Canton’s defense continued to shine, posting its second shutout in league play. The Bulldogs limited Milford to 53 yards of total offense and six first downs, with the majority of those yards and conversions coming on the final drive of the game with a running clock.
“We were looking at the weather all week and we were thinking it might work in our favor,” said Canton head coach Dave Bohane. “[Milford] has such a good passing attack, they can throw the ball so well, so dynamic. Their slot [receivers] really got our attention. Sometimes our defense, we have to play the physical aspect against good running teams like Stoughton, and tonight we were challenged in the passing game. I’m very proud of the defense.”
The Bulldogs made life difficult for the Hawks, limiting the visitors’ potent passing game to just three completions in its first seven drives. But four of those drives ended in punts, another in an interception, a turnover on downs, and the end of the first half. The final drive, which spanned 66 yards on eight plays, was denied at the goal line to end the game.
“The conditions were advantageous with how we play defense,” Bohane said. “The defense has played any style we’ve asked them to play. I thought the coaches did a good job preparing, mimicking Milford’s offense and how they go about it — and they are very good, very explosive. We have some pretty big guys up front so we thought we’d be able to hold up against the run. It’s tough to get to their quarterback because he gets rid of it so fast, so we felt we had to have a body on a body, just accounted for everyone.”
Milford’s defense was equal to the task to start the game, forcing a turnover on downs on the opening series and then a three-and-out on Canton’s second offensive possession.
But Canton senior Jace Emma read a hitch route perfectly on Milford’s first play of their second series, jumping in front for an interception and giving the Bulldogs terrific field possession.
From there on out, Canton’s offense was unstoppable, scoring on its final five possessions of the game.
Following Emma’s pick, Canton needed just six plays to go 35 yards to take a first quarter lead. Highlighted by a 31-yard dash from senior Kyle Fitzgerald (19 carries, 109 yards), the Dogs punched it on fourth down when senior quarterback Johnny Hagan (11 carries, 56 yards, three touchdowns) kept it himself for a three-yard score and a 7-0 lead with 2:14 left in the opening quarter.
“Jace has been so good for us for so long,” Bohane said. “We lost one of our corners to injury and Jace stepped in. I was telling him that he belongs out there, I think he was up for the challenge. He stepped up and made that pick, and it was all him, he read it right in man coverage.”
After getting the ball back after a quick three-and-out, Canton marched 58 yards on 11 plays to double its advantage. An offside call shortened a fourth down and the Dogs gave the direct snap to Robbie Gallery on a fake punt to move the chains.
Fitzgerald converted another fourth down on the drive, and two plays later Hagan kept it himself and got around the edge to find the end zone for a 21-yard score.
Canton wasn’t done in the half though, with its defense once again forcing a three-and-out while pushing the Milford defense backward.
This time it took just seven plays to go 44 yards for the Bulldogs, After a healthy mix of Fitzgerald, Hagan, and Gersom Rivera (nine carries, 39 yards) on the ground, Canton caught the Hawks’ defense with a pass play as Hagan delivered a perfect pass to Emma on a slant for 22 yards.
On the next play, Hagan kept it himself for another three-yard touchdown, giving Canton a 21-0 lead heading into halftime.
Bohane and his staff were well aware the game was far from over, and with the firepower that Milford possesses, the Bulldogs’ put a big emphasis on the opening drive of the second half.
With its defense on the field, everything continued to go the Dogs’ way. An incomplete pass was followed by a second down sack from junior Matt Connolly, and a tackle from Jahmi Aldin for no gain on third down.
“We felt like the first series in the third quarter was going to be very important,” Bohane said. “The kids came out and played hard. I can’t remember how exactly it went down but we continued to play well on both sides of the ball. Everyone stepped up and contributed, it was overall a good night for us.”
The first offensive possession of the second half didn’t go exactly as the Bulldogs had planned but still ended up in points nonetheless. Hagan dumped a screen pass off for Fitzgerald, and he took it 45 yards to the end zone but the Bulldogs were whistled for a hold.
That meant Canton had to punt for the first time all night, but the Milford returner couldn’t field it cleanly and the Dogs pounced on the muffed ball.
Again, Fitzgerald found the end zone on a rushing play but again, a holding call negated it. Canton took advantage of a personal foul on the Hawks’ defense, as Rivera took it up the middle from three yards out to make it 28-0 with 5:12 to go in the third quarter.
But a couple plays later, Jack Connolly, Lucas Ragusa, and Gallery combined for a big sack on first down. And Ben Guerini delivered a third down sack two plays later, and the Bulldogs forced an incompletion on fourth down to get the ball back.
It took eight plays to cover the 35 yards, the longest play of the drive coming on Rivera’s 13-yard run up the middle as he bounced between defenders for a score and a 35-0 lead with seven minutes left in the game.
