Franklin went on the road and won 3-0 (25-20, 25-14, 25-19) over a gritty Foxboro side. Allyson Bonnet-Eymard led the way with 14 kills and nine digs while Bridget Jackson added seven kills and Jill Benoit chipped in with 12 digs. Sophomore Cailyn Mackintosh put the offense in motion with 26 assists.
King Philip, 3 @ North Attleboro, 0 – Final – King Philip earned its second win over North Attleboro, this time in a league match, taking a 3-0 (25-6, 25-8, 25-23) decision. Kristen Masse (four aces) and Emma Brooks (three, seven digs) had strong showings at the service line while Nicole Coughlan (12 kills, three aces) and Catherine Waldeck (seven kills, four blocks) continued to shine at the net for KP.
Mansfield, 3 @ Stoughton, 0 – Final – Mansfield got back into the win column with a 3-0 (25-23, 25-19, 25-7) sweep on the road at the new Stoughton High School. Sam Sternburg paced the Hornets with 14 service points and six digs while Julia Kelly also played well with 13 service points and seven kills.
Foxboro, 166 @ Sharon, 173 – Final – Foxboro’s depth played a big role in a win on the road over Sharon on Thursday afternoon. Luke Davies was the match medalist, firing a match-low round of 40 while Dylan Quinn, Matt Lathrop, and Noah Hicks all finished at 42 to help the Warriors earn a close win. Ethan Skelly led Sharon with a round of 41.
Franklin, 164 @ Oliver Ames, 157 – Final – Oliver Ames defended its home course, knocking off the visiting Panthers to avenge a loss from earlier in the season. Senior captain Brad Powers was the medalist for the match with a round of 37. JoJo Gaultier added a 39 for the Tigers and Sam Becker chipped in with a round of 40. Franklin’s Jack Paterson had a team-low round of 38.
King Philip, 169 @ Mansfield, 160 – Final – Mansfield’s Ava Haggis earned match medalist honors to help the Hornets knock off KP and clinch at least a share of the division title. Haggis finished with a 39 while Ryan Dow and Cian Goulet each shot 40 for the Hornets. Brian See and Jason See each shot 41 in the win.
North Attleboro, 178 @ Taunton, 194 – Final – North Attleboro’s Jillian Barend fired a 40 to earn match medalist honors, helping the Rocketeers earn a win on the road at Taunton.
Stoughton, 184 @ Canton, 142 – Final – Canton’s Thomas Singleton fired off an even-par round of 34 to earn medalist honors and lead the Bulldogs to a win over Stoughton. The Bulldogs clinched at least a share of the Davenport division title with the win. Will Gefteas finished at one-over at 35 while Mike Leonetti (36) and Nate MacDonald (37) also played well for Canton. Stoughton’s Patrick Smith finished with a team-low round of 40.
Boys Cross Country
Franklin, 21 @ Taunton, 37 – Final – Franklin had the top two runners and four of the top six spots to earn a win on the road over Taunton. Tyler Brogan took first place for the Panthers, crossing the finish line in 16:10.
Results: 1. Tyler Brogan, Frank (16:10) 2. Nicholas Calitri, Frank (16:22) 5. Declan Walmsley, Frank (17:19) 6. Joseph Zerice, Frank (17:24) 7. Griffin Sieczkiewicz, Frank (17:27) 9. Clancy Golden, Frank (17:33)
Girls Cross Country
Franklin, 15 @ Taunton, 43 – Final – Franklin had the top five finishers in the race on the 3.1 mile course on the campus of Taunton High School. Sydney Hawkins led the way for the Panthers, taking first in 20:43. Taunton sophomore Nia Mainer-Smith took sixth overall in 21:12.
Canton, 35 vs. Bellingham, 0 – Final 1st Quarter: (C) Kyle Fitzgerald 60-yard rush, Owen Lehane XP good; (C) Johnny Hagan 31-yard pass to David Allen, O. Lehane XP good; (C) K. Fitzgerald 8-yard rush, O. Lehane XP good; (C) Gersom Rivera 48-yard rush, O. Lehane XP good.
2nd Quarter: (C) Ben Guerini 12-yard rush, O. Lehane XP good.
3rd Quarter: No scoring.
4th Quarter: No scoring.
King Philip, 20 @ Foxboro, 10 – Final – Click here for a Recap and Photo Gallery from this game. 1st Quarter: (KP) Robert Jarest 4-yard rush, XP no good; (F) Shayne Kerrigan 1-yard rush, Tyler James XP good.
2nd Quarter: (F) T. James 25-yard field goal; R. Jarest 5-yard rush, Dylan Conti XP good.
3rd Quarter: (KP) Ryan Halliday 15-yard rush, D. Conti XP good.
4th Quarter: No scoring.
Mansfield, 16 @ LaSalle HS (OH), 38 – Final 1st Quarter: (LS) Zach Branam 38-yard pass to Jake Seibert, J. Seibert XP good; (M) Cincere Gill 87-yard rush, Michael DeBolt XP good; (LS) Gi’Bran Payne 50-yard rush, J. Seibert XP good.
2nd Quarter: (LS) Z. Branam 7-yard pass to J. Seibert, J. Seibert XP good; (LS) J. Seibert 35-yard field goal.
3rd Quarter: (LS) Z. Branam 30-yard pass to J. Seibert, J. Seibert XP good; (M) Matt Boen 32-yard pass to Danny Rapoza, XP failed.
4th Quarter: (LS) Cameron Porter 2-yard rush, J. Seibert XP good; (M) M. DeBolt 25-yard field goal.
Sharon, 0 vs. Ashland, 21 – Final – Click here for a photo gallery of this game. 1st Quarter: (A) Dominic Cavanagh 5-yard pass to Kevin Russell, XP good.
2nd Quarter: (A) D. Cavanagh 4-yard pass to K. Russell, XP good; (A) D. Cavanagh 8-yard rush, XP good.
3rd Quarter: No scoring.
4th Quarter: No scoring.
Stoughton, 47 @ Medford, 6 – Final 1st Quarter: (S) Clayton Rahaman 32-yard pass to Christian Ais, Anthony Girolamo XP good; (S) Christopher Ais 41-yard rush, A. Girolamo XP good; (S) Savion Scott 1-yard rush, XP failed; (S) Christopher Ais 7-yard rush, A. Girolamo XP good.
2nd Quarter: (S) Christian Georges 5-yard rush, A. Girolamo XP good.
3rd Quarter: (S) Gerrard Theodore 31-yard rush, A. Girolamo XP good.
4th Quarter: (M) Medford 30-yard pass, XP blocked; (S) Jonah Ly 65-yard interception return, no XP attempt.
