CANTON, Mass. – Stoughton coach Greg Burke said that his team liked to play “ugly and tough,” but on Friday night at World War II Veterans Memorial Field, against rival Canton, the Black Knights showed flashes of pretty football too, scoring 42 points and totaling four touchdowns of more than 60 yards apiece.
Canton scored a couple of touchdowns late in the fourth quarter, but Stoughton rolled to a 42-22 victory that keeps it just a half-game back of North Attleboro in the Davenport division title race with two more league games to play (North plays Saturday at Sharon).
“That’s Black Knight football right there,” said Burke after the game. “It isn’t pretty, but I like it. I don’t care, I like the way we’re playing. That’s how we play. Our team wants to be ugly and tough.”
The opening kick-off bounced a couple times before the Black Knights covered it at their own 13-yard-line, but it took only one play to get on the board. An inside trap to fullback Justin Ly broke for 87 yards down the Stoughton sideline to make it 7-0. Canton answered back on one play of its own. Tony Harris took an end around and raced 65 yards down the Bulldogs sideline to tie the game.
Two plays from scrimmage, two touchdowns, and only 44 seconds had elapsed.
Canton was forced to punt on its second possession and Thomas Monagle drove Ryan Sullivan all the way back to his own 14, but the senior running back made the catch and then broke up field, splitting the coverage and putting Stoughton back on top with an 86-yard return.
“Personnel-wise we’re not very deep,” said Canton coach Dave Bohane about the punt coverage, “and we try to get guys off the field but even with guys like [Brian] Smith and Jude Albert we’ve had trouble the last two weeks on punt return. We’ll continue to work at it but it’s disappointing and disturbing to see two weeks in a row.”
Burke praised Sullivan for his ability to break open a game. He said, “He’s just phenomenal. He’s not only the nicest kid in America, he makes plays. He was sort of a skinny, little kid before and now he’s getting to be a grown man. His best days are ahead of him.”
Early in the second quarter, Stoughton struck again, this time through the air. On third and 14, sophomore quarterback Evan Gibb (3-5, 84 yards) saw busted coverage on the right side and hit a wide open Izon Swain-Price for a 60-yard touchdown.
“They put a lot of guys up at the line to take away the run and they did,” said Burke, “but you can hit a couple of passes and Izon had a couple long ones, but that’s Izon for you. You’ve got to be able to throw a couple play action and we did.”
Bohane admitted, “We just couldn’t give them easy ones and we did. Usually against Stoughton we make them earn everything. Tonight was a number of big plays…but they’re very good.”
With two minutes left until halftime, the Black Knights extended the lead. A nine-play, 52-yard drive, which included a five-yard scramble and dump off pass from Gibb to Sullivan to convert a fourth down, was finished off by Sullivan from three yards out for his second TD of the game.
While the Stoughton offense was making big plays, the defense was also controlling the game, particularly at the line of scrimmage with Andrew Iverson, Jason Joseph, and David Cellucci in on seemingly every play.
On the third play of the second half, Iverson hit Canton quarterback Dan Dillon to force a fumble that was recovered by Ryan Pierre at the Bulldogs 24. After an offsides call against Canton, Gibb threw his second touchdown of the game, hitting Jack Connelly for a 19-yard score. Cellucci, the holder on extra points, fielded a high snap and ran in the two-point conversion.
“He’s playing good, “ said Burke of Gibb. “He’s a young kid and we just have to protect him; he’s a sophomore, you can’t let him run around. Eventually he’ll be the fourth running back.”
Swain-Price (three carries, 112 yards) put an exclamation point on the game when it looked as though the Black Knights were buried deep in their own end. He cut inside on a sweep to the left and broke free for a 94-yard touchdown that made it 42-7.
Dillon had stepped in for Canton to replace Dennis Ross, who was unavailable for the game, and he was able to get the offense moving late in the fourth quarter. Despite the deficit, the Bulldogs kept fighting and put together a 12-play, 75-yard drive that featured carries from Dillon, Dan Alice, Mike Marino, and Joe Mulkay, who finished it with an eight-yard option pitch for the score.
Alice broke the plane of the goal line for the conversion and Harris leapt above the Black Knights hands team to recover the onside kick. This drive was capped by Dillon, who punched it in from a yard out.
“I’m very proud of Dan,” said Bohane. “He comes down to practice every day and probably knew coming into his senior year that he didn’t expect to play much. It didn’t faze him, plays special teams, takes a lot of snaps, and he’s gotten his opportunity here.”
The win keeps Stoughton right behind current league leader North Attleboro, hoping that the Rocketeers could slip up in the final two weeks of league play. Burke explained, “Who knows what North’s doing, but we’re taking it one at a time and hopefully good things happen.”
Stoughton (3-2, 2-1) will host Foxboro next Friday night, while Canton (1-4, 0-3) could do the Black Knights a favor when it hosts North Attleboro.
Game of the Week – Football
King Philip, 20 @ Mansfield, 17 – Final 1st Quarter: No scoring.
2nd Quarter: (M) Diogo DeSousa 20 yard field goal; (KP) Brendan Lydon 25 yard pass to Sean Garrity, Matt Franz XP good.
3rd Quarter: (M) Nick Graham 50 yard rush, D. DeSousa XP good; (KP) Alex Olsen 2 yard rush, M. Franz XP good; (M) Anthony DeGirolamo 66 yard pass to Hunter Ferreira, D. DeSousa XP good.
4th Quarter: (KP) B. Lydon 1 yard rush, XP failed.
Taunton, 20 @ Attleboro, 37 – Final 1st Quarter: (A) Cam Furtado 2-yard rush, Paul Deluca XP Good.
2nd Quarter: (T) Noah Leonard 17-yard pass to Adam Mclaughlin, John Teixeira XP Good; (A) Marc Dieu 10-yard rush, P. Deluca XP good; (A) C. Furtado 24-yard rush, P. Deluca XP good; (T) N. Leonard 70-yard pass to A. Mclaughlin, J. Teixeira XP good.
3rd Quarter: (A) Tyler McGovern 11-yard rush, P. Deluca XP good.
4th Quarter: (A) Taunton fumble, Safety; (T) T.J. Mendes 2-yard rush, 2-point conversion failed; (A) T. McGovern 1-yard pass to Shane Hamerski, P. Deluca XP good.
Canton, 14 @ Foxboro, 21 – Final (OT) 1st Quarter: (C) Dennis Ross 55 yard rush, Thomas Monagle XP good.
2nd Quarter: (C) D. Ross 48 yard rush, T. Monagle XP good; (F) Mark Clagg 15 yard pass to Jamaine Few, XP good. (F) Trey Guerrini 60 yard punt return, XP good.
3rd Quarter: No scoring.
4th Quarter: No scoring.
Overtime: (F) M. Clagg pass to T. Guerrini, XP good.
Oliver Ames, 14 @ Franklin, 13 – Final 1st Quarter: No scoring.
2nd Quarter: (F) Jake Wolowacki 1 yard rush, Matt Zucco XP good; (OA) Anthony Berksza 27 yard rush, XP no good.
3rd Quarter: No scoring.
4th Quarter: (F) J. Wolowacki 2 yard rush, XP blocked; (OA) Liston Funai 5 yard rush, Kyle Gagliardi 2pt pass to Brandon Timulty.
Milford @ North Attleboro – Postponed to 10/2 at 5:00
Attleboro, 3 @ Taunton, 0 – Final – Attleboro freshman Mike Russo opened the scoring early in the first half for the visiting Bombardiers while Nick Lawrence potted a pair of goals in a short span in the second half.
North Attleboro @ Foxboro (@ Booth) – Postponed to 10/3 at 4:00
King Philip, 4 @ Franklin, 0 – Final – King Philip cashed in the first five minutes as junior Tyler Mann put the Warriors up in the fifth minute on an assist from Zac White. Colby Koch doubled KP’s lead in the 20th minute, on an assist from Jack Bush and then tripled the lead, converting a penalty kick that he earned just before halftime. Sophomore Tony Bozza added a fourth goal in the 50th minute off an assist from Koch.