Canton football (5-0 overall, 3-0 Hockomock) visits North Attleboro next week while Milford (3-2, 2-1) hosts Stoughton in a potential playoff preview.
Game of the Week – Football
Milford, 0 @ Canton, 35 – Final – Click here for a recap and photo gallery of this game. 1st Quarter: (C) Johnny Hagan 3-yard rush, Owen Lehane XP good.
2nd Quarter: (C) J. Hagan 21-yard rush, O. Lehane XP good; (C) J. Hagan 3-yard rush, O. Lehane XP good.
3rd Quarter: (C) Gersom Rivera 3-yard rush, O. Lehane XP good.
4th Quarter: (C) G. Rivera 13-yard rush, O. Lehane XP good.
Attleboro, 0 @ King Philip, 14 – Final 1st Quarter: No scoring.
2nd Quarter: (KP) Sam Callanan 1-yard rush, Dylan Conti XP good.
3rd Quarter: (KP) Robert Jarest 12-yard pass to Brian Wassersug, D. Conti XP good.
4th Quarter: No scoring.
Stoughton, 18 @ Foxboro, 7 – Final 1st Quarter: (S) Savion Scott 5-yard rush, XP failed.
2nd Quarter: (F) Shayne Kerrigan 41-yard pass to Elijah Lewis, XP good.
3rd Quarter: (S) Christian Ais 6-yard rush, 2pt failed.
4th Quarter: (S) John Burke 5-yard rush, 2pt failed.
Mansfield, 39 @ Franklin, 9 – Final – Click here for a recap and photo gallery of this game. 1st Quarter: (F) Parker Cheuvront 24-yard field goal.
2nd Quarter: (M) Michael DeBolt 41-yard field goal; (M) Nick Marciano 35-yard rush, M. DeBolt XP good; (M) Safety; (M) Jack Mousette 13-yard pass to Cincere Gill, M. DeBolt XP good.
3rd Quarter: (M) Vinnie Holmes 21-yard rush, M. DeBolt XP good; (F) Thomas Gasbarro 20-yard pass to Jake Davis, XP blocked; (M) C. Gill 84-yard kick-off return, M. DeBolt XP good.
4th Quarter: (M) Ethan Thevenot 65-yard rush.
Milford, 4 @ Attleboro, 1 – Final – After trading goals, Milford scored three straight unanswered to pick up a win on the road. The Hawks took the lead when Pedro Araujo converted a penalty kick but Attleboro freshman Esvin Morales tied things up moments later. Lucas Da Silva set up Joao Pedro Da Silva to put the visitors back ahead, and Araujo volleyed in a header from Lucas Da Silva before halftime to make it 3-1. Milford’s fourth goal came off a cross from Chris Tocci on an own goal. With the win, and other results around the league, Milford clinches at least a share of the Davenport division title for the second straight season.
Foxboro, 1 @ King Philip, 2 – Final – King Philip built a two-goal lead and survived a pair of second half penalty kicks from Foxboro to earn the win. The hosts took the lead in the 41st minute when Wes Orzell finished off a feed from Ajae Olsen. KP doubled its lead in the 67th minute on a goal from Cam Lawrence, assisted by Stephen Griffin. KP keeper Grant Orzell saved a penalty kick to keep the two-goal lead. Foxboro’s Dylan Barreira scored on a penalty kick four minutes later.
Sharon, 0 @ Franklin, 2 – Final – Click here for a photo gallery of this game – Franklin scored a pair of goals in a five-minute stretch in the second half to earn two points at home against visiting Sharon. After a scoreless first half, a long ball from Matt Szczepanowski was spilled in the area and Lucas Moura was able to touch in the loose ball in the 55th minute. Just minutes later, Nelson Martinez finished off a corner from Donny Tappin to make it 2-0.
North Attleboro, 1 @ Mansfield, 1 – Final – North Attleboro and Mansfield traded early first half goals, battling to a draw under the lights on Friday night. The Rocketeers took the lead just a minute into the second half on a penalty kick but Mansfield’s Dan Rowe netted his first career goal just five minutes later to bring the hosts level. Dylan Buchanan flicked on a cross from Cam Eddy and Rowe found the back of the net. Evan Eames, Michael Caridi, Ethan Scholes, and Eddy all played well defensively in front of keeper Anthony Salisbury.
Canton @ Oliver Ames – Postponed to Sunday, Oct. 20 at 2:00.
Stoughton @ Taunton – Postponed to TBD.
Attleboro, 0 @ Milford, 2 – Final – Jillian Michelson and Kristina Chiarelli each scored as Milford earned its third straight win. Carly Ferreira posted the shutout in net for the Scarlet Hawks.
Franklin @ Sharon – Postponed to Saturday, Oct. 26 at 12:00.