Taunton, 24 @ Durfee, 21 – Final
Stoughton, 0 @ Attleboro, 6 – Final– Attleboro’s Joey Soucy netted a first half hat trick to lead the Bombardiers to a big win at home. Michael Russo had a goal and an assist in the win while freshman Esvin Morales netted his first career goal.
Canton, 0 @ Franklin, 3 – Final – Franklin opened the scoring less than 10 minutes into the contest and added two goals in a 10-minute span in the second half to knock off visiting Canton. Lucas Moura put the Panthers ahead on an assist from Ben Moccia in the 7th minute. Trevor O’Neill doubled the lead for the hosts in the 54th minute on an assist from Jacob Cummings. Junior Ethan Cain capped the scoring five minutes later with a goal in the 59th minute.
Foxboro, 0 @ Taunton, 0 – Final
Milford, 2 @ King Philip, 1 – Final – Milford scored once in each half to earn two points on the road at King Philip. Lucas Da Silva played Leo Coelho in behind the defense, and Coelho used a curling left foot shot from atop the 18-yard box, knocking his shot off the far post and in. KP tied the game in the 51st minute as Colin Wesley connected with Caleb Casseta-Waxman. Casseta-Waxman’s deflected service fell in behind the defense and junior Tadhg Keller nodded the loose ball over the keeper to tie the game. The Hawks found the winner in the 70th minute when Pedro Araujo tracked down a ball from Jordan Borges. Araujo cut inside onto his left foot and sent a dipping shot off the far post and in for the game-winner.
North Attleboro, 0 @ Oliver Ames, 1 – Final – Oliver Ames junior Colin Milliken converted a penalty kick in the first half to help the Tigers secure a shutout win over the visiting Rocketeers. Drew Nickla made four saves to record his third shutout of the season. Matt Nikiciuk had a strong game in the midfield for OA while Matt Nosalek, Jon Freeman, Harry Ahearn, and Brady deVos anchored the defense.
Attleboro, 7 @ Stoughton, 3 – Final – Briley Harnois scored three goals and added an assist and Isabella Salviati had a goal and two assists, as the Bombardiers scored five goals in the second half to pull out the win. Harnois opened the scoring in the third minute, but the Black Knights responded with three straight goals to grab the lead. Katherine Dennehy brought Attleboro back within one before the break. The Bombardiers grabbed the lead for good with three goals in the first 10 minutes of the second half. Harnois scored from Salviati and then the combo switched places to make it 4-3 before Harnois completed her hat trick in the 49th minute. Ashley Macia and Cassondra Stuger each scored to put the game away for the visitors. Attleboro coach Steve Santos said, “Totally different second half. We settled the ball down, had some good combinations and made some great runs.” Stoughton’s Shayla Ford, Mackenzie Manning, and Ashley Camilo each scored once for Stoughton.
Taunton, 0 @ Foxboro, 9 – Final – Four different Foxboro players scored in the opening half to build a 4-0 lead by the break, and the Warriors added five more in the second half for the win. Sophomore Kailee McCabe had a hat trick to lead the offense while Jordyn Collins had two goals and an assist. Olivia Nicholson, Caroline Rongione, Reagan Buckley, and Katelyn Mollica all scored once for Foxboro while Alyssa VandenBoom had an assist.
King Philip, 5 @ Milford, 1 – Final – The Warriors and Hawks traded early goals but King Philip scored four unanswered to get the win. Avery Snead (on a cross from Chloe Layne) put KP up under two minutes in before Milford’s Ashleigh Starks scored off a corner kick from Maddie Boyle to make it 1-1. Jenny Montville scored twice in a four-minute span, one set up by Layne and the other by Snead, to give KP a 3-1 lead at halftime. Layne scored her first of the contest on a through ball from Ally Stanton, and Stanton scored in the final 10 minutes off a corner from Makayla Griffin. KP’s defensive core of Olivia Berry, Paige Varvarigos, Taryn Greenberg, Grace Lawler, and Griffin had a strong showing.
Oliver Ames, 4 @ North Attleboro, 1 – Final – Click here for a Photo Gallery from this game. The Tigers scored three goals in the first half to take control of the game and stayed unbeaten on the season. Erin Holmberg scored from Camryn O’Connor to put OA ahead inside the opening 10 minutes and then Lauren Sellmayer scored twice off of Holmberg corners to put the Tigers well ahead before halftime. North starting goalie Regan Fein made a pair of diving saves to keep North within three goals. O’Connor scored OA’s fourth goal on a rebound after North back-up keeper Caitlin Echeverri made a stop on Holmberg. The Rocketeers got on the board with a nice move in the closing minutes. Alex Moulson found space on the right and her low cross was side-footed in by Olivia Wills. Summer Doherty and Lydia Hershey played well in the back for North while Lily Adams and Caroline Ferrin had strong showings in the midfield.
Foxboro, 2 @ Stoughton, 0 – Final – Stoughton goalie Kayla Laboy made an incredible 30 saves but Foxboro was able to earn the win on the road. Jenny Gallagher scored her first goal and Jaime Notarangelo added another for the Warriors.
Sharon, 0 @ Canton, 7 – Final
North Attleboro, 0 @ King Philip, 3 – Final – King Philip earned a 3-0 (25-12, 25-20, 25-20) sweep of North Attleboro in a non-league contest. The Warriors had a strong day at the service line as Emma Brooks (nine digs) notches seven aces, Lily Carlow (six digs, two kills) added six aces, and Ali McNamara had four aces. Nicole Coughlan slammed down a team-high 11 kills while Catherine Waldeck added 10 kills.
Oliver Ames, 3 @ Bridgewater-Raynham, 0 – Final – Oliver Ames took care of business at home with a 3-0 (25-8, 25-19, 25-16) sweep of visiting Bridgewater-Raynham. Junior Jordan Bennett had a strong all-around game with five kills and two blocks. Allie Kemp finished with 35 assists and eight aces, and Jordan Bossed added 15 kills and four aces.
Taunton, 3 vs. Durfee, 0 – Final – Taunton’s defense had a strong day to help the Tigers break into the win column with a 3-0 (25-17, 25-19, 25-21) win over visiting Durfee. Fabiana Pereira had 16 digs, Kailara Andrade added 10 digs, and Shea Pimental finished with eight digs in the win. Hailey Sullivan, Mikayla Cleary, Alyssa Turcotte, and Ella Dunderdale each had seven kills to pace the offense.