Mansfield, 4 @ Oliver Ames, 1 – Final– Mansfield opened the scoring in the fifth minute, using a throw in from Max Gurnon to find Brendan Sullivan, who set up James Chotkowski for the goal. Just three minutes later, Kevin Bouck doubled Mansfield’s lead off a cross from Chotkowski. Oliver Ames pulled a goal back with Matt Alvarado scoring off an assist from Thomas McCormick but Mansfield added two more goals in the second half; one from Sam Hyland off a throw from Gurnon and one from Gurnon on a long-distance free kick. Jed Tolbert totaled eight saves in net. “The whole team played great team defense for the entire game,” Mansfield head coach Steve Sheridan said.
Milford @ Sharon – Postponed to 10/31
Taunton, 2 @ Attleboro, 1 – Final – Olivia Sweeney and Sam Tichelaar had goals for the Tigers, while Sweeney and Izzy DaCosta recorded assists.
Canton, 7 @ Stoughton, 1 – Final – Freshman Chinazo Odunze scored for Stoughton.
Foxboro @ North Attleboro – Postponed to 10/3 at 3:30
Franklin, 3 @ King Philip, 1 – Final – Miranda Smith, Halle Atkinson, and Molly Duncan (from the penalty spot) scored the goals for the Panthers. Lauren DeStefano had an assist in the win.
Oliver Ames, 0 @ Mansfield, 0 – Final – Click here for a recap of the game.
Sharon, 1 @ Milford, 1 – Final – Alex Rabb scored the goal for the Eagles, while Kristen Franzini scored for Milford, assisted by Juliana France.
Mansfield, 3 @ Sharon, 0 – Final – Mansfield picked up the sweep on the road at Sharon on Friday afternoon. Emily Kleber, Chloe Peters and Julia Harrison each had five kills for the Hornets while Peters added 10 service points and Harrison finished with 16 service points. Jacey Anderson added nine service points and Jess Haradon had 12 digs for Mansfield.
Oliver Ames, 3 vs. Ursuline, 1 – Final– Oliver Ames didn’t let a third set loss affect them, bouncing back for a big win in the fourth set to ice the match (25-22, 25-23, 22-25, 26-24). Katie Flynn led OA with eight kills and two assisted blocks. Bridget McCarthy added 33 assists and five aces, Alyssa Gavin had 18 digs, three assists and three aces, Emma Petrillo chipped in with 10 kills, four digs and two aces, Maya Fetcho added eight kills and Kayla Raymond finished with four blocks and 10 kills for OA.
Stoughton, 3 vs. Fontbonne, 1 – Final – Senior Riley Bagley and junior Val Whalen combined for over 25 kills to lead the Black Knights offensively. Senior Christina Gelin led Stoughton with over 30 digs. Stoughton head coach Erica Batchelder said junior Haley Stone had strong serving and provided a solid force in the back row.
Attleboro @ North Attleboro, 3:30
Franklin, 2 @ Canton, 3 – Final – Canton twice erased a one goal deficit and then took its first lead, Emily Campbell scoring the game-winner on a penalty stroke with six minutes to play. Franklin went up 1-0 on an unassisted goal from Annie Walsh and then 2-1 when Walsh scored again on a pass from Caroline Lounsbury.
Taunton, 0 @ Foxboro, 3 – Final
Mansfield @ Sharon – Postponed to TBD
Oliver Ames, 3 @ Milford, 1 – Final – Sydney Hedrick, Sarah Stevens and Kayla Lozzi each scored once for Oliver Ames while Kendall Clifford, Dimitra Efremidis and Cristina Boudreau each recorded an assist. Head coach Abby Tepper lauded the defensive effort of Katie Davenport and goalie Katie Vamosi.
King Philip @ Stoughton – Postponed to TBD
Mansfield, 172 @ Franklin, 169 – Final – Franklin’s Matt D’Errico shot a team-low round of 41 while Bryan Woelfel added a 42 and both Connor Norton and Matt Dao shot 43 to help the Panthers edge Mansfield. Brendan Loomer was the match medalist, shooting a low round of 38 for the Hornets while Jason Hindman carded a 41.
Game of the Week – Football
Foxboro, 0 @ King Philip, 21 – Final 1st Quarter: No scoring.
2nd Quarter: (KP) Brendan Lydon 2 yard rush, Cole Baker XP good.
3rd Quarter: (KP) B. Lydon 1 yard rush, C. Baker XP good.
4th Quarter: (KP) B. Lydon 1 yard rush, C. Baker XP good.
Attleboro, 7 @ Dartmouth, 31 – Final
Canton, 12 vs. Scituate, 30 – Final 1st Quarter: (S) Touchdown pass, XP good; (C) Alec Ragusa 5 yard rush, 2pt failed.
2nd Quarter: (S) Touchdown pass, XP good; (C) Dennis Ross 68 yard rush, 2pt failed, Scituate converts 2pt.
3rd Quarter: No scoring.
4th Quarter: (S) Touchdown pass, XP good.
Franklin, 7 @ Milford, 35 – Final 1st Quarter: No scoring.
2nd Quarter: (M) Blake Hill 13-yard rush, Sean Lehane XP good; (F) Jake Noviello 9-yard pass to Kinley Baird, K. Baird XP good.
3rd Quarter: (M) B. Hill 31-yard rush, S. Lehane XP good; (M) Asong Aminmentse 1-yard rush, S. Lehane XP good.
4th Quarter: (M) Matt Curran 11-yard pass to Tyler Joyce, S. Lehane XP good; (M) B. Hill 14-yard rush, S. Lehane XP good.
Mansfield, 34 @ Braintree, 10 – Final 1st Quarter: (M) Joe Cox 2 yard rush, Diogo DeSousa XP good.
2nd Quarter: (M) Anthony DeGirolamo 1 yard rush, D. DeSousa XP good; (M) A. DeGirolamo 15 yard pass to Hunter Ferreira; XP blocked, Braintree converts 2pt.
3rd Quarter: (M) A. DeGirolamo 1 yard rush, D. DeSousa XP good; (M) J. Cox 4 yard rush, D. DeSousa XP good.
4th Quarter: (B) Braintree 25 yard rush, 2pt rush good.
North Attleboro, 34 @ Bishop Feehan, 0 – Final 1st Quarter: (NA) Chad Peterson 6 yard rush, Geoff Wilson XP good; (NA) C. Peterson 52 yard pass to Bobby Mylod, G. Wilson XP good.
2nd Quarter: (NA) C. Peterson 7 yard pass to B. Mylod, XP no good; (NA) Nick Rajotte 27 yard rush, G. Wilson XP good.
3rd Quarter: (NA) Nick Raneri 4 yard rush, G. Wilson XP good.
4th Quarter: No scoring.
Oliver Ames, 21 vs. Silver Lake, 34 – Final 1st Quarter: (SL) Silver Lake 2 yard rush, XP good; (SL) Silver Lake 6 yard pass, XP no good.
2nd Quarter: (OA) Jay Fruci 1 yard rush, Anthony Berksza XP good.
3rd Quarter: (SL) Silver Lake 1 yard rush, 2pt failed; (SL) Silver Lake 25 yard pass, XP no good.
4th Quarter: (SL) Silver Lake 3 yard rush, XP good; (OA) Liston Funai 15 yard rush, Kyle Gagliardi 2pt pass to Brandon Timulty; (OA) L. Funai 3 yard rush, 2pt failed.
Sharon, 12 @ Cardinal Spellman, 7 – Final 1st Quarter: No scoring.
2nd Quarter: (CS) Cardinal Spellman 30 yard pass, XP good; (S) Drew Naisuler 56 yard pass to Austin Dodes, 2pt failed.