Mansfield, 1 @ North Attleboro, 0 – Final – Avery Hawthorne scored the game’s only goal off an assist from Lauren Hobaica midway through the first half and the Hornets held on for the win. Lydia Hershey, Alex Moulson, and Caroline Ferrin all played well for North in the loss.
Taunton @ Stoughton – Postponed to TBD.
Foxboro @ Mansfield, 3:45
Franklin, 2 vs. Walpole, 6 – Final – Franklin took the lead twice in the first half but Walpole responded each time, and went on to score four unanswered goals in the second half to sweep the regular season series with the Panthers. Amanda Lewandowski opened the scoring just over a minute into the game on a feed from Kaitlyn Carney. After Walpole tied it up in the 18th minute, Franklin jumped back ahead when Olivia Rondeau scored on a feed from Kate O’Rourke in the 21st minute. Walpole scored a minute later to make it 2-2 at half. Neilee Hess made four saves for Franklin.
Stoughton @ Taunton – Postponed to TBD.
Canton, 3 @ Milton, 1 – Final – After splitting the first two sets, Canton went on to win two straight to clinch the win, 3-1 (28-26, 15-25, 25-23) Taylor Harris anchored the Bulldogs with 19 kills and 16 digs while Jackie Morrissey added 32 assists, 15 digs, and two aces. Liz Bickett (16 digs) and Shannon Malloy were strong in the middle combining for 12 kills and six blocks.
Mansfield, 1 vs. Bishop Feehan, 3 – Final – Mansfield forced a fourth set against Bishop Feehan but eventually fell, 3-1 (23-25, 21-25, 25-19, 18-25) in an exclusion match for the Hornets. Feehan was six points away from a sweep, leading 19-15 before Julia Busier (19 service points) led the Hornets to 10 straight points to win the set and force a fourth game. Busier also had seven digs while Julia Kelly chipped in with eight kills and eight digs.
Oliver Ames, 3 @ Bridgewater-Raynham, 0 – Final – Oliver Ames picked up its second win over the Trojans this season, walking away with a 3-0 (25-14, 25-12, 25-18) sweep on the road. Allie Kemp dished out 38 assists in the win with seniors Jordyn Vella (14 kills) and Caroline Flynn (13 kills) leading the charge at the net. Sophomore Hadley Rhodes had another strong showing with eight kills and five aces for OA.
Canton @ Mansfield – Postponed to Friday, Oct. 18 at 3:30.
Taunton @ New Bedford – Postponed to TBD.
CANTON, Mass. – The Canton roster is filled with holdovers from last year’s Davenport division champions. These are players who have taken part in big games, title-deciding games, and have found ways to come out on top. The Bulldogs needed every ounce of that experience on Friday night against Foxboro at WWII Veterans Memorial Field.
Three times the Warriors had the ball down by just six points in the fourth quarter, twice getting into the red zone, but all three times the Canton defense found another gear to make a crucial stand and preserve the unbeaten start.
“Our defense is one of the best in the Hock for sure,” senior linebacker OOwen Lehane explained. “They were kind of rolling on us for almost three quarters just about, but I think we pieced it together at the end, started picking each other up and I think we just knew deep down that we were better than we were playing.”
Thanks to its defensive effort in the fourth, Canton was able to overcome a rash of penalties and two turnovers in the final quarter to pull out a 26-20 win and stay unbeaten through two weeks of the league campaign.
“They were jacked up, we had some success, and then bam we’re in a football game,” said Canton coach Dave Bohane. “Our kids stayed poised and made key plays.”
Foxboro quarterback Shayne Kerrigan got the Warriors within a score when he found a seam and burst into the end zone from six yards out with 10:46 remaining in the game. Gersom Rivera blocked the extra point to keep it a six-point margin, but the momentum was with the visitors.
Canton tried to put the game away on its next possession by going for it on fourth and one from the Foxboro 48. Kyle Fitzgerald (20 carries, 132 yards) pushed up the middle for first down distance but as he stretched for a couple extra feet the ball popped loose and was recovered by Elijah Lewis.
Kerrigan (12 carries, 75 yards) got to work with 13 yards on two keepers and then Chris McNamara broke a 22-yard run to the Canton 25. A penalty against the Canton coaches (for encroaching on the field) handed Foxboro a first down at the 12. A loss of one on first down was followed by an incomplete pass and then James Murphy managed to get a fingertip to another pass on third down. On fourth and 11, Kerrigan was held to just a yard to end the drive.
Two plays later, the Warriors were in business again. Canton quarterback Johnny Hagan (13 carries, 55 yards), who had been limited by an injury, couldn’t lost the ball going up the middle and Michael Norvish jumped on the loose ball.
The Foxboro drive lasted three plays before Lehane stepped in and picked off a pass, returning it out near midfield. Lehane also kicked a pair of field goals and had an onside kick recovered in the first half.