Attleboro, 177 @ King Philip, 153 – Final
North Attleboro, 180 @ Franklin, 154 – Final – Franklin junior Jack Paterson concluded the week with his fourth medalist round, this time shooting a team-low 36 to capture co-medalist honors. Quinten Faro also fired a 36 for the Panthers, who got a 39 out of Pat Dolan and a 43 from Brian Sandham. Jillian Barend shot a team-low 43 for the Rocketeers while Jake Gaskin carded a round of 44.
BRAINTREE, Mass. – A strong mix of ball carriers and timely defensive stops was the perfect recipe for Stoughton in its season-opener against Framingham.
The Black Knights flipped the game with a late first half stop and a key sequence of plays at the end of the third quarter to score a 35-16 win over the Flyers at Braintree High, the one-night home field for Stoughton.
Stoughton had 10 players combine for 372 yards on the ground with five or more accumulating 20 yards or more.
“[Framingham] is a great team, they are a pretty good club, they will do better,” said longtime Stoughton head coach Greg Burke. “We struggled to slow down their running back but we hung in there and luckily we were able to move the ball ourselves. Had a couple of penalties that hurt us, but it’s the first game and there’s going to be a lot of mistakes across the entire state.
“I’m glad we won, and I think every week we’ll get a little better. Knock on wood, I don’t think anyone got hurt. The kids are in great shape, and I’m just real happy with this first win.”
Stoughton built a 14-0 lead in the first quarter but Framingham cut that lead in half midway through the second quarter and was threatening to take the lead just before halftime. After getting the ball in Stoughton territory on a fourth down stop, the Flyers moved all the way into the red zone with just a couple of minutes left in the half.
The Black Knights’ defense got its third big red zone stop of the half when Flyers’ quarterback Jack Beverly (11/24, 96 yards) hit Sam Stubbs on the right side but Stoughton’s Kamari Grant made the stick and the tackle short of the first down marker at the six yard line to prevent a score.
Stoughton made sure to capitalize on the stop, manufacturing its most methodical drive of the game (9 plays, 82 yards) capped with a fourth down conversion for a touchdown. Junior quarterback John Burke rolled out to his right and found Christopher Ais for an 8 yard touchdown. Anthony Girlamo’s extra point gave the Knights a 21-8 lead.
The defense got a stop right at midfield, turning Framingham over on downs. After a healthy dose of Christian Ais (9 carries, 80 yards) and Christopher Ais (20 carries, 108 yards), the Knights moved into the red zone. On a broken play, senior quarterback Clayton Rahaman scrambled up the left side for a 19-yard touchdown, putting Stoughton up 28-8.
With just seconds left in the third quarter, Stoughton put the proverbial nail in the coffin. After the special teams unit made a nice play to pin the Flyers deep, Burke — who also plays at safety — came through and knocked the ball free on Framingham’s first play. Savion Scott (five carries, 46 yards) wrestled for the loose ball to give the Knights possession back.
Three plays into the fourth quarter, Burke followed the push of his offensive line into the end zone for a 2-yard keeper and a 35-8 lead.
Framingham added a second touchdown against Stoughton’s second defensive unit late in the game.
While it was smooth sailing in the second half, the beginning of the game was a bit of a rocky start for Stoughton. Framingham’s offense was moving before Stoughton brought some pressure and Grant came away with an interception on a jump ball at the six yard line.
Stoughton’s offense stalled and a bad snap on the punt gave Framingham the ball at the Black Knights’ 12-yard line. The bend-don’t-break Stoughton defense came through, limiting the Flyers to two yards through three downs and then blocked a 27-yard field goal to keep Framingham off the board.
The offense looked much better on its second series as Christopher Ais made a great cut on the right side and darted for a 92-yard touchdown but the Knights were whistled for holding. Despite the penalty, Stoughton struck with another home run type play as Christian Georges (four carries, 99 yards) broke free for an 84-yard touchdown two plays later, putting Stoughton up 6-0.
The Black Knights’ defense forced a quick three and out, taking over at their own 40-yard line after a punt. Christopher Ais broke off a 43-yard rush for a touchdown but the refs flagged Stoughton for an illegal block downfield. But once again, two plays later the Knights were in the end zone as Georges took his second carry for 11 yards and a score. Christopher Ais punched in the two-point conversion.
Both Rahaman and Burke saw time at quarterback for the Knights, and head coach Greg Burke says that will be what you see all season from Stoughton. Rahaman rushed for a touchdown and had two completions (one to Burke) while Burke tossed one touchdown and rushed for another.
“That’s how it’s going to be all year, we’re going to play both of them,” Greg Burke said. “They push each other, they are working hard. They both have their strengths. Johnny plays on defense too and Clayton did a nice job tonight. The same with the running backs, they all have to play defense too.”
Stoughton football (1-0) is back in action next week when it hits the road to play at Medford.
Milford, 27 @ Franklin, 34 – Final – Click here for a recap and photo gallery from this game. 1st Quarter: (F) Thomas Gasbarro 38 yard pass to Jake Davis, Parker Cheuvront XP good; (M) Luke Rosa 15 yard rush, CJ Cerrella XP good.
2nd Quarter: (F) T. Gasbarro 23 yard pass to Jack Nally, P. Cheuvront XP good.
3rd Quarter: (F) T. Gasbarro 23 yard pass to J. Davis, XP failed; (M) Colby Pires 56 yard pass to Dan Farrell, XP failed; (F) Cole Lakatos 73 yard kick return, P. Cheuvront XP good.
4th Quarter: (M) C. Pires 26 yard pass to Carter Scudo, C. Carrella XP good; (F) Mack Gulla 4 yard rush, P. Cheuvront XP good; (M) C. Pires 22 yard pass to Matt Varteresian, C. Cerrella XP good.
Stoughton, 35 vs. Framingham, 16 – Final – Click here for a recap and photo gallery from this game. 1st Quarter: (S) Christian Georges 84 yard rush, XP failed; (S) C. Georges 11 yard rush, Christopher Ais 2pt rush good.
2nd Quarter: (F) Akye Boston 2 yard rush, Jack Beverly 2pt pass to Sam Stubbs good.
3rd Quarter: (S) John Burke 8 yard pass to Christopher Ais, Anthony Girolamo XP good; (S) Clayton Rahaman 19 yard rush, A. Girolamo XP good.
4th Quarter: (S) J. Burke 2 yard rush, A. Girolamo XP good; (F) A. Boston 53 yard rush; J. Beverly 2pt pass to Antonio Rivera good.
Canton, 0 @ Marshfield, 0 – Final – Canton senior goalie Alejandro Correal made 11 saves to help the Bulldogs earn a point on the road in the season opener for both squads.