3rd Quarter: (S) Juvan Elisma 10 yard rush, 2pt failed
4th Quarter: No scoring.
Stoughton, 13 vs. Marshfield, 21 – Final 1st Quarter: (S) Justin Ly 1 yard rush, XP good.
2nd Quarter: (M) Brendan Ward 62 yard rush, XP good; (M) Jack McNeil 35 yard rush, XP no good.
3rd Quarter: (M) J. McNeil 32 yard rush, 2pt pass good.
4th Quarter: (S) Dave Cellucci 4 yard rush, 2pt failed.
Taunton, 0 vs. Durfee, 18 – Final 1st Quarter: No scoring.
2nd Quarter: No scoring.
3rd Quarter: (D) Durfee 20 yard rush, XP no good; (D) Durfee 7 yard rush, XP no good.
4th Quarter: (D) Durfee 20 yard fumble return off blocked punt, XP no good.
Sharon, 3 @ Attleboro, 1 – Final
Canton, 0 @ King Philip, 2 – Final – After a back and forth first half, King Philip assumed control in the second half. Thomas Lugten needed just three minutes to give the Warriors the lead early in the second half. Michael Rowe was tripped up in the area to draw a PK and junior Connor Mullins converted with less than 10 minutes to play to double the Warriors’ lead.
Foxboro, 1 @ Franklin, 2 – Final – Click here for a recap of the game.
Stoughton, 0 @ Mansfield, 2 – Final– Mansfield converted on a pair of first half chances to pick up the win over the visiting Black Knights. Brendan Sullivan put the home side in front in the 13th minute, converting a cross from Kevin Bouck. Sullivan then drew a penalty in the 39th minute and James Chotkowski buried it to make it 2-0. Jed Tolbert made six saves, recording his first career shutout. Head coach Steve Sheridan applauded the play of defenders Max Gurnon, Harry Braidt, Nick Hyland and Ethan Brill-Cass. Stoughton’s Brian Peoples had a strong performance, making his return for the Black Knights after an injury last season.
North Attleboro, 0 @ Oliver Ames, 0 – Final– Oliver Ames hit the post three times and North Attleboro cleared two more chances off the line as the two teams battled to a scoreless tie at Muscato Stadium.
Attleboro, 1 @ Sharon, 6 – Final – Ally Filipkowski and Alex Rabb both had hat tricks for the Eagles. Ally Steinberg and Anna Crosby both played well in midfield, according to Sharon coach Brad Furnival. Ashley Dame scored the goal for the Bombardiers.
Mansfield, 7 @ Stoughton, 1 – Final – Hannah Reiter scored three goals and added an assist for the Hornets. Mansfield also got two goals from Emma Oldow, while Emma Goulet and Sydney Mulkern each scored once. Emily Vigeant had a pair of assists in the win. Stoughton’s goal was scored by freshman Chinazo Odunze off of an assist from sophomore Cintia Khouzami. Stoughton head coach Tara Daniels also made note of the defensive play of Sarina Hutchinson and Emerson Sprague.
Oliver Ames, 3 @ North Attleboro, 0 – Final – Click here for a full recap of the game.
Foxboro, 0 @ Norton, 3 – Final
Mansfield, 0 @ Bishop Feehan, 3 – Final – Mansfield was unable to overcome a slow start, falling to Feehan 10-25, 20-25, 22-25. Jess Haradon had 18 digs, Meg hill had seven kills and five blocks and Julia Harrison had six kills and 10 digs for the Hornets.
Stoughton, 1 vs. Cardinal Spellman, 3 – Final– Stoughton senior captains Christina Gelin and Riley Bagley worked with Sophomore Mia Bennett to combine for over 70 digs.
King Philip, 2 @ Attleboro, 0 – Final– King Philip had 14 corners and 13 shots on goal in a dominate effort, scoring once in each half. Alli Meehan scored the game winner just over midway through the first half. Nicole Conner iced the game with just 3:30 left, scoring off a corner from Christina Hathaway. KP allowed just one corner in the game and didn’t allow a shot on net.
North Attleboro, 0 @ Canton, 3 – Final – Emily Campbell, Andrea McNeil and Maggie Wade each scored once in Canton’s win over North Attleboro.
Sharon, 0 @ Foxboro, 10 – Final – This was the 150th career win for Foxboro coach Melissa Bordieri.
Oliver Ames, 3 @ Franklin, 3 – Final– Franklin put up a pair of goals to go into halftime with a 2-0 lead but Oliver Ames came storming back in the second half. Brayden Downing opened the scoring off an assist from Cassie Ronan and Maddie Hinckley netted her first goal off a feed from Kayla Marshall to give the Panthers a 2-0 lead. Dimitra Efremidis brought OA back within one eight minutes into the second half and Kendall Clifford scored off a corner to tie the game. Dana Lewandowski put the Panthers back ahead midway through the second half off an assist from Maeve Ledwith but OA had an answer again. Liz Nuss scored on a breakaway with just over eight minutes to play to tie the game. Christina Lucini had four saves in net for Franklin while Katie Vamosi had a strong day in the cage for OA.
Milford, 0 @ Stoughton, 1 – Final – Jackie Evangelista scored the lone goal of the game for Stoughton off an assist by Mia Russell. Gianna Barbosa had the shutout in goal in her first varsity start.
Mansfield, 156 @ Canton, 146 – Final – Canton senior Matt Minichiello continued his strong start to 2016, earning match medalist honors at Blue Hills by carding a 34. Jack Goyetch shot 36, Danny Powers carded a 37 and Joey Vaughan chipped in with a 39 for the Bulldogs. Jason Hindman led Mansfield with a 35 while Brett Kessler added a 39 for the Hornets.
Franklin, 158 @ Medway, 169 – Final
Sharon, 173 @ King Philip, 160 – Final – Sebastian Ladoulis earned medalist honors, carding a low round of 38 for the Warriors. Jack Citarell shot a career-best 39 while freshman Nate Ihley impressed by carding a 40 on the day.
North Attleboro, 146 @ Oliver Ames, 139 – Final – In a one of the best matchups of the season, Oliver Ames edged North with the top eight players all coming in under 40. Junior Matt Kelley was the match medalist, carding a two-under pass round of 32 at Pine Oaks in Easton. Thomas Walsh shot one over par at 35 while Brady Allbritton and Ryan McGarry each had a round of 36. North Attleboro’s Robbie Congdon carded a one-under round of 33 while Dylan Kane and Thomas Puccio each shot 37 and David Colsanti finished with a round of 39.
Outlook: After falling victim to the playoff system’s alignment and just missing out on a postseason berth, Canton will be relying on a mix of experience and youth to try and get back to the state tournament under the new alignment.
Davenport division MVP and HockomockSports.com Player of the Year Jake Ragusa is off playing at Merrimack so that will be a major void for Canton to fill. However, the Bulldogs do return some players in key spots that will help them out of the gates. Senior Anthony Ross is back under center and could see an expanded role in 2016. Dan Alice is back after suffering an injury last season and should lead a stable of running backs, led by fullback Alec Ragusa. Joe Mulkay, Dan Pierre, Tony Harris and Mike Marino should all factor into the offense as well for Canton.
Defensively, Canton has some experience on the line in Brian Smith, who also plays as a tackle on offense, as well as Mark Whalen, who saw valuable minutes last year, and Ben Paolillo. Alec Ragusa will be the anchor in the linebacking corps alongside Thomas Monagle (also the team’s kicker) and Marino. Harris, Alice and Mulkay figure to be important pieces in the Bulldogs’ secondary this year.
“The kids have a strong work ethic and had a good offseason and now a good preseason,” head coach Dave Bohane said. “I think we’ll be strong up front on both sides and we have kids in key spots with experience.”
Outlook: Coming off the program’s first league title since 2010, the Foxboro Warriors are hoping to stay near the top of the Davenport division again this year. And with one of the top returning quarterbacks in Mark Clagg under center for another year, the Warriors will likely be in the thick of the division race.