“He just never lets you down,” Bohane said of Lehane. “You guys are bringing up things from the game and I’m thinking wow he hit a key field goal, touchbacks, the onside kick, and then to step in and get the interception. An outstanding night for Owen and I’m glad because he’s a super kid.”
After a Canton punt, Foxboro had one last chance with 1:27 remaining. Jace Emma had good coverage on the first pass from Kerrigan (6-of-21, 121 yards) and the second was tipped by Jack Connolly. The third and fourth passes also fell incomplete and Canton was able to kneel down to secure the victory.
“We spotted them a couple points, not that they didn’t earn them, they made great plays, and we could never close that gap,” Foxboro coach Jack Martinelli said. “We had a couple chances down here to tie it up, but two good teams and neither team quit when they were ahead or behind.”
Canton opened the scoring on its second drive of the night. After Fitzgerald broke free for 19 yards, Hagan (7-of-12, 99 yards) tossed a perfect pass into the arms of Rivera down the near sideline for a 33-yard touchdown.
The lead was short-lived, as Foxboro answered right back. Kerrigan hit Ryan Hughes on the near sideline and he made a cut to the inside, shaking off the corner, and then raced 46 yards to the corner for the tying score.
It was the passing game that helped Canton regain the lead on its next possession. Again Hagan was able to find the target deep down the sideline, this time connecting with Emma for 33 yards to the Foxboro five. Hagan would call his own number on the next play for his second score of the night.
A penalty on the touchdown moved the kickoff up 15 yards so the Canton coaches called for an onside kick, which Lehane laid right down the middle and Jahmi Aldin tracked down to immediately give the Bulldogs back the ball. The Foxboro defense managed to keep Canton out of the end zone, but Lehane tacked on a 24-yard field goal to make it 17-7.
Kerrigan and the Foxboro offense, despite missing junior playmaker Luis Sulham, managed to again find big plays against a Canton defense that had not allowed a point since the opening week of the season. The Warriors were helped by two of Canton’s four first half personal foul penalties, but marched down the field to get back within three. Kerrigan capped it off with an 11-yard run.
“We had it last week too,” Martinelli replied, when it was noted how far the offense has come since the season opener against Norton. “Canton is a good football team, we knew that, and we were hoping that we wouldn’t give up the big plays, which we did a couple times tonight.”
Canton added to its lead right before the break. Penalties stalled a drive that had gotten as close as the Foxboro 12, but Lehane was on target with a 32-yard kick. After stuffing Foxboro on the opening drive of the second half, Canton took advantage of the short field, Hagan punching it in from a yard out for his third score to make it 26-14.
It proved to be just about enough to get the win.
“Our coach always says it’s the best league in the state,” said Lehane about the challenge of playing in the Davenport division. “Definitely the seniors, we’ve all been there and we know how tough it is. We’ve got a tough crew too.”
Bohane added, “No weeks off in the Hockomock League. They’re so well-coached and the kids play so hard and there’s so much football tradition. It’s a great league to be in but much better when you have a good team like I do right now that’s physical and tough. It was a lot of fun tonight, as stressful as it was.”
Canton (4-0, 2-0) will be back home next Friday night to take on another potential league title contender in Milford. Foxboro (2-2, 1-1) will look to bounce back with a tough home game against Stoughton.
Game of the Week – Football
Mansfield, 15 @ King Philip, 13 – Final – Click here for a recap and photo gallery of this game. 1st Quarter: (M) Jack Moussette 33-yard pass to Danny Rapoza, Michael DeBolt XP good.
2nd Quarter: No scoring.
3rd Quarter: (KP) Crawford Cantave 1-yard rush, XP blocked.
4th Quarter: (M) Cincere Gill 20-yard rush, Nick Marciano 2pt rush; (KP) Robert Jarest 16-yard pass to Alex Behling, Dylan Conti XP good.
Attleboro, 21 @ Taunton, 3 – Final
Foxboro, 20 @ Canton, 26 – Final – Click here for a Recap and Photo Gallery from this game. 1st Quarter: (C) Johnny Hagan 33-yard pass to Gersom Rivera, Owen Lehane XP good; (F) Shayne Kerrigan 46-yard pass to Ryan Hughes, Tyler James XP good; (C) J. Hagan 1-yard rush, O. Lehane XP good.
2nd Quarter: (C) O. Lehane 24-yard field goal; (F) S. Kerrigan 11-yard rush, T. James XP good; (C) O. Lehane 32-yard field goal.
3rd Quarter: (C) J. Hagan 1-yard rush, 2-point conversion no good.
4th Quarter: (F) S. Kerrigan 6-yard rush, XP blocked.
Attleboro, 1 @ Sharon, 1 – Final – Attleboro and Sharon traded first half goals, splitting the two points in a draw on Friday night. Attleboro freshman Esvin Morales put the visitors ahead off an assist from Joey Soucy, putting the Bombardiers ahead in the 7th minute. But four minutes later, Sharon senior Brian Higgins brought the hosts level on an assist from James Zhang.