King Philip, 4 @ Sharon, 0 – Final – King Philip scored twice in the final five minutes of the first half and then twice more in the final 10 minutes of the game to earn a win on the road over Sharon. Wes Orzell scored the game-winner, putting KP ahead 1-0 with an unassisted strike in the 39th minute. Three minutes later, Orzell set up senior Brian McCarthy to make it 2-0 just before half. In the 71st, Cam Lawrence deposited a free kick (earned by Evan McEvoy) into the net for a 3-0 advantage. Stephen Griffin added a fourth (assisted by McEvoy) in the final minute. Aidan Lindmark and Grant Orzell combined for the shutout in net for KP.
Attleboro, 0 @ Canton, 3 – Final – Locked in a one-goal game, Canton freshman Ellie Bohane scored her first two varsity goals inside the final five minutes to secure the win for the Bulldogs. Meg Aldrich put Canton up 1-0 off a corner with 10 minutes left in the first half but the Bulldogs couldn’t solve Attleboro goalie Ava Haggerty (22 saves) until Bohane’s tally with four minutes to go.
Mansfield, 1 @ Foxboro, 1 – Final – Click here for a photo gallery from this game – Foxboro sophomore Kate Collins scored with five seconds left in the game to salvage a point for the Warriors in their season opener against Mansfield. Collins scored off a corner with Molly McElhinney and Ella Waryas factoring in before Collins got the final touch. Stori Rounds put Mansfield up with just under five minutes to play in the first half while Kayla Hunter made six saves for the Hornets.
Franklin, 13 @ Milford, 0 – Final – Amanda Lewandowski and Leila Frankina each scored twice in the first half as Franklin rolled to a win to start the season. Lewandowski finished with three points, including an assist on Elizabeth Clark’s first varsity goal. Neilee Hess earned the shutout for Franklin. Paige Reisman had 20 saves in net for the Hawks.
King Philip, 3 @ Sharon, 1 – Final
Oliver Ames, 6 @ Stoughton, 1 – Final – After a scoreless first half, Oliver Ames scored five minutes into the second half and tacked on five more to record a win on the road at Stoughton. Cassie Gennis and Georgia Costello (assist) each scored twice for the Tigers while Sofia Anestam and Hannah Stryke (assist) each found the back of the net once for the Tigers. Haley Nelson scored for Stoughton while Kayla Laboy had an outstanding game in net, making 10 saves.
Taunton, 3 @ North Attleboro, 1 – Final – Taunton went on the road and picked up a win in the season opener at North Attleboro. Kennedy Thielker scored twice for the Tigers, both assisted by Kat Robinson, while Alana Tavares added an unassisted tally. Emily Gannon made five saves in net for the win. Jocelyn Pagliuca and Kathryn Baptiste also had strong games for Taunton.
Attleboro, 0 @ Canton, 3 – Final – Canton opened the season with a 3-0 sweep (25-16, 25-19, 25-16) to give head coach Pat Cawley her 200th victory with the Bulldogs. Senior Taylor Harris led the offense with 15 kills while adding 12 digs and three aces in the win. Angie Elias also had a strong day with seven digs, six kills, and a pair of aces, Liz Bickett added four kills and 11 digs and Nikki Desjardins had a solid defensive showing. Attleboro junior Ana Leonardo dished out 11 assists and sophomore Delia Barthel had three kills and two blocks.
Mansfield, 3 @ Foxboro, 1 – Final – Mansfield started the 2019 campaign with a 3-1 (25-11, 25-22, 23-25, 25-21) win on the road over Foxboro. Sam Sternburg paced the Hornets’ defense with 20 digs and added 12 service points while Olivia McGrath had 11 kills and Emily Dardinski added seven kills. Foxboro had a strong defensive game to keep the match close, with Pam Nelson (10 digs), Grace Fortune (nine digs), Sara Addeche (nine digs) and Kelsey Treweek (six digs) leading the way.
Franklin, 1 @ Milford, 3 – Final – Milford bounced back from dropping the first set to secure a 3-1 (24-26, 26-24, 25-20, 25-21) win at home against Franklin. Julia Riordan paced the Hawks offense, dishing out 28 assists. Lauren Corsini had a strong game in the middle with 11 kills and six blocks, Alyssa Williamson added six kills, and Sarah Brogioli anchored the defense with 15 digs.
King Philip, 3 @ Sharon, 0 – Final – King Philip went on the road and picked up a win in its first game of the season, 3-0 (25-13, 25-12, 25-13) over Sharon. Middles Catherine Waldeck (nine kills, three blocks) and Nicole Coughlan (nine kills, two aces) both had strong games for the Warriors, Kristen Masse added four kills, four digs, and three aces, and Emma Brooks chipped in with six digs and four aces.
Taunton, 0 @ North Attleboro, 3 – Final – North Attleboro defended home court with a 3-0 (25-18, 25-16, 25-18) win over visiting Taunton. Haley Gaskin dished out 22 assists to pace the Rocketeers with Kylie Melanson (six kills) and Joanna Collins-Bilyeu (five kills) leading the offense. Alyssa Turcotte had five kills and a block for the Tigers while Sonya Fernandez added four kills and a pair of aces.
Oliver Ames, 3 @ Stoughton, 0 – Final – Oliver Ames senior Allie Kemp dished out 27 assists to lead the Tigers to a 3-0 (25-12, 25-21, 25-16) win over Stoughton. Kemp moved within two assists of the 1,000 mark. Junior Caroline Flynn added 10 kills while senior Ryley McNeeley added eight kills and five aces. OA senior Alison Barth had a strong game defensively with 21 digs, 23 serve receptions, and a pair of aces.
Oliver Ames, 151 @ Attleboro, 164 – Final – Oliver Ames bounced back with a win on the road over Attleboro at Stone-E-Lea. Sam Becker paced the Tigers with a medalist round of 35 while Brad Powers (38), Justin Shapiro (39), and Jo Jo Gaultier (39) all shot under 40 for Oliver Ames.
Stoughton, 194 @ North Attleboro, 156 – Final – North Attleboro’s Jillian Barend shot a one-under round of 34 at the middle course at Heather Hill to pace the Rocketeers to a win. Jake Gaskin added a round of 39, Aidan Weir carded a 40, and Brett Dusel and Sam Gallagher each finished at 43. Max Huminik led Stoughton with a round of 46.
Franklin, 158 vs. Nipmuc, 173 – Final – Jack Paterson led the way for the Panthers with a team-low round of 38 while Quinten Faro was right behind him with a round of 39.
Canton had its best season in recent memory a year ago, but the 2019 squad is aiming to take it one step further.