Clagg threw for nine touchdowns last season, third most among returning quarterbacks. After splitting some time with Darren Kelly last year, it looks like it was be Clagg’s spot full time in 2016. Another positive for having Clagg back is the experienced wide receivers he will have to work with. Jamaine Few is a big, experienced target at 6’3 and will be a tough one on one matchup for defensive backs. Trey Guerrini also has experience with Clagg while Phil Dure and John Whitehouse could be viable options as well. Foxboro will have to fill the void at running back, after the stability of Ronnie Martin and Keeyon Neal in previous years. Eseosa Omuemu, Matt Mullally and Anthony Capachietti are all possible choices to start in the backfield.
Defensively, the Warriors will rely upon experience in the linebacking and defensive back corps. Junior Matt Pond and senior Brandon Corey will be key cogs among the linebackers while Paul Darcy and Guerrini will be key pieces in the Warriors’ secondary. Foxboro will look to develop solid options on both the offensive and defensive lines.
“As always, the senior leadership plays a key role in the success of the 2016 campaign,” head coach Jack Martinelli said.
Outlook: The Scarlet Hawks have posted back-to-back 7-4 seasons and are hoping to continue their winning ways in 2016. With 11 starters returning, Milford is on the right track to do so.
It all starts with Yale-commit Blake Hill, who will be a top player on both offense and defense this season. Offensively he can hurt you in many ways, including running with the ball or catching passes. Hill will have some space to run thanks to an experienced offensive line that includes Riley Burns, Ryan Gray and Pat Brogioli. Junior Matt Curran will take over under center for the Scarlet Hawks and will have Jack Cappelletti, Tony Mobilia and Tyler Joyce as pass catching options to work with.
Defensively, Hill is one of the top linebackers in the league. He’ll be flanked by Harrison Bliss, Asong Aminmentse and Joyce. Burns, Gray and Brogioli will all be two-way linemen for the Scarlet Hawks. Shapel Feaster, who will also see touches on offense, will be in the secondary along with Alec Salamone, Mobilia and Cappelletti.
Outlook: As with any defending league champion, the North Attleboro Rocketeers will have some holes they’ll have to fill this year. But Big Red also has a slew of talented, experienced players back as North Attleboro looks to make a splash in its first season in the Davenport division.
Junior Chad Peterson is back under center after a breakout sophomore season in which he tossed 13 touchdowns, second most in the Hockomock League. While Kelley-Rex MVP Nick Morrison has graduated, North Attleboro returns Bobby Mylod and Nick Rajotte, who will give the Rocketeers a variety of attacking options. Thomas Reynolds will anchor the offensive line from the center position while Peterson will look for Hacmoni Cuevas, David Engler, Mario Bresko and Nick Dean to emerge as receiving threats.
It will be a lot of the same faces making plays on the defensive side of the ball. Reynolds and senior Tom Kummer are two major pieces and will take up the center of the defensive line. Mylod emerged as one of the top linebackers in the Hockomock and in the state last season and will be complemented at the position by Ryan Kingston, Zach DeMattio and Cuevas. Rajotte and Kyle McCarthy both had solid years in the secondary last season and will be big pieces to the defensive puzzle again this season.
“It’s going to be an interesting year switching to the Davenport division,” head coach Don Johnson said. “It certainly isn’t going to be any easier.”
Outlook: A lot of the players listed as key and returning players for Sharon this season were also on last year’s list, and that’s a good thing for the Eagles, who are looking to take the next step forward in 2016.
Junior Drew Naisuler will step into the starting role at quarterback and will have some weapons at his disposal right away. Running back Juvan Elisma had a stellar 2015 campaign as a junior, rushing for eight touchdowns – tied for fourth most in the Hockomock League and tied for second in the Davenport. Now Elisma will look to cap a strong football career at Sharon by leading an Eagles’ rushing attack that will likely include junior Sam Spencer as well. Naisuler will have an experienced receiver as Josh Rotman is back for another year while junior Austin Dodes figures to be another target this season.
“Our season will be decided by how physical we can be and if our new varsity players can step up and make an impact,” head coach Dave Morse said.
The Eagles will also bring back some experience on both sides of the line. Nate Hirsh has been a key cog of the line on both sides of the ball for the Eagles. Ian Langol-Leonard and Wilhelm Bolt also will likely be key experience pieces up front for Sharon. Defensively, Rotman also is back as a talented defensive back. Xavier Hackett is another name to keep an eye on, as the senior has been able to make plays for Sharon in the past and looks to do more of the same in 2016.
Outlook: No matter what team, it’s always going to be difficult to replace a three year starter at quarterback. But with the talented offensive line Stoughton has back this season and senior Dave Cellucci taking over under center, the Black Knights’ offense is in good shape.
The offensive line returns starters Lino Azul, Ryan Pierre and Andrew Iverson while Harry Kimball and Brendan Walsh – who both started on the defensive line – will play on both sides of the ball now. That experience will help give Cellucci a little more time in the pocket when he’s called upon to throw. Meanwhile, Ryan Sullivan, Izon Swain-Price and Justin Ly all figure to be key pieces in the backfield. Sullivan and Swain-Price caused havoc for defenses last season with a combined 10 rushing touchdowns. Swain-Price will also be a receiving option while Jack Connelly is back for another year at tight end.
Stoughton will look to continue its tradition of having a staunch defense. The Black Knights have depth on the defensive line with Pierre, Azul and Kimball all seeing time there along with junior Jason Joseph. Iverson, Ly and Connelly will all see reps at linebacker and Sullivan and Izon Swain-Price will likely be two of the top defensive backs in the entire league.
“We hope to stay healthy and get into the playoffs,” head coach Greg Burke said. “This has been a great group in the weight room and conditioning, that will have to carry us in the league. We know it will be a tough league this year.”
By Ryan Lanigan, Editor-in-Chief
CANTON, Mass. – For the third straight year, the Thanksgiving trophy is headed back to 232 Pearl Street. Stoughton scored a pair of touchdowns in each half to pick up a 26-13 win over Canton on Thursday morning in the 90th annual holiday meeting between the two neighboring rivals.
Stoughton senior Jake Gibb capped a tremendous career for the Black Knights, throwing three touchdowns, including two in the second half.
Gibb tossed a touchdown to Izon Swain-Price on the opening drive of the game and linked up with the junior again late in the fourth quarter to secure the Black Knights’ third straight win on the holiday and avenge an overtime loss to the Bulldogs in the regular season.
“I was really happy with the line, I think we moved the ball when we had to and we had a couple of nice passes,” Stoughton head coach Greg Burke said. “Canton’s tough, they come at you hard. [Jake Ragusa] is one hell of a player, I’m glad I don’t have to see him again that’s for darn sure. Hats off to them. All I know is that the turkey will taste good today.
“We knew it would be a tough game, they’re a good team. There’s a reason they have won six games. I know the turkey will taste good today. Everybody talks about having to play the same team twice but I think it adds to the second game. I don’t care what anybody says, it really does. You get good crowds and the games are close.”
A squib kick to start the game set the Black Knights up at their own 41 yard line and five plays later, the Black Knights took the lead. Facing 4th and 8 from the 35 yard line, Gibb connected with Swain-Price on the right sideline and he was able to turn up field and get into the end zone for a 7-0 lead.
“We worked on the pass plays all week,” Burke said. “They come at you but we pass blocked. I think Gibb only got sacked once so I’m happy with that. We had some good runs, we’re a different team with Swain-Price and [Ryan] Sullivan.”
Both defenses stood tall for the rest of the first quarter. The Bulldogs were forced to punt on each of their first three drives thanks to two big third down sacks from Guy Eddy. Canton’s defense was stout though as Stoughton sandwiched two punts around a lost fumble on their next three possessions.