Franklin, 3 @ Foxboro, 0 – Final – Franklin netted a pair of first half goals, added an insurance strike in the second, and posted a shutout on the road at Foxboro. Junior Ethan Cain opened the scoring on an assist from senior Sam Stowell while sophomore Terry O’Neill put the Panthers up 2-0, converting a feed from senior Donny Tappin. Senior Jacob Cummings made it 3-0 with Cain grabbing the assist.
King Philip, 1 @ North Attleboro, 0 – Final – Senior Owen Teixeira scored the lone goal of the game with just over three minutes left to help KP grab two points on the road. Teixeira took a pass from junior Anthony Zappala and rifled a shot from 25 yards out to put the Warriors ahead.
Foxboro, 0 @ Franklin, 1 – Final – The Panthers hit on a counterattack nine minutes into the game, Sydney St. Marie heading in a cross by Chloe Barca, to hand Foxboro its first defeat of the season. The Warriors pressured throughout the game, but the Panthers defense was excellent, according to head coach Tom Geysen, to keep Foxboro off the board. Anna Balkus had the job of marking Foxboro forward Jordyn Collins and she was helped in the first half by freshman Norah Anderson, who got across on the cover to clear away a chance with a sliding tackle. Breanna Atwood made 12 saves in goal to earn the clean sheet.
North Attleboro, 0 @ King Philip, 5 – Final – King Philip got off to a strong start, netting four first half goals to earn a win at home over North Attleboro. Ally Stanton scored in the 4th minute off a feed from Makayla Griffin, and again in the 15th minute, converting a cross from Ava Tormey. Avery Snead (22nd minute) and Chloe Layne (26th minute) set one another up for goals. Snead added a strike in the second half in the 46th minute with Stanton getting the assist.
Stoughton, 0 @ Mansfield, 2 – Final – Maria Sevastos and Abby Jean scored for the Hornets, while goalies Olivia Salisbury and Kelsey Hubler combined for three saves and the shutout. Stoughton goalie Brianna Buckley had a strong game in goal for the Black Knights.
Milford, 1 @ Oliver Ames, 2 – Final – After trading first half goals, Oliver Ames found the game-winner in the second half to earn two points against the Hawks at home. Senior Abby Hodges put the Tigers up in the first half while sophomore Camryn O’Connor scored the game-winner, finishing off a corner from senior Erin Holmberg.
Stoughton, 2 vs. Brockton, 1 – Final – Haley Nelson and Morgan Lessa each scored to lead the Black Knights to a win at home over visiting Brockton.
Canton, 3 vs. Notre Dame Academy, 0 – Final – Canton earned a regular season sweep of NDA, winning 3-0 (25-17, 25-20, 27-25) at home. Taylor Harris had a standout performance, hitting 0.487 while putting down 22 kills along with 11 digs. Claire Quinn added eight kills and 13 digs while Jackie Morrissey dished out 27 assists while recording three kills and nine digs for the Bulldogs.
Mansfield, 0 @ North Attleboro, 3 – Final
Oliver Ames, 3 vs. Brockton, 0 – Final – Oliver Ames avenged its season-opening loss to the Boxers with a 3-0 (25-20, 25-18, 25-20) sweep at home. Sarah Morley had a strong game with 10 digs and five aces, Allie Kemp added 25 assists, and Alison Barth added 27 digs. Caroline Flynn and Jordan Bosse paced the offense with 10 kills apiece.
Mansfield, 152 @ Attleboro, 169 – Final – Mansfield picked up a win over Attleboro at Stone-E-Lea, clinching the Kelley-Rex division title outright. Ryan Dow was the match medalist with a low round of 35 while Ava Haggis, Brian See, and Joseph Gormley each shot 39 in the win.
Franklin, 170 @ Foxboro, 173 – Final – Franklin’s Jack Paterson was the match medalist, shooting a team-low round of 40 to pace the Panthers to a close win over Foxboro. Pat Dolan added a 41, Brian Sandham shot a 43, and Jake Blaney chipped in with a 46. Foxboro’s Matt Fossella (three pars) sank a birdie, finishing with a 41. Dylan Quinn (five pars) added a 43, Noah Hicks shot 44, and Jack Rounds finished with a 45 for the Warriors.
CANTON, Mass. – The teams were so similar that it was destined to be a close game. Canton and Stoughton both have speed in the backfield, strong offensive and defensive lines, and athletes all over the field. It was like looking in the mirror. So, it came down to turnovers and one drive that decided the game.
Having managed only five first downs to that point, including one drive stuffed inside the Stoughton 10, the Bulldogs took over possession with less than two minutes remaining in the first half. The drive started at their own 35 and nine plays later resulted in the game’s lone touchdown.