With starters back at almost every position, Canton is aiming to defend its Davenport division title and get back to the sectional final for the second straight season. Johnny Hagan is back under center this season and has all of his weapons back. The Bulldogs ran a mix of Wing-T and spread offense a year ago so Hagan is comfortable running whatever is needed this year. Kyle Fitzgerald, Gersom Rivera, and Cam Sanchez are all talented backs that can help grind down opposing defenses while Hagan makes a lot of plays with his feet as well. Jace Emma was one of Hagan’s favorite targets last year and he will be joined by David Allen as options in the passing game. The offensive line will be anchored by senior Jack Connolly, who missed a good amount of last season with an injury. Matt Connolly, Derrell Brown, and Lucas Bryant return to the line as well while Carson Campbell and Brandon Baran are in the mix for the final spot.
A lot of the same names will make plays on the defensive end as well with Jack Connolly and Matt Connolly teaming up with Nnamdi Onyemelukwe to provide size on the line. The strength of the defense will once again be with the linebackers as the Bulldogs have James Murphy back in the middle alongside junior Lucas Ragusa. Owen Lehane and Robbie Gallery both had strong seasons coming from the outside. The entire secondary is back for the Bulldogs with Rivera and Sanchez handle the corners and Fitzgerald and Allen provide physicality from the safety spots. And for special teams, Lehane handles kicking duties, Allen returns as the punter, and Rivera and Fitzgerald handle return duties. The Bulldogs will look to build some depth with so many two-way players in the lineup.
“We have a lot of experience with a lot of guys that have played at this level, and we had the playoff run so that should definitely help us down the road,” said Canton coach Dave Bohane. “We are focused on Dighton-Rehoboth, focusing on one game at a time. We have a lot of competitors that don’t quit.”
Foxboro’s biggest win of the season came in its final game, a thrilling overtime win over rival Mansfield at Fenway Park two days before Thanksgiving. If the Warriors are able to carry any of that momentum into the 2019 season, Foxboro will certainly be in the mix for the Davenport division title.
The Warriors return a good amount of talent from last year but will need to find a replacement for Liam Foley, who came on strong at the end of last season. Senior Shayne Kerrigan and junior Cam Prescott have both taken reps this preseason so longtime coach Jack Martinelli and his staff will have two good options to work with under center. Last year’s leading rusher Mike Luong also graduated so there will be an opportunity for someone to take on carries out of the backfield. The Warriors have good skill options in Brian Derba (three touchdown catches last year) and split ends Elijah Lewis and Ryan Hughes. Foxboro has some experience on the line as well as Zach Jenkins and Aidan Dow are both returning starters at the guard position.
Foxboro’s defense has returning players at all three levels so the Warriors will likely rely on that side of the ball, especially early on against two strong non-league foes. Anton George, a HockomockSports Hock 5 selection for defensive line, is back and will be a force to deal with for opponents. Austin Read will be key in Foxboro’s run defense from the defensive tackle spot. Mike Sheehan returns to anchor the linebackers group after a standout junior season. The secondary should be one of the top units in the league with a lot of experienced playmakers. Derba and Kerrigan made a lot of plays defensively last year and Michael Devlin could be poised for a big year for the Warriors.
“With a challenging scrimmage schedule and formidable non-league opponents, we should be prepared for the Hock grind,” Martinelli said “We have several key components returning to make this possible, but it’s one game at a time.”
Milford just missed out on the playoffs last season but the 2019 Scarlet Hawks are determined to get back to postseason play.
There is a lot of experience on both sides of the ball, and maybe most importantly, at key positions both offensively and defensively. The Hawks have Colby Pires back at quarterback after a big junior season that saw him toss 22 touchdowns, second most in the Hockomock League. But the challenge will be developing chemistry with a brand new set of receivers. Brendan White (12), Sean Lehane (5), and Shapel Feaster (5) all graduated so Milford is looking for new names to step up and make plays offensively. Junior Carter Scudo is a terrific athlete and will be one of the top options while Max Martin, Matt Varteresian, Herrick Louis, Kevin O’Connor, and Xavier Hilton are all battling to get reps on the field. Milford does bring back its leading rusher in Luke Rosa (seven rushing touchdowns), a very powerful back that will help the Hawks pound the ball. Juniors Nick Yohn, Dom Schofield, Mario Lee, and Dom Stallbaum provide a physical yet athletic offensive line.
The linebackers will be the heart of the Hawks’ defense this season. CJ Cerrella had a breakout junior year and will be on the top linebackers in the Hockomock League this season. He will be joined by Rosa, Louis, and O’Connor. A lot of the offensive line will see action on the defensive side of the ball as well while Scudo returns as a top defensive back at the safety position. Look for Martin, Varteresian, and Hilton to factor into the secondary as well for Milford this season.
“We have a very focused, determined, and excited team this season,” said head coach Anthony Vizakis. “They are a hard working group of guys with their eyes on one goal, one mission, and they are determined to do it together.”
The Rocketeers have won four straight league titles, the last three in the Davenport division, and will be looking to make it five straight this year.
If North Attleboro does make it five straight, they will need some new players to step up into new roles to do so. The Big Red graduated a lot of talent in almost every position but the Rocketeers are a program that doesn’t rebuild, they reload. The strength of the offensive will start with the offensive line as there are three returning starters. Ethan Mottinger (6’6, 294), who committed to UMass over the offseason, and John Kummer (5’11, 256) man the tackle positions while Ethan Friberg (6’5, 252) adds additional protection from the tight end position. Senior Casey Poirier, junior Matt Penta, and sophomore Tyler DeMattio are locked in a healthy battle at quarterback with each bringing a unique skill set to the offense. North lost almost all of its skill position players but there are a variety of versatile junior backs battling for time. Friberg, Russell Dunlap, and Robbie Donovan will be options in the passing game.
The strong suit of the Rocketeers’ defense will be in the front seven with several returning lineman and senior captain Tom O’Neill anchoring the linebackers. Friberg will be on one end while Montrel Jackson will see time at the other defensive end position. Kummer is joined by Trevor Hewett at defensive tackle to give North a strong, experienced defensive line. Owen Harding and Jacob Silva are in the mix to join O’Neill at linebacker while North will look for some new names to step up in its secondary alongside Jared and Matt Penta. DeMattio returns as the kicker after a standout freshmen campaign (32-for-35 PAT, 3-for-4 field goals).
“We will need to find a way to stay healthy and quickly develop some depth,” said North Attleboro head coach Don Johnson. “With the inexperience in the skill positions, we expect there to be some early growing pains, but we are hopeful that the great attitude and work ethic that has been displayed in the preseason will help us overcome the lack of experience.”
Sharon might not have as many players as some of the other programs in the league and might not match up in terms of size, but the Eagles have plenty of fight and are looking to showcase that this year.