Thomas Monagle’s punt pinned Stoughton at their own five yard line and after Canton’s defense held up, they took over at the Stoughton 40 yard line after a Black Knight punt. The Bulldogs took just five plays to find the end zone when Woanyen Mahn (13 carries, 68 yards) burst through a gap up the middle, shred a tackle and raced into the end zone to make it 7-7 with just over a minute to play in the first half.
Despite little time to work with and starting at their own five yard line, the Black Knights got some life right before the halftime break. On the first play, Christian Hill got around the edge on the left side and sprinted 87 yards to get to the Canton eight yard line. Two plays later, Eddy took the toss to the left and broke the plain while diving into the end zone to make it 14-7 with just 30 seconds left in the half.
Neither team was able to add points to the scoreboard in the third quarter. Stoughton turned it over on downs and had a punt while Canton punted and turned it over on a fumble.
The Black Knights took advantage of another turnover, this time when Steven Elice picked off Dennis Ross late in the third quarter. Gibb found Elice for a 24 yard gain on the first play of the drive to set up first and goal. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Gibb connected with Eddy out of the backfield for an 8 yard touchdown to go up 20-7.
Canton put together its best drive of the game and answered right way. The Bulldogs went 54 yards over 10 plays to pull within one score. Behind a strong rushing attack from Hockomock League Davenport MVP Jake Ragusa (24 carries, 126 yards), the Bulldogs found themselves facing a 4th down at the Stoughton two yard line. Canton coach Dave Bohane called Ragusa’s number and the senior muscled his way up the middle for a touchdown. Canton went for two but the Black Knights were able to make the stop, bringing the score to 20-13.
“We had a couple of big stops, fourth and one and third and two, we worked on that a lot. We knew they would give the ball to [Ragusa], why wouldn’t you? I’m just happy for the kids to finish with a winning record and to win the league this year. We’re very, very excited were we are.”
But Stoughton quickly answered again. On 2nd and 3rd from the Canton 37 yard line, Gibb went play action and floated a pass along the left sideline. Swain-Price, who came out of the backfield, turned on the jets and got underneath it and raced in untouched to make it 26-13 with just over four minutes to play.
“The linebacker blitzed on the outside and I’m just told to make the quick read and just get the ball out there and just let the running back make the play,” Gibb said. “We did that and got a nice score out of it. We have a bunch of athletes on this team that can make plays so you have respect all of them. When you fake with the play action, they have to step up and respect it and that opens up the passing game.”
It was a fitting way for Gibb, who has started under center for the black and orange since his sophomore year, to finish his career. Over three years, Gibb tossed 29 touchdowns, including nine his senior year. He almost didn’t have a chance to compete his senior season after suffering a shoulder injury in the first half of the first game against North Attleboro. After missing a couple of games, Gibb returned and each week has been able to do more.
“It’s been a rollercoaster ride,” Gibb said. “From thinking I was done for the season with a shoulder injury but guys picked me up the whole way. It’s great to be back and beat Canton today.”
“If you give him time, he can throw the ball,” Burke said. “He overcame a serious shoulder injury too. His arm is just coming back these last two weeks. He can throw as well as anyone in the state. We had a lot of play action and he’s very accurate. I’m happy for him, he’s a great kid and I hope he plays next year.”
Canton pushed to try and get within a score again but a host of Black Knights stuffed a fourth down attempt from the Stoughton 26 yard line to get the ball back.
“We got outhit the first game, absolutely,” Burke said of Canton’s overtime win during the regular season. “Canton pushed us around. We have a saying to be the hammer not the nail and we were the nail and we lost in overtime. Today I think we were more of the hammer. The kids played hard and we kept the trophy, which is exciting for the kids. Hats off to Canton too.”
Both the Black Knights and the Bulldogs finish the season with 6-5 records. Stoughton now has a 46-40-4 lead in the Thanksgiving series.
SHARON, Mass. – Coming into Saturday afternoon’s regular season finale, the conversation between fans from Canton and Sharon centered on seedings, rankings, and coefficients. The uncertainty of the playoff system loomed over the proceedings, even overwhelming the fact that a win would give the Bulldogs their first league title since 1990.
Canton stormed out of the gates and led by two scores in the first half, but the Eagles were intent on spoiling the moment and rattled off 30 straight points, while intercepting four passes and allowing only one Bulldogs first down in the second half of a 30-14 victory.
Sharon coach Dave Morse insisted it was the best half of football that his team had played all season and he believed that it was enough to get the Eagles into the tournament.
“That’s about it man,” he said. “You come out and shut out a team that’s feeling it, they’re rolling, it was an unbelievable half of football for us. When you come out and prepare correctly, we can execute correctly.”
Canton knew that it needed a win to share the Davenport crown with Foxboro, which had won on Friday night, and the Bulldogs were fired up at the start.
An interception by Jude Alpert near the end of the first quarter gave Canton possession at the Sharon 37. Eight plays later, Jake Ragusa (15 carries, 83 yards) punched it in from five yards out and Thomas Monagle added the kick to make it 7-0.
On Sharon’s next possession, the Bulldogs forced a three and out. Woanyen Mahn burst through the line and blocked the punt, which was recovered by Kymauny Roland and returned to the Sharon 32. Two plays later, Dennis Ross (3-11, 71 yards) looked for Michael Harris at the front corner of the end zone. Harris out-jumped two defenders to haul in the pass and make it 14-0.
“I thought there was blood in the water for us at 14-0,” said Canton coach Dave Bohane. “We knew they were good so 21-0, if we could get it would be the type of thing that you can make a good team question themselves, but we didn’t and they came back.”
Sharon needed a response and got it on its next drive. Juvan Elisma had two carries to get it to midfield followed by a Rob Bayha pass to Joey Dowler down to the Canton 33. Elisma (15 carries, 81 yards) did the rest, bursting through the line and sprinting to the far sideline for a 33-yard touchdown that cut the lead in half and gave the Eagles momentum heading into the break.
“It’s almost like in hockey when you go down 3-0 you’re screwed but you go down 2-1 then you’re okay,” explained Morse. “In OA we went down and came back, against Sandwich we went down and came back…mentally we are pretty tough and our guys keep fighting.”
Canton got the ball first and was forced to punt. On its possession, Sharon moved the ball to the Bulldogs 10, with the help of a horse collar and a late hit penalty, but was forced to settle for a 27-yard Josh Rotman field goal that made it 14-10.
Sensing that the Eagles had the upper hand, Morse called for an onside kick. The Eagles were quickest to the loose ball and recovered at their own 47. Canton’s defense held and forced a punt, but the energy was clearly on the home sideline in the third quarter.
Sharon stopped Ragusa for two short gains and then Bryce Smith intercepted Ross’ pass to give the Eagles ball at the Canton 11. Three plays later and Matt Cancian pushed it across from seven yards out to give Sharon its first lead at 17-14.
After another Canton punt, Bayha (7-17, 112) hit Tyler Smith for a 26-yard completion and the Eagles offense was in business again. Following a pass interference call against Canton, Cancian got the corner and went 15 yards for his second touchdown of the half.
“I thought we made the right adjustments at halftime,” said Bohane, “but just never got field position. I thought there were a couple times in the game that we looked a little bit slow but we can attribute that to they had some quick kids.”
With five minutes remaining in the game, Bryce Smith picked off Ross for the second time in the game and would have returned it for a score only to be denied by an illegal block call. Cancian nearly had his third touchdown only to have the ball pop out at the one, which Canton recovered for a touchback.
Rather than be dismayed by the turnover, the Sharon senior captain immediately got the ball back for his team when he picked off Ross’ pass on Canton’s first play. Bayha made sure that the turnover counted when he found Bryce Smith down the sideline for a 30-yard touchdown with just 2:40 on the clock.
“We’re more comfortable moving the ball on the ground,” admitted Bohane. “We thought that we had some mismatches in there and the kids played well for Sharon and it is hard when you’re not getting those plus yards on first down, second down.”