Senior quarterback Johnny Hagan (17 carries, 125 yards on the ground and 9-of-18 for 80 yards passing) had the big play on what turned out to be the game-winning drive, breaking free of the Stoughton defense for a 31-yard gain down to the one. Two plays later he got the last yard to give the Bulldogs the lead with just 14.4 seconds to go before halftime of their 10-0 victory in the 100th meeting between the Thanksgiving Day rivals.
“It was definitely a long two weeks,” said Hagan about having a bye last week. “We were itching to play last week, but just to get out here with the crowd and everyone was very fun.”
“I thought they’d be good,” Canton coach Dave Bohane said about his defense, which has now allowed only seven total points in three games. “To beat these guys 10-0, to play well against a very quality team, they maybe exceeded my expectations but we have good speed and some experienced guys. Experience really showed up tonight.”
The Canton defense allowed only three first downs and no points to a Stoughton offense that came into the night averaging 41 points per game. The Bulldogs held talented running backs Christopher and Christian Aiss to a combined 46 yards, while recovering three fumbles. Linebackers Owen Lehane, Lucas Ragusa, Robbie Gallery, and James Murphy were all over the field, making plays from sideline to sideline.
“We play five of them and that’s the strength of our team,” Bohane explained. “There was one play where Ais had the ball and Murphy came out of nowhere. Sometimes James finds another gear on big plays and he was really impressive on that. A lot of kids have had those guys tackled this year and it takes two or three people to bring them down so really credit to our kids tonight getting those guys on the ground.”
On its second possession, Canton came close to making the breakthrough. Hagan had the big play, a 47-yard keeper down the far sideline that got the Bulldogs to the Stoughton 24. They got as close as the two, but Carlvin LaGuerre stuffed Kyle Fitzgerald (21 carries, 64 yards) on third down for a one-yard loss and then Jerry Brisson and Oluwole Fabikun stuffed him again on fourth down.
“We battled,” said Stoughton coach Greg Burke. “They did a good job. Their big player is the quarterback, no doubt. He’s the key and we practiced all week trying to get him but it’s hard to duplicate him.”
It took until its fourth possession for Stoughton to manage a first down. Christian Ais finally got a seam and he broke a 33-yard run down to the Canton 15, but two plays later quarterback Clayton Rahaman couldn’t get a clean hand-off away and Matt Connolly pounced on the loose ball to end the drive.
Burke said, “I thought we hung in there but we fumbled down here and then fumbled down there. Without having the ball, you can’t score. We got the ball back a bunch of times but we didn’t do anything, so back to the drawing board.”
The game seemed destined to be scoreless at the break until the Bulldogs finally succeeded in finishing a drive. It was a huge momentum swing coming in the final seconds before halftime.
“It was huge because it wasn’t really materializing there and then all of a sudden we hit a couple plays and I was like we may put one in here,” said Bohane. “Obviously, we’ve got to work on our short-yardage stuff because that was frustrating to not put them in but Johnny kind of stepped up there.”
He added, “But, we were up 7-0 on Thanksgiving, so that came up a lot in the locker room.”
Canton got the ball to start the second half and marched into Stoughton territory, but stalled at the 36. Bohane elected to punt and David Allen’s effort was dropped at the 10. Murphy dove on top of the fumble to give the Bulldogs new life. A holding penalty denied Hagan his second touchdown, but Canton came away with points on a 27-yard field goal by Lehane.
Hagan said, “That was huge going into half and then coming out third quarter we needed to have a big third quarter. Making it a two-score game was definitely huge for momentum.”
It wasn’t what the hosts were hoping for, but a two-score lead felt insurmountable with the defense continuing to shut the Black Knights down.
The biggest play of the second half for Stoughton was a screen pass from John Burke to Christopher Ais for 15 yards but the ball was pried loose and Lehane recovered. Ais would answer by recovering a Gersom Rivera fumble eight plays later, but by then the clock was winding down and there was no chance for Stoughton to come back.
Canton (3-0, 1-0) will continue its league title defense next Friday night against Foxboro, while Stoughton (2-1, 0-1) will try to bounce back on Thursday night in Sharon.
Game of the Week – Football
North Attleboro, 7 @ King Philip, 25 – Final – Click here for a Recap and Photo Gallery from this game. 1st Quarter: (NA) Tyler DeMattio 9-yard rush, T. DeMattio XP good.
2nd Quarter: (KP) Robbie Jarest 54-yard pass to Alex Behling, XP no good.
3rd Quarter: (KP) R. Jarest 20-yard pass to A. Behling, Conversion no good.
4th Quarter: (KP) Ryan Halliday 3-yard rush, Conversion no good; (KP) R. Halliday 27-yard rush, Dylan Conti XP good.
Canton, 28 vs. Dighton-Rehoboth, 7 – Final 1st Quarter: (C) Kyle Fitzgerald 7 yard rush, Owen Lehane XP good; (C) Johnny Hagan 37 yard pass to David Allen, O. Lehane XP good.
