By Josh Perry, Managing Editor
ATTLEBORO, Mass. – It was only Friday morning when Attleboro knew that it was going to have to make a change at quarterback. An injury sidelined starter Tyler McGovern, who was on crutches on the sidelines that night, forcing sophomore Cameron Furtado to take over under center for the Bombardiers.
Rather than be overwhelmed by the moment, Furtado provided a spark for an offense that had been struggling to score points and was shutout last week by rival North Attleboro.
The Bombardiers scored on each of their first two possessions and jumped out to a three-score lead by halftime to get back to .500 on the season with a 25-15 win over King Philip in a game that had to be moved to Tozier-Cassidy Field because of maintenance on the new track at KP.
“It was a good win for us,” said Attleboro coach Mike Strachan. “Cam did a great job managing the game, the defense hunkered down when we needed to, and special teams did a good job.”
Furtado made an instant impact for the Bombardiers. After just missing the fingertips of senior wideout Alex Silva throwing deep on the first play of the game, he scampered 41 yards on a keeper to the KP 40. The next play he swung the ball to the outside and Brendan Nunes did the rest for a 40-yard touchdown.
After a KP put, Attleboro put together a 10-play, 74-yard drive to extend the lead. Furtado (13 carries, 110 yards) was the key with five carries for 32 yards and he also picked out Alex Silva down the sideline for 36 yards. Furtado, known as a runner, completed 5-9 passes for 127 yards on the night.
Strachan said, “He’s an athlete and you know he’s only a sophomore for us and he made a lot of great plays.”
He added, “The big difference between this week and other weeks is that we made plays.”
McGovern is a drop back passer and it was clear at the start that the KP defense had a hard time adjusting to the very different look that Furtado brought to the Attleboro offense.
KP coach Brian Lee said, “We’ve seen that ‘Wildcat’ package from them, but then when they went to exclusive to it…a lot of things we’d been practicing got thrown out and I think it caught our guys off a little.”
The Warriors, as they have all season, struggled to finish drives. Junior quarterback John DeLuca hit Leo Munafo for 32 yards and moved KP into the red zone, but the Attleboro defense held strong and forced a turnover on downs.
KP had a chance after a very short Attleboro punt, but Sean Donnelly recovered a fumble by DeLuca to end the drive at the Bombardiers 23. On the next KP possession, DeLuca was intercepted by Ethan Dubeau at the Warriors 34.
“Normally our turnovers are completely flipped,” said Lee. “I don’t think we had an interception all year and we are not used to fumbling but we put the ball on the ground three times last week and I think maybe three times tonight. It’s disheartening.”
The Bombardiers took advantage of the turnover to add to the lead before halftime. After an incomplete pass and a seven-yard carry by John Burns, Furtado hooked up with Silva on a deep slant for a 27-yard score. The conversion was no good for the second time and Attleboro went into the locker room leading 19-0.
“We broke tackles, Cam made plays, and it was really important to get off the right way for us,” Strachan remarked. “Then we came back out and went right back down the field after they had scored, so we answered them.”
KP came out of the break and put together a time-consuming march down the field. Starting from its own 33, KP used 17 plays and 9:53 off the clock but again it stalled inside the Attleboro 10. DeLuca (17-29, 158 yards) was unable to hit R.J. McCarthy on fourth and goal from the five to give the ball back to the Bombardiers.
The defense forced a three and out and got the ball back at the Attleboro 32. Finally, KP was able to capitalize. DeLuca hit Munafo for 11 yards and had a 15-yard scramble before junior Giovanni Fernandez capped the drive with a three-yard dive that made it 19-7.
Attleboro responded on its next drive. The Bombardiers went 61 yards in eight plays to restore the three-score lead. Furtado again found Silva on the big play of the drive, a 27-yard pass to the near sideline that got the ball down to the 23. Nunes punched it in from five yards out for his first rushing TD of the game.
KP was not finished. The Warriors went on another long drive, this time using 11 plays but less than two minutes. DeLuca was 7-8 on the drive and also had three carries for 22 yards. He hit McCarthy for a 10-yard TD and scrambled to find Munafo for the two-point conversion to make it 25-15 with 51 seconds left.
Strachan said, “I was worried about it because they can make plays. Their quarterback is a special kid and he’s a hard runner. We were a little too loose and we’ll learn from that.”
The Warriors recovered the onside kick, which DeLuca seemed frustrated by when he first hit it but somehow the ball slowly edged past the 10 yards necessary for KP to jump on it. Kyle Murphy and Owen McKenna effectively ended the game with a 12-yard sack of DeLuca, who ended the game with a pair of bombs that dropped incomplete.
“And up front physically, very overwhelming that size, those trap blocks and how they get on you,” explained Lee. “They’ve got some dudes over there. I think that’s probably the most talented team we faced.”
Attleboro (3-3, 2-2) will try to continue building its resume for the postseason next week when it hosts Franklin. KP (2-4, 2-2) still has a good chance of making the playoffs and can bolster that with a win against Taunton in the final game of the regular season.
Josh Perry can be contacted at JoshPerry@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @Josh_Perry10.