Morse said, “The secondary was exceptional. Four picks is four picks; that’s tough to do.”
He added, “We did on any individual player even though [Ragusa] is great. Scheme-wise we put something together that we liked and our guys executed.”
Not to be outdone by his brother, Tyler Smith picked off the final pass to seal the Eagles victory and give Sharon a chance to look ahead to a possible playoff opponent.
Morse said, “I’m pumped up. We won against a good team to put us in. It’s a great win; it’s a great feeling. I bet our kids will have a real pep in their step this week at practice.”
Bohane was left deflated, as the Bulldogs were left without the league title and possibly left out of the playoffs on the final day for the second straight season.
When asked if he though that the postseason was still a possibility, Bohane responded, “I hope so. We’d love to get in the playoffs and represent the Hockomock League.”
Playoff brackets will be released by the MIAA on Sunday.
Josh Perry can be contacted at JoshPerry@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @Josh_Perry10.
Today’s games are listed below. Football
Canton, 14 @ Sharon, 30 – Final First Quarter: No Scoring. Second Quarter: (C) Jake Ragusa 5 yard rush, Thomas Monagle XP; (C) Dennis Ross 31 yard pass to Michael Harris, T. Monagle XP; (S) Javon Elisma 33 yard rush, Josh Rotman XP. Third Quarter: (S) J. Rotman 27 yard field goal; Matt Cancian 7 yard rush, J. Rotman XP. Fourth Quarter: (S) M. Cancian 15 yard rush, XP missed; Rob Bayha 30 yard pass to Bryce Smith, Rotman XP.
Stoughton, 38 @ Milford, 22 – Final 1st Quarter: (S) Christian Hill 44 yard rush, XP no good. 2nd Quarter: (M) Blake Hill 1 yard rush, Sean Lehane XP; (S) Ryan Sullivan 2 yard rush, 2pt fail; (S) R. Sullivan 2 yard rush, 2pt fail; (S) Izon Swain-Price 30 yard rush, 2pt fail. 3rd Quarter: (S) Guy Eddy 5 yard rush, XP no good; (M) Zach Lanzetta 4 yard pass to Shapel Feaster. 4th Quarter: (M) Z. Lanzetta 7 yard pass to Jack Cappelletti, Blake Hill 2pt rush; (S) Jake Gibb 16 yard pass to Steven Elice, R. Sullivan 2pt rush. Boys Soccer
Foxboro, 6 @ Ipswich, 1 – Final – Senior Devante Teixeira and junior Anthony Barreira each scored a pair of goals while sophomore Joe Morrison and junior Colin Spinney each scored once in the Warriors’ win.
Sharon, 1 @ Oliver Ames, 1 – Final – Keegan Nutt scored for the Tigers and Jake Goloboy equalized for the Eagles. Girls Soccer
Taunton 0 vs. Coyle & Cassidy, 0 – Final – Coyle won the City Championship 3-1 on penalties, but it counts as a tie on the season record. Volleyball
Mansfield @ Medfield, 6:30 Field Hockey
Canton, 1 @ Dover-Sherborn, 0 – Final – Andrea McNeil scored the lone goal of the game six minutes into the game for the Bulldogs. Taylor Carrington picked up the shutout in net while defenders Emily Rizzitano, Colleen Phelan, Sarah Wilkinson and Julia Ezepek all played well for the Bulldogs.
Mansfield, 3 @ Duxbury, 1 – Final
Today’s games are listed below. Game of the Week – Football
Stoughton, 14 @ Foxboro, 0 – Final 1st Quarter: (S) Izon Swain-Price 19 yard rush, Jake Gibb XP good. 2nd Quarter: No scoring. 3rd Quarter: (S) Ryan Sullivan 2 yard rush, J. Gibb XP good. 4th Quarter: No scoring. Football
King Philip, 15 @ Attleboro, 25 – Final 1st Quarter: (A) Cam Furtado 40-yard pass to Brendan Nunes, Owen McKenna XP good; (A) Furtado 2-yard rush, XP blocked. 2nd Quarter: (A) Furtado 27-yard pass to Alex Silva, 2-point conversion no good. 3rd Quarter: No scoring. 4th Quarter: (KP) Giovanni Fernandez 3-yard rush, Zach Boari XP good; (A) Nunes 5-yard rush, XP blocked; (KP) John DeLuca 10-yard pass to R.J. McCarthy, DeLuca to Leo Munafo for 2-point conversion.
Canton, 40 @ Oliver Ames, 14 – Final 1st Quarter: (C) Jake Ragusa 5 yard rush, XP no good; (C) Joe Bires 22 yard rush, XP good. 2nd Quarter: (C) J. Bires 1 yard rush, Woanyen Mahn 2pt rush; (C) Dennis Ross 1 yard rush; XP good. 3rd Quarter: (C) W. Mahn 35 yard rush, 2pt fail; (OA) Charlie Ryan 1 yard rush, 2pt fail. 4th Quarter: (C) Joe Mulkay 45 yard rush, XP fail; (OA) Kyle Gagliardi 60 yard rush, Leandro Moro 2pt rush.
Mansfield, 24 @ Franklin, 3 – Final 1st Quarter: (M) Anthony DeGirolamo 12 yard pass to Mike Arnold, Diogo DeSousa XP good. 2nd Quarter: (F) Nick Yelle 33 yard field goal. 3rd Quarter: (M) D. DeSousa 16 yard field goal. 4th Quarter: (M) Connor Finerty 16 yard rush, D. DeSousa XP good; (M) Nick Graham 80 yard rush, D. DeSousa XP good.
Taunton, 20 @ North Attleboro, 44 – Final 1st Quarter: (NA) Nick Morrison 58 yard rush, Connor Flynn XP; (NA) C. Flynn 7 yard rush, 2pt fail. 2nd Quarter: (NA) C. Flynn 24 yard field goal; (NA) N. Morrison 6 yard rush, C. Flynn XP; Nick Rajotte 3 yard rush, Connor MacIver XP; (T) Collin Hunter 34 yard pass to Adam McLaughlin, 2pt fail. 3rd Quarter: (T) C. Hunter 33 yard pass to A. McLaughlin, C. Hunter 2pt pass to A. McLaughlin; (NA) N. Morrison 55 yard fumble return, C. Flynn XP. 4th Quarter: (T) C. Hunter 8 yard pass to Michael Fernandez, 2pt fail; (NA) N. Morrison 50 yard rush, C. Flynn XP. Boys Soccer
Attleboro, 0 @ Franklin, 3 – Final – Hatim Brahimi broke open a scoreless game with a goal in the 52nd minute for the Panthers. He then assisted on a goal by Kevin Hall, who added a second in the final minutes of the game.
Canton,1 @ Foxboro, 1 – Final – Anthony Barreira put the home team up in the first but Canton’s Sam Papakonstantino leveled the match before the break.
Mansfield, 0 @ King Philip, 0 – Final – In a battle of two of the top teams in the Kelley-Rex, neither side was able to find the back of the net. Mansfield coach Steve Sheridan credited goalie Michael Kirejczyk with a strong game in net for the Hornets.
Sharon, 1 @ Milford, 0 – Final – Sharon’s Oliver Hu scored the lone goal of the game with just over 10 minutes to play, converting a pass from Lucas Allaria in the 70th minute. Mike Da Silva made five saves in net for the Scarlet Hawks.
Taunton, 1 @ North Attleboro, 2 – Final – Gareth King scored a pair of goals inside a five minute span, lifting the Rocketeers to their first win of the season. Taunton took the lead in the second half but just 15 seconds later King finished off a through ball from Gabe Pinhancos. Three minutes after that, Kevin Aguilar set up King for the game winner.