2nd Quarter: No scoring.
3rd Quarter: (C) K. Fitzgerald 20 yard rush, O. Lehane XP good.
4th Quarter: (C) Gersom Rivera 4 yard rush, O. Lehane XP good; (DR) Jared Ramos 1 yard rush, Adam Peirera XP good.
Mansfield, 31 vs. BC High, 10 – Final – Click here for a Recap and Photo Gallery from this game. 1st Quarter: (M) Cincere Gill 29 yard rush, Michael DeBolt XP good; (BCH) Cormac Kennelly 25 yard field goal good.
2nd Quarter: (M) M. DeBolt 26 yard field goal good.
3rd Quarter: (M) C. Gill 64 yard rush, M. DeBolt XP good.
4th Quarter: (M) Jack Moussette 48 yard pass to M. DeBolt, M. DeBolt XP good; (BCH) Bobby Wiesenhahn 34 yard pass to Louis Timmins, C. Kennelly XP good; (M) M. DeBolt 79 yard rush, M. DeBolt XP good.
Sharon, 14 vs. Nauset, 33 – Final
Taunton, 13 vs. New Bedford, 24 – Final
Mansfield, 0 @ Foxboro, 1 – Final – Foxboro senior Dylan Barreira converted a penalty kick in the first half for the goal of the game.
Taunton, 0 @ North Attleboro, 1 – Final – North Attleboro’s James Sales scored on a penalty kick in the 5th minute to give the Rocketeers two points in their season opener. Taunton’s Colton Madeira, Riley Rebello, and Shane Froio played well defensively in front of Nolan Melo (seven saves).
Oliver Ames, 5 @ Stoughton, 0 – Final – Junior Colin Milliken picked up where he left off last season, scoring twice and adding one assist to lead the Tigers to a win on the road. Senior Nick Farley netted his first career goal and assist in the win for the Tigers, who also got goals from Jimmy Keane and freshman Hector Bucio. Ben Cohen and Dillon Cupples each had assists.
Canton, 2 @ Attleboro, 3 – Final – Briley Harnois scored a pair of goals, including the game-winner with nine minutes left to play, helping Attleboro start the season with a victory. Kat Dennehy scored the first goal for the Bombardiers. Ashley Macia played well in goal, according to head coach Steve Santos, who called the win a “great team effort.”
Foxboro, 2 @ Mansfield, 0 – Final – Click here for a Photo Gallery from this game. Jordyn Collins scored a second half brace to lift the Warriors to a win in the battle of last season’s league champions. Foxboro dominated the ball throughout the game, holding the Hornets without a shot on goal. Collins hit the post in the first half, but opened the scoring 12 minutes after the break when she was played through by sophomore Jordan Carman. In the final minutes, Collins wrapped up the points when Lizzy Davis hit a free kick from inside her own half that was allowed to bounce just outside the Mansfield penalty area. Collins outran two defenders and slipped a shot inside the post.
Milford, 1 @ Franklin, 2 – Final – Despite Milford controlling large portions of the game and pressured the Panthers, goals by Sydney St. Marie and Stella Regan (assisted by Carly Alston) lifted the hosts to a win in the season opener.
Sharon, 0 @ King Philip, 9 – Final
North Attleboro, 4 @ Taunton, 0 – Final – Alex Moulson scored twice and assisted on the other two goals to lead the Rocketeers to a division win. Moulson opened the scoring in the 12th minute on a free kick and then she doubled the lead on an assist by Ari Rice. Abi Slaney scored a second half goal off a Moulson corner and the Olivia Wills followed suit minutes later. Regan Fein held a clean sheet for 70 minutes and Caitlin Echeverri finished the final 10 minutes. North coach Bill Wallace said that Lily Cameron, Steph McKenna, and Alex Hardy were strong in North’s transition game and Lydia Hershey and Collette Petit were strong in the back line.
Stoughton, 1 @ Oliver Ames, 6 – Final – Stoughton scored first but Oliver Ames knotted the score before halftime and scored six straight to get the win. Freshman Jenna Gilman scored four goals for the Tigers while Erin Holmberg (assist) scored twice. Allison Evin, Katie Gibson, Catie Wilson, and Cam O’Connor each had an assist for OA. Stoughton freshman Shayla Ford put the Black Knights ahead before OA cashed in with a flurry of goals before half. Freshman Emma Tremblay had a strong game defensively for Stoughton, Mackenzie Manning was strong in center mid, and senior Briana Buckley played well in net.
Canton, 1 @ Norwood, 2 – Final
North Attleboro, 171 @ Foxboro, 169 – Final – Foxboro’s Dylan Quinn carded six pars, finishing with a team-low round of 41 to lead the Warriors to a close win over North. Matt Fosella (four pars) added a 42 while Noah Hicks (two pars) and Matt Lathrop (three pars) both shot 43. North Attleboro’s Jillian Barend was the match medalist, shooting a low round of 40.
