Stoughton Shines In Long Awaited Return Home

Stoughton football
Oliver Ames quarterback Jake Grimaldi throws a pass after being hit by Stoughton’s Christian Georges (20) and Christopher Ais. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 STOUGHTON, Mass. – A true home game has been a long time coming for the Stoughton football team.

Forced to board a bus and travel for the past three seasons during the construction of the new high school and surrounding campus, Stoughton finally returned home on Friday night.

Even though it was months after originally scheduled and in front of a smaller crowd, both due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Black Knights put on a show in their first home game since 2016.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

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.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

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.

Football: 2020 (Fall II) Davenport Division Preview

2020 (Fall II) Davenport Division Preview
North Attleboro quarterback Tyler DeMattio (6) runs away from the Foxboro defense during the 2019 season. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2019 Davenport Football Preview

Canton

2019 Record: 10-1 (Davenport division champions)
2019 Finish: Reached D5 South Final (Davenport Division Champions)
Coach: Anthony Fallon

Key/Returning Players: Matt Connolly, Sr., OL/DL; Cam Sanchez, Sr., RB/DB; Jack Albert, Sr., WR/DB; Carson Campbell, Sr., OL/DE;

Outlook:
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.”

2020 (Fall II) Davenport Division Preview

Foxboro

2019 Record: 5-6
2019 Finish: Reached D5 South Semifinal
Coach: Jack Martinelli

Key/Returning Players: Jon Moses, Sr., DE; Sean Ferguson, Sr., OC; Mike Norvish, Sr., LB; Chris McNamara, Sr., RB; Luis Sulham, Sr., WR; Dylan Kerrigan, Sr., OG; James Stamatos, Sr., OLB; James Kraus, Sr., SS; Rashaad Way, Jr., WR/CB;

Outlook:
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.




2020 (Fall II) Davenport Division Preview

North Attleboro

2019 Record: 4-7 (Davenport Division Champions)
2019 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Don Johnson

Key/Returning Players: Jared Penta, Sr., SLOT/DB/PR; Jacob Silva, Sr., TE/LB; Harry Bullock, Sr., OG/DE; Matt Penta, Sr., SE/DB; Tyler DeMattio, Jr., QB/K; Robbie Donovan, Sr., TE/DE; Alex McCoy, Sr., SLOT/DB; Jared Vacher, Jr., OG/DE; Danny Hayes, Sr., OT/DT; Colby Feid, Sr., SE/DB; Tommy Whalen, Sr., SLOT/LB;

Outlook:
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

2019 Record: 4-7
2019 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Ed DeWitt

Key/Returning Players: Jadon Ricci, Sr., RB/DB; Gavin Morrison, Sr., OL/DL; Max Tower, Sr., OL/LB; Dante Cocivera, Sr.,OL/DL; Jaden Krowski, Sr., DB; Colin Williamson, Jr., RB/DB; Chad Silva, Soph., RB/LB;

Outlook:
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.




2020 (Fall II) Davenport Division Preview

Sharon

2019 Record: 0-11
2019 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Dave Morse

Key/Returning Players: Nico Marrero, Sr., RB/LB; Ike Ogbonnanze, Sr., WR/LB; Kiran Chandrasekaran, Sr., QB; Owen Conway, Sr., WR/DB; Shea Letendre, Sr., C/MLB; PJ McManus, Sr., WR/DB/K; Conor McLaughlin, Sr., WR;

Outlook:
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

2019 Record: 8-3
2019 Finish: Reached D3 South Quarterfinals
Coach: Greg Burke

Key/Returning Players: Christopher Ais, Sr., RB/LB; Christian Ais, Sr., RB/DB; Christian Georges, Sr., HB/DE; John Burke, Sr., QB/DB; Jake Queeney, Sr., WR/DB; Sproul Derolus, Sr., OL/DL;

Outlook:
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.”

2020 (Fall II) Davenport Division Preview