Stoughton, 0 @ Oliver Ames, 4 – Final – Oliver Ames senior Keegan Nutt, junior Thomas McCormick and senior Chris Romero all scored goals in the first half as the Tigers built a 3-0 lead at the break. Sophomore Matt Alvarado set up classmate Cam Vella for the lone goal of the second half. Max Bamford, Nathaniel Cardoza and Vella each had assists. Girls Soccer
Franklin, 5 @ Attleboro, 0 – Final – Alexis Stowell netted a pair of goals, Emily Foley scored a goal and had an assist and Emily Spath and Abigail Gipson each scored once. Jess Kroushl, Halle Atkinson, Victoria Stowell and Meghan Dieterle each had an assist.
Foxboro, 0 @ Canton, 1 – Final – Canton’s Sarah Collins scored an unassisted goal for the lone strike of the game to lift the Bulldogs to a win.
King Philip, 1 @ Mansfield, 9 – Final– Mansfield’s offensive exploded for nine goals, led by a hat trick from junior Hannah Reiter. Alle Bezeau scored a pair of goals, Emma Oldow had two goals and an assist, Jen Kemp scored once and had an assist, Bryn Anderson netted a goal and Emma Goulet and Jackie Carchedi each notched a pair of assists.
Milford, 2 @ Sharon, 1 – Final – Kristen Franzini netted both of Milford’s goals while Emily Duquette had a strong game in goal with nine saves for the Scarlet Hawks.
North Attleboro, 1 @ Taunton, 1 – Final – Taunton scored first in the opening half but Haley Guertin, off an assist from sister Grace Guertin, leveled the score just over 10 minutes into the second half.
Oliver Ames, 7 @ Stoughton, 0 – Final – Francesca Calabraro had a hat trick and added an assist for the Tigers. Jackie Mills added two goals and an assist and Lauren Wright and Annabella Walsh each scored goals. Delaney Benton chipped in with three assists. Volleyball
Attleboro, 0 @ Franklin, 3 – Final – Franklin’s Caroline Maguire had seven aces and added four kills and a pair of blocks to lead the Panthers. Maddy Kuzio had four aces and a pair of digs and Lauren McGrath had 10 assists and three aces for Franklin.
Canton, 3 @ Foxboro, 0 – Final – Canton got the sweep on the road 25-15, 25-14, 28-26 and clinched its sixth straight Davenport Division title and ninth straight Hockomock League title overall, dating back to before the division split. Olivia Devoe had yet another strong game on defense with 15 digs while Elizabeth Hamilton dominated offensively with 20 kills and three aces, also chipping in with 19 digs. Canton head coach Pat Cawley praised the efforts of Kaitlin McCarthy, Emma Gobbi and Emma Murphy for their strong play at the net. Cawley also noted great defensive efforts from Julia Panico, Cassie Loftus and Maria Mackie.
Mansfield, 3 @ King Philip, 0 – Final– Mansfield picked up the sweep on the road, 25-15, 25-22, 25-23. Jess Haradon had 18 digs and 11 service points for the Hornets while Cathryn Heavey had 35 assists and 10 service points. Sarah Mullahy had seven kills, seven blocks, and nine service points while Alli Belanger added eight digs and nine service points. For King Philip, Josie Rowean had 13 kills, Amelia Murphy added five kills, Emma Lopez had three kills and Micaela Murray finished with 10 digs.
Sharon, 1 @ Milford, 3 – Final
Taunton, 0 @ North Attleboro, 3 – Final
Stoughton, 0 @ Oliver Ames, 3 – Final – Stoughton’s Bridgette Whalen had 10 digs and five kills in the loss. Field Hockey
Taunton, 0 @ North Attleboro, 1 – Final
STOUGHTON, Mass. – The Bulldogs are becoming used to dramatic finishes and overtime battles, but there was something special about Friday night’s 22-21 victory over rival Stoughton at Anthony L. Sarno Field.
When Jake Ragusa stopped Guy Eddy at the two-yard line on the final play of overtime, preventing the Black Knights from getting the two-point conversion that would have won the game, the Bulldogs stormed onto the field, cheering a win that keeps them in the Davenport title race, possibly clinches a spot in the postseason, and avenges last year’s heartbreaking defeat.
Still, this felt like more than all of that.
Even 20 minutes after they had cleared the field, with the players piled into two buses for the short ride back to Canton, the cheering had not abated. It felt like the Bulldogs had officially arrived and earned the marquee win to prove that this is a program to watch.
“We’re just on top of the world,” said Canton coach Dave Bohane. “To have those moments like that, you cherish them.”
“I told them before the game that I think our program is heading in the right direction,” he explained. “I think we’re going to be pretty good down the road, but I think tonight is going to be a night you remember as the night that it turned.”
As has been the case all season and as would be expected against a rival and a team that has been in the running for the Davenport title each year since the league split, the victory was not easy.
The first half was ugly for the Bulldogs with the offense sputtering in the rain. Penalties and a pair of turnovers gave Stoughton the ball in Canton territory on its first three possessions. The Black Knights opened the scoring with 5:27 left in the first when Christian Hill’s 19-yard run set up a 1-yard Guy Eddy touchdown.
But that was all Stoughton would get in the first half. Ragusa sacked Stoughton quarterback Jake Gibb twice, sophomore Jude Albert showed the ability to stick with receivers downfield and the aggressive Bulldogs defense bottled up the ground game at the line of scrimmage.
“Our defense kept us in the game,” said Bohane. “Our defense gave us a chance to win that, no doubt.”
Canton finally got something going on its final possession of the half. Ragusa was the main man with nine carries for 59 yards on the drive and finished it with a two-yard dive that gave Canton the lead with 16 seconds before the break.
The lead barely lasted to halftime. Steven Elice took the ensuing kickoff 90 yards to paydirt only to have his celebration cut short by a holding call at midfield.
After the break, it was more of the same. The rain may have cleared but the field was still slick and the defenses were in control. Donnie Foley, Devlin Carroll, and Josh Czuba on the Stoughton side and Woanyen Mahn, Joe Bires, and Djimon Harding for Canton were all dominating play and neither side could find any rhythm offensively.
The Black Knights finally got a spark when Elice recovered a Bires fumble at the Canton 35 with the clock winding under five minutes to play. Gibb hit Ryan Sullivan for 11 yards and a first down and then four plays later he hit Eddy in the flat and the running back took it 18 yards for the go-ahead score. The two-point conversion was no good and the lead was 12-7 with 2:41 left to play.
Canton answered right back. The drive started at the Bulldogs’ 43 and was kept alive by junior quarterback Dennis Ross, who kept a fourth down play alive long enough to find Ragusa on the sideline for the first down. Three plays later, Ross looked downfield and found Michael Harris for a 35-yard touchdown pass into double coverage.
Mahn added the two-point conversion and it was 15-12 Bulldogs with just 1:18 left.
“He didn’t get a lot of reps last year,” said Bohane of his starting QB, Ross. “We just need to get better throwing the ball so we spent a lot of time doing it this week and we did it.”
“I don’t know how pretty that play was but I’ve been on the other end of that so many times, I’ll take it.”
Stoughton coach Greg Burke was still wondering how it was that Harris got open on the play. He said, “I thought we should’ve batted it down at least. Two guys were on him, but, you know, what can I tell you.”
The Black Knights were not done. Similar to the game against Milford two weeks ago, the Canton defense let up for just a second and Gibb was able to hit Elice on a slant that went for 43 yards down to the Bulldogs seven with :32 seconds left. Gibb (8-17, 105) threw incomplete on first down, gained two yards on second and missed Eddy in the flat on third.
Facing a fourth down decision, Stoughton received a delay of game penalty that backed the Knights up to the 10. From there, Burke made the choice to go with the field goal.
“It was 10 yards and we didn’t have any timeouts left,” he said. “You just go with the percentage there. I’m going to take the chance that we kick it through. We screwed it up on the pass before that…but we had to go for that.”
Stoughton went for it and Gibb’s kick was hit by at least one Canton player (possibly two) but went through the uprights with 11 seconds left to send the game to overtime.