The Eagles are going to look to capitalize on their team speed this year. Junior Nic Morrero was strong on both sides of the ball last season and will likely feature in the backfield this season for the Eagles. John Saab is another returning play that should pick up carries for the Eagles this year. Junior Kiran Chadrasekaran looks set to take over under center for the Eagles and will have a couple of experienced players to work with in senior receiver Alec Filipkowski and junior tight end Ike Ogbonnanze while junior receiver Owen Conway will likely see an expanded role this season.
Senior Jaden Williams-Thomas returns to anchor both the offensive and defensive lines and will be joined by junior Shea Letendre. Williams-Thomas will handle defensive tackle duties and should be a big part of the Eagles’ defense this year. Marrero anchors the linebackers alongside Saab and Ogbonnanze while Filipkowski and Conway will see time in the secondary.
“We have a great group of relentless players that have the right attitude and understand that they have a ton to prove,” said Sharon head coach Dave Morse.
Stoughton didn’t have the season it wanted in terms of record, but the Black Knights were competitive in just about every game last year and are hoping to get back in the hunt for the Davenport crown this year.
Despite finishing 4-7, Stoughton beat both Davenport champions in North Attleboro (21-10) and Canton (28-7 on Thanksgiving) during the year. If the Black Knights are able to string together those type of performances throughout the year, they will definitely be competing for their first division crown since 2015. Offensively, Stoughton has a good battle at quarterback with junior John Burke and senior Clayton Rahaman. Both saw time last year so head coach Greg Burke has two experienced options to start under center. The offensive line should be a strength for Stoughton with a good group of seniors that includes Oluwole Fabikun, Jaden McCall, Carlvin LaGuerre, and Jerry Brisson. Having a strong and experienced line will set things up nicely for the Black Knights strong run game, which will feature Savion Scott, Christopher Ais, and Christian Ais. Tight end Anthony Pizzano, junior Jake Queeney, and track star David Peters will provide options in the pass game.
Stoughton is often known for its defense and will be looking for that to continue during the 2019 season. Kelven Rodrigues will be a big part of the defensive line for the Black Knights, joined by Brisson, LaGuerre, and Fabikun. Georges had a very strong season on the end last season but will mostly line up as a linebacker this year, alongside Scott and Christopher Ais. Stoughton will have a hard hitting secondary once again this season with Burke, Pizzano, Christian Ais and Kamari Grant all likely to see time.
“We hope to stay healthy and be competitive in the league, all of our athletes improved their strength and conditioning,” Burke said. “We have many juniors also playing and will be a big part of the team. We will need help from all players and try to improve depth.”
King Philip senior Sam Callanan could be poised for a breakout season as a vital piece of the Warriors’ defense. The bar has been set for the three-time defending South Sectional champs but King Philip did graduate a good amount of its top players from last year’s defensive unit. Callanan will bring experience to the King Philip defensive group and, as a captain, will be relied upon for his leadership both on and off the field. Last year, Callanan had a lot of success coming off the edge, using his speed to get past the offensive line and be disruptive in the backfield. He does a nice job of reading the play and using his speed to track down the play. He’s a versatile player that does a nice job in coverage as well, giving the Warriors some flexibility on defense.
Taunton senior defensive lineman Woudanly Danger lives up to his name, giving the Tigers a force at the line of scrimmage that opposing quarterbacks and ball carriers need to watch out for on every play. Danger had 30 tackles and three sacks from his tackle position, despite regularly facing double teams and blocking schemes designed to try and contain him. He also had 9-1/2 tackles for loss, helping the Tigers finish 2018 with a winning record and build momentum for a run at a playoff spot this fall. Strong and quick, Danger brings his wrestling background to the gridiron, finding ways to gain leverage, clog holes, and get into the backfield. With Danger back in the middle of the line, Taunton’s defense has a solid foundation and could be the strength of the team this season.
Canton senior Kyle Fitzgerald could easily have been on the Players to Watch list for offense as well because the running back and defensive back had a breakout season on both sides of the ball to help the Bulldogs secure a share of the league title for the first time in nearly three decades. Fitzgerald’s speed and his versatility made him a weapon on offense (16 touchdowns), but also made him a tenacious member of the Canton secondary. He recorded 41 tackles, had two interceptions, and recovered a pair of fumbles. A ballhawk, who gives the Bulldogs a solid cover guy on the corner but who can also step up and stop the run, Fitzgerald will be a key to Canton’s defense this season and one of the reasons that the Bulldogs have confidence that they can win back-to-back titles for the first time since winning a fifth straight in 1981.
Foxboro’s Anton George seemed to play better and better throughout the 2018 campaign and will be looking to carry that into 2019 for the Warriors. A HockomockSports.com Hock 5 selection for defensive line, George is a disrupter and we mean that in a good way. He had 62 tackles last season, including five sacks and 11 quarterback hurries — simply put, he was a handful to deal with. He forced a pair of fumbles and deflected a pair of passes as well. A captain this year, George will be looking to anchor Foxboro back to the playoffs. The combination of speed and size helps set him apart from others and makes him a tough matchup for opposing tackles.
The term playmaker is often used when talking about players on the offensive side of the ball, but Stoughton junior Christian Georges does it on the defensive end. Georges made a big splash as a sophomore, playing mostly as a defensive end but also a little time at outside linebacker. He has the strength to power his way past opponents but is also a very quick player and can use his speed to get around. That combination made him a tough match-up last season as he recorded 58 tackles (including 20 for a loss), six sacks, eight pass deflections, and a fumble recovery. He will likely line up at linebacker this season so the Black Knights will rely on him heavily to continue to make plays. He does a great job of tracking the play and then coming up to make the play. Stoughton is typically known for its defense and Georges could be one of the top players in that group.
Mansfield junior lineman TJ Guy, the 2018 HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year, returns on the edge of the Hornets defensive line after a dominant first season on varsity. Guy, who was also in the running for Underclassman of the Year in basketball, had 30 tackles, including 10 solo stops, and was second on the team with seven tackles for loss. His quickness and athleticism at defensive end allowed him to set the edge, take up blockers, and open spaces for Mansfield’s talented linebacking corps. He was also part of an offensive line that opened up holes for the Mansfield ground game, which amassed more than 2,600 yards last season. With expectations sky-high at Alumni Field this fall, Guy is one of the main reasons that this Hornets defensive unit is drawing rave reviews.
One of the premier linebackers in the state, Mansfield senior Vinnie Holmes will close out his record-breaking career with the Hornets as one of the leading candidates for MVP in the Kelley-Rex division this season. Holmes has already eclipsed the 200-tackle mark for his two-year varsity career, was named the 2017 HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year, and has developed into a sideline-to-sideline presence for the Hornets defense. He is one of those players who seems to be in the middle of every play, no matter where on the field it ends up. Holmes had 92 tackles as a junior, including 41 solo, and led Mansfield with 10 tackles for loss. He added three sacks and a pair of fumble recoveries, not to mention eight touchdowns as a running back. Opposing offenses know that they have to account for Holmes, one of the top defensive playmakers in the league, on every single play, and his tenacity drives one of the league’s most complete defensive units.
If you go to a Milford football game this year, one name you’re probably going to hear a lot from the announcer is Luke Rosa. A two-way starter, Rosa was one of the Hawks’ top players last season and earned captain this year. On the defensive side, Rosa lines up at linebacker and is at his best when he’s attacking the ball carrier. He reads the offense really well and does a nice job of finding the gap and is among the top tacklers in the league. Even if it looks like there’s someone to block for the back, Rosa has shown the ability to fight through the first line and get to either the back or quarterback. Offensively, he’s one of the more versatile backs in the league and does everything well. He has great vision with the ball in his hands and can also sneak out and catch a pass in the screen game. Look for Rosa to have a big year on both sides of the ball this year.
Attleboro junior linebacker Michael Strachan is the rare football player who has been on varsity since his freshman season. He enters his second year as a starter in the Bombardiers defense as a highly-recruited prospect and as the team’s leading tackler from 2018. Strachan led Attleboro with more than 80 stops last season and is poised for an even bigger year in the middle of an experienced corps of linebackers. He is also a dangerous weapon at tight end for the Attleboro offense, taking advantage of his size and athleticism to create matchup challenges for opponents. The Bombardiers didn’t finish 2018 the way that they would have hoped, but with Strachan back in the middle behind a big defensive line, Attleboro will be hoping to replicate the 4-1 start they had last year and the meager five points per game that they allowed during that dominant stretch.
Franklin senior linebacker Evan Wertz has been a dominant presence in the heart of the Panthers defense, having already set program records by racking up huge tackle totals every week. Wertz had 122 tackles in 11 games last season (a remarkable 11 per game), including 45 solo stops and 10 tackles for loss. He can also drop into coverage, recording three pass breakups and an interception. Just like Mansfield’s Vinnie Holmes, wherever the ball goes Wertz is there, ranging from sideline to sideline and covering as much ground as any linebacker in the Hock. The Panthers nearly stunned powerhouse Xaverian in the playoffs last season and that has ramped up the momentum and expectations coming into this year. With Wertz leading the defense, Franklin will hope that they can push for the Kelley-Rex title and another long tournament run.
CANTON, Mass. – Stoughton senior Jeff Grier was mostly a spectator during last year’s Thanksgiving game against rival Canton, a game the Bulldogs ran away with.
After not getting a carry on the holiday as a junior, Grier wanted to make the most of his opportunity this time around.
The senior delivered, and in a big way. Grier had 15 carries for 211 yards and scored three touchdowns to pace the Black Knights to a 28-7 win over the Bulldogs in the 93rd annual meeting on Thanksgiving.
“This felt great,” Grier said. “I didn’t play last year so this is my first real Thanksgiving game. Senior year, my last game, I just went out there and did my best, did what I could to help the team. Coming into today, we really wanted to bring [the trophy] back home and that’s what we did.”
Grier entered his final season as the top home run threat type running back in the Hockomock, capable of breaking off a big play on any carry. But injuries hampered his season, and Stoughton head coach Greg Burke said Thursday morning was the first time his starting running back was fully healthy all season.
“We played hard today, Grier got going – this is the first week he’s been healthy, and he’s a great kid,” Burke said. “The line played well, we don’t have the biggest line but they are tough, we have some tough kids.
“The kids wanted that trophy back so bad after we lost it last year.”
The teams were tied 7-7 at halftime before Grier went off in the second half with three unanswered scores to lead the way.
It took the Stoughton offense very little time to take its first lead of the game. After receiving the kick off to begin the second half, the Black Knights needed just two plays. On 2nd and 13, Grier came across the formation on a counter, found a small hole, burst through it and raced his way to a 66-yard touchdown. Josh Cocchi made all four of his extra points on the day, this one putting Stoughton up 14-7 with 10:02 left in the third quarter.
Canton’s offense took the field and looked primed to respond with a strong drive of their own. Highlighted by a 20-yard run from Kyle Fitzgerald (10 carries, 49 yards), the Bulldogs moved to the Stoughton 25-yard line.
But Stoughton’s defense clamped down, holding Canton to a short gain on first down, getting an incomplete pass on second down, and Savion Scott coming up with a big sack on third down. The Black Knights forced a turnover on downs with an incomplete pass on fourth.
The Black Knights offense went back to work, using a strong ground game to move up the field. Christian Ais (65 all purpose yards) had a 19 yard run and Alex Iverson followed with 15 more yards to get to the Canton 33-yard line.
On second down, sophomore quarterback John Burke (3-for-3, 68 yards) connected with Christopher Ais for 16 yards. On the next play, Grier fought his way through a tackle and found the end zone on an 18-yard carry. Stoughton led 21-7 with 1:45 left in the third quarter.
“We’ve played hard the last couple of weeks, we’ve just turned the ball over too many times,” Burke said. “We’ve played some tough teams this year, we’ve been up and down. I’m just happy for these guys that we finished strong today, it’s really rewarding for all they’ve been through this year.
“That’s a good Canton team, I don’t want to see them next year but I know we will. I love Dave [Bohane] and all of his guys, they are great coaches. It’s just phenomenal for the town of Stoughton and all of they’ve gone through.”
Stoughton’s defense forced a three and out but Canton’s defense answered with the same, with Brendan Albert coming up with a big nine-yard tackle for loss on third down to force a Stoughton punt.
The Black Knights’ defense didn’t allow Canton’s offense to get going at all, with Evan Jackman and Jacob Brisson combining to stop a runner for no gain on second down, and Christian Georges batting down a third-down pass at the line of scrimmage to force a punt.
Stoughton’s next offensive possession was short lived as Albert came from behind to knock the ball free and the Bulldogs recovered. But on the first play of the ensuing drive, Canton junior quarterback Johnny Hagan was picked off on a deep pass by Stoughton junior Anthony Pizzano with 6:00 left in the game.
“We kept those guys in check, they’ve been running all over people,” Burke said. “We did well today [on defense]. We kept it simple, used our simplest defense. We had to make sure that [Hagan] doesn’t kill you. We had a couple of spies on him every play, you have to. He’s a guy where nothing is happening on a play and all of a sudden he’s in the end zone.