On its first possession, Canton faced fourth down from the two and rather than go for a Thomas Monagle field goal, Bohane went to Ragusa (24 carries, 116 yards) and the senior plowed into the end zone for his second touchdown of the night.
Gibb scored for Stoughton with a two-yard run of his own. Burke decided to go for two rather than try an extra point and the Knights gave the ball to Eddy on a sweep right but Ragusa read it all the way and made the stop that gave Canton the win.
“We’re going for the win,” said Burke. “I called a timeout and the [ref] didn’t listen to me. I called a timeout; we were going to change and pass the ball. We just wanted to see how they lined up.”
“I thought we did a good job defensively…I just figured we could win it.”
About his senior captain, who made plays on both sides of the ball in overtime, Bohane remarked, “He’s like the straw that stirs the drink. Him and Joe (Bires), they’re the guys that we rally around. Hopefully we keep winning and those guys will be in discussion for MVP of the league.”
Bohane took a moment to reflect on where he was and the emotions of the evening. The Bulldogs have won four times this season and three of those were in OT, but Bohane admitted that this one felt a little different.
“Last year’s game was an absolute kick in the stomach to us, coaching staff and players, so to have this happen just…it’s just a great feeling and I’m so proud of my guys.”
Today’s games are listed below. Football
North Attleboro, 14 @ Attleboro, 0 – Final 1st Quarter: (NA) Patrick Johnson 65 yard interception return, Connor Flynn XP; (NA) Nick Rajotte 30 yard rush, C. Flynn XP. 2nd Quarter: No scoring. 3rd Quarter: No scoring. 4th Quarter: No scoring.
Canton, 22 @ Stoughton, 21 – Final (OT) 1st Quarter: (Sto) Guy Eddy 1 yard run, XP missed. 2nd Quarter: (Can) Jake Ragusa 2 yard run, Thomas Monagle XP. 3rd Quarter: No scoring. 4th Quarter: (Sto) Jake Gibb 18 yard pass to Eddy, 2-point failed; (Can) Dennis Ross 35 yard pass to Michael Harris, Woanyen Mahn 2-point run; Gibb 27 yard field goal. Overtime: Ragusa 2 yard run, Monagle XP; Gibb 2-yard run, 2-point failed.
Foxboro, 42@ Milford, 14 – Final 1st Quarter: (F) Mark Clagg 52 yard pass to Austin Ryan, John Cronin XP good; (F) M. Clagg 15 yard pass to Ronnie Martin, J. Cronin XP good. 2nd Quarter: (M) Blake Hill 5 yard rush, XP good; (F) Darren Kelly 12 yard rush, J. Cronin XP good. 3rd Quarter: (F) Austin Ryan 99 yard punt return, J. Cronin XP good; (M) Zach Lanzetta 10 yard pass to Blake Hill, XP good; (F) R. Martin 11 yard rush, J. Cronin XP good. 4th Quarter: (F) D. Kelly 65 yard rush, J. Cronin XP good.
King Philip, 10 @ Franklin, 3 – Final 1st Quarter: (KP) Zach Boari 17 yard field goal. 2nd Quarter: (F) Nick Yelle 20 yard field goal. 3rd Quarter: (KP) John DeLuca 2 yard rush, Z. Boari XP good. 4th Quarter: No scoring.
Taunton @ Mansfield – Postponed to 10/10, 12:00
Sharon, 28 @ Oliver Ames, 12 – Final 1st Quarter: (OA) Liston Funai 7 yard rush, 2pt fail. 2nd Quarter: (S) Tyler Smith 55 yard rush, Josh Rotman XP good; (S) Rob Bayha 21 yard pass to Craig Titus, J. Rotman XP good; (S) R. Bayha 21 yard pass to Bryce Smith, J. Rotman XP good. 3rd Quarter: (S) Juvan Elisma 43 yard rush, J. Rotman XP good. 4th Quarter: (OA) Charlie Ryan 12 yard pass to Shawn Cardoza, XP fail. Boys Soccer
Canton, 0 @ Franklin, 2 – Final– Kevin Hall scored for the third straight game, this time off an assist from David Stowell to pace the Panthers. Austin Kent added an unassisted for for Franklin.
Oliver Ames, 1 @ Kinge Philip, 0 – Final – Oliver Ames senior Keegan Nutt headed home the lone goal of the game, finishing off a rebound off of Chris Romero’s shot that hit the crossbar.
Milford, 1 @ Taunton, 3 – Final – Lens Esquil scored for the second consecutive game, this time finding the back of the net twice for the Tigers. Senior Austin Botelho had two assists and Daeshawn Duffy scored once.
Sharon, 4 @ North Attleboro, 1 – Final – Sharon found the back of the net just five minutes into the game when Lucas Allaria converted an assist from Jake Goloboy. James Dunlea doubled the league off an assist from Liam McManus and Stephen Higgins scored unassisted in the 34th minute to make it 3-0. Matt Lowerre capped Sharon’s scoring shortly into the second half off an assist from Dunlea. Gareth King netted a late goal for the Rocketeers. Girls Soccer
Franklin, 2 @ Canton, 0 – Final – Megan Georges and Meghan Dieterle scored the goals for Franklin both assisted by Victoria Stowell.
Mansfield, 4 @ Foxboro, 2 – Final – Jen Kemp scored two goals and assisted on a pair of Jackie Carchedi goals in the first half for the Hornets. Hannah Burns scored in the first half and Lily Sykes scored with five minutes left for Foxboro.
King Philip, 0 @ Oliver Ames, 4 – Final – Francesca Calabraro scored a pair of goals for OA. Emily Freeman and Julia Roy also scored, while Delaney Benton had three assists for the Tigers, who scored all their goals in the first half.
Taunton, 1 @ Milford, 2 – Final – Kristen Franzini scored off an assist by Gabbie O’Neil and Katie Brown headed home the winner with fewer than two minutes remaining assisted by Francesca Shipperd. Christine Pye returned from injury to make 11 saves in goal. Abby Small had the goal for Taunton.
North Attleboro, 5 @ Sharon, 0 – Final – Hana Caster scored once and had two assists, Shannon Kingsley netted a pair of goals and Haley Guertin picked up two points for the Rocketeers, who led 3-0 at half. Felocity Monfils also added a goal for the Rocketeers and Leah Jette had an assist. Kiersten Bixby and Nina Beauvias combined for the shutout in net. Volleyball
King Philip, 1 @ Bishop Feehan, 3 – Final – King Philip fell on the road, 20-25, 25-21, 21-25, 16-15.
Mansfield, 1 vs. Needham, 3 – Final– Mansfield picked up a win in the second set to level the match but Needham took sets three and four to get the win, 19-25, 25-17, 22-25, 16-25. Cathryn Heavey had 33 assists and 10 digs in the loss for the Hornets.
Sharon, 1 @ Norwood, 3 – Final
Stoughton, 1 vs. Cardinal Spellman, 3 – Final – Stoughton suffered a 26-24, 15-25, 24-26, 19-25 loss on the road. Bianca DeSousa had 16 assists, 14 digs, 10 service points, eight aces, five kills and two blocks and Val Whalen added seven kills and seven blocks. Field Hockey
Milford @ Taunton – Postponed to 10/19 Golf
Attleboro, 184 @ Foxboro, 174 – Final
King Philip, 169 @ Oliver Ames, 157 – Final – Jack Green’s 37 paced Oliver Ames while Brian Lambert carded a 39. Todd Bushway and Danny McLoughlin each shot 41 for King Philip.
Stoughton, 190 @ Franklin, 165 – Final – Matt Dao and Matt Pleshaw each shot a 40 for the Panthers.
Taunton, 208 @ Mansfield, 206 – Final (5 cards) – David Craig led Mansfield with a 39, who picked up its second straight win on a card off. Devon Barbero shot a 40, Mike Marry shot 41 and Matt Chirichiello carded a 42.