Facing a 3rd and 14 at its own 28, Stoughton elected to keep the ball on the ground to kill more clock but Grier was able to turn the corner and get up field and no one was able to catch him as he sprinted for a 72-yard score and a 28-7 lead with 4:34 to play.
Canton scored the first touchdown of the day. After punting on the opening drive, the Bulldogs got the ball back after stopping Stoughton’s offense and fake punt attempt. Canton took advantage of the short field and on fourth down, Hagan hit Fitzgerald for a 30-yard touchdown. Owen Lehane’s extra point made it 7-0 with 9:20 left in the first quarter.
Stoughton tied the game late in the first half. After stalling on its first two drives, the Black Knights went to the air to get things going offensively. Burke hit Christian Ais out of the backfield for a 48-yard pass, down to the 1-yard line. From there, Burke pushed it in himself and tied the game 7-7 with 1:45 left in the second quarter.
“I’m just really happy for the kids,” Burke said. “They sucked it up and it was a great way to finish the year.”
Stoughton football finishes the season 4-7 while Canton closes out 2018 with an 8-3 record.
NORTH EASTON, Mass. – When the final whistle sounded at Stonehill College’s WB Mason Stadium, Milford had no idea whether or not it had done enough to secure a spot in the Div. 3 South playoffs but Hawks coach Anthony Vizakis was sure that they had done all they could on Friday night.
“These kids never quit,” Vizakis said. “A couple of weeks ago the seniors took it upon themselves to take control of the ship and steer it and they’ve done a really good job of getting the team to where they wanted to go. I can’t say enough about that group right there.”
Milford closed out its regular season with a come from behind, 18-15 win at division rival Stoughton in a game that felt like the postseason for both teams. At the start of the night, unofficially, the Black Knights held the final spot in the South bracket with Milford a spot behind and now both teams will have to wait and see how this result impacts the MIAA’s formula.
For the Hawks, it is a third straight win after losing the opening four games of the season. Senior Brendan White, who scored a touchdown, intercepted a pass, and recovered a fumble against the Black Knights, admitted that Friday’s win meant a lot to the upperclassmen.
“It really means a lot to these guys,” White said. “We’ve been through everything together going back to middle school. The way we responded, the way we came back from the hole we dug ourselves into, really shows how good this group of guys is and how Milford football culture is coming back.”
Milford knew it needed a win to have any shot at the postseason and the Hawks had several opportunities to get off to a great start and take the lead in the first half.
Shapel Feaster intercepted John Burke on third down on Stoughton’s first possession, returning it to the Black Knights 33. But the Hawks failed to take advantage. Four plays later, Colby Pires’ fourth down pass to Brendan White fell incomplete and the hosts took back over.
Stoughton was held without a first down on its first three possessions, while the Hawks drove into Black Knights territory on each of the first three times they had the ball. Each time, Milford saw its drive stall, including a touchdown that was called back due to a block in the back penalty.
On the third drive, Sean Lehane (four catches, 70 yards) lined up a 42-yard field goal attempt. The Black Knights blocked the kick with enough force that it ricocheted all the way to the Milford 30 where Christian Georges pounced on it.
Despite having only 13 yards of offense to that point, Stoughton found itself with a chance to take the lead. On third and seven, Burke (9-16, 111 yards) rolled out to the near sideline and he found Alex Iverson open. The senior running back turned and bowled his way through a couple of would-be tacklers for a 26-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead.
It was the one of only two first downs that Stoughton would get in the first half.
The Hawks needed a spark and finally put together a complete drive right before halftime. Pires (13-22, 183 yards) hit Hugo Lopes for a 30-yard gain to get things started. He then connected with Lehane on a bubble screen for 40 yards down to the one, where Jeff Grier hustled to make the touchdown-saving tackle. On the next play, Pires found Feaster wide open for the touchdown. The extra point was blocked and Stoughton went into the break ahead 7-6.
The Hawks started the third quarter by driving into Stoughton territory but were forced to punt. The Black Knights finally looked to get something going on offense when Burke was able to find Iverson, despite being hit by Josh Ligor, for a 28-yard gain. On fourth down, Burke’s pass was picked off by White to end the drive.
After another Milford punt, Stoughton turned the ball over for the third time. Again it was White that made the play, diving in to recover a botched hand-off at the Black Knights 19. Three plays later, Pires slipped a pass to White underneath the coverage and he dove into the end zone for Milford’s first lead, 12-7.
“That kid…he’s just heart and soul,” Vizakis said about White. “He gives every single thing he has every day and that kid is the definition of a tough football player and a great leader.”
Trailing for the first time on the night, Stoughton put together its best drive. The Black Knights marched 75 yards on 10 plays, mixing up the run and pass and getting Burke outside the pocket. Grier (11 carries, 56 yards) got it going with a 20 yard sweep and a pass interference call on a third down bomb helped keep the drive alive. Christopher Ais would give Stoughton back the lead when he found a seam on the left side and scored from 12 yards out.
Burke rolled to the near sideline and threw a strike to Malachi Green-Hightower, who just managed to keep his feet inbounds, for the two-point conversion and a 15-12 lead with 5:20 to play.
The Milford offense had been struggling at the start of the season, but scored 40-plus points in each of its last two games and seemed to have turned a corner.
The offense came through again in the fourth quarter, going 64 yards on seven plays in just under four minutes to earn the victory. Lucas Rosa (13 carries, 63 yards) had a run of 14 to get the ball to midfield and then Pires went deep to Feaster for 27 yards on the right sideline. After Rosa went 21 yards on two carries, Milford had the ball at the one. Ryan Pearl came off the bench and ran two sneaks to get the ball across for the score.
Vizakis said, “They scored, we expected them to score a few touchdowns tonight, but we also expected to score some more points at the end. That’s a great football team over there…but our kids don’t quit.”
Stoughton had 1:40 left to try and salvage the win. On third and six from his own 33, Burke looked deep down the sideline to Ajahn Rue and the junior receiver went up with Feaster. Both players came down with the ball, but the Milford defensive back ripped possession away, earning his second interception of the night and sealing the win.
“Clutch, clutch,” Vizakis said about Feaster. “He’s the emotional leader and just does the right things at the right time. Talk about a kid who’s overcome adversity in his own life to come out and play football with his friends on Friday nights, you can’t ask for much more than that.”
White added, “I think it was just our attitude from the beginning of the game. We had an attitude that we’re the best team on the field. Stoughton is a really good team and they played really hard but I think we just won the battle tonight.”
Milford (3-4, 3-2) and Stoughton (3-4, 2-3) will now wait and see how the playoff standings work out. The MIAA will announce its official brackets this weekend.