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.”
SCITUATE, Mass. – A lot of the focus leading into Friday night’s Division 5 South Final between Scituate and Canton revolved around the Sailors’ high-power offense.
But the story of the night ended up being Scituate’s defense.
The Sailors pitched a shutout, limiting Canton’s offense to just over 100 yards and six first downs, to earn a 21-0 decision and the D5 South title, the first in program history.
“Our guys were prepared, motivated, and fired up to play defense tonight,” said Scituate head coach Herb Devine. “We did a great job all night long playing defense. We tried to take away what they wanted to go. We knew [Johnny Hagan] and [Kyle] Fitzgerald are just great players so we tried to limit what they do. Our defense played outstanding.”
Scituate came into the game averaging over 40 points in its two playoff games, putting up an impressive 57 points in a semifinal win over Holliston. While Scituate’s defense gave up a total of 61 points in its first two playoff games, its defense allowed a total of 69 points all of regular season (including 35 to Duxbury).
“They gave us a lot of trouble,” said Canton head coach Dave Bohane. “We have so many playmakers…maybe we leaned on them too much and got away from the fundamentals. We just didn’t execute at a high level. I tip my hat to Scituate, they had a good plan, their kids played good, and they are a good team.”
The Sailors flexed their offensive muscles early on, taking the first drive of the game down the field for a score. It turned out to be Scituate’s second longest drive of the game as they moved 77 yards on eight plays to take an early lead.
Facing a third down early in the drive, Scituate quarterback Aidan Sullivan (10/15, 219 yards) completed a 10-yard pass for a first down. The Sailors didn’t face a third down the rest of the drive and Will Sheskey (24 carries, 135 yards) punched it in from 5 yards out for a 7-0 lead just over three minutes into the game.
The next three series – two from Canton – resulted in punts, but the Bulldogs nearly had a chance to change the game. After punting, Scituate tried to field the kick on the bounce but a nice play from the Bulldogs knocked the ball free. Canton had two shots at it – one player diving on top but the ball jumping free, and other a chance right before the sideline – but neither player could get a hold of the ball in the pouring rain and it went out of bounds, keeping possession with Scituate.
The Sailors made to take advantage of the lucky bounce and needed just three plays to find the end zone. On second on 5, Canton brought a lot of pressure but Scituate had the perfect play call on as Sullivan dumped a screen pass off to Sheskey and he went virtually untouched for a 63 yard touchdown, giving Scituate a 14-0 lead with 9:35 left in the second quarter.
“We knew they like to blitz in some situations and our quarterback absolutely made a great read.” Devine said. “It can be either a little hitch route or a screen and he made the right read and Sheskey went for the touchdown.”
Canton responded with its best drive of the opening half. A unsportsmanlike conduct penalty helped move the ball 15 yards, and Johnny Hagan (86 all purpose yards) hit Gersom Rivera for an 18-yard gain to the Scituate 34-yard line. The Dogs had a chance to complete a pass down field but the receiver was held, giving Canton first and 10 at the 22-yard line.
But a false start, a two-yard rush, and a run for no-gain put the Dogs in a 3rd and 13 situation at the 25-yard line. Hagan tried to make a play but was intercepted at the goal line.
Scituate nearly tacked on another score before half, driving all the way down to Canton’s 23-yard line but Ben Seaman came up with a big sack on third down and Canton forced an incompletion on fourth, keeping the deficit at 14-0 heading into half.
A holding call on the first play of the second half put Canton’s offense in a whole and it was forced to punt quickly thereafter.
Canton’s defense continued its strong play on Scituate’s ensuing drive. The Sailors got inside the red zone, all the way down to Canton’s 8-yard line. But Seaman came up with a big sack on third down and David Allen broke up a pass on fourth down to keep the Sailors out of the end zone and the lead at 14-0.
The Bulldogs offense moved the ball forward on seven straight plays, but faces a 4th and 3 at their own 40. With little time left in the third quarter and a two-score deficit, Canton went for it but Hagan’s pass was picked off just over midfield.
Scituate killed a lot of the remaining time with its next drive, needing nine plays to cover 47 yards. It was’t until a 1-yard sneak from Sullivan on fourth down that Scituate added its third touchdown of the game to go up 21-0 with 8:46 to go.
“The defense gave us a chance,” Bohane said. “Ultimately we didn’t do enough offensively. We just never got that rhythm that we need so badly. We didn’t find it today. The defense kept plugging away even though they gave up an early score which has been a little bit of an Achilles heel. We needed to make plays offensively and we didn’t but they didn’t make it easy for us.
“We just didn’t find any consistency, we never got comfortable in our offense. We didn’t find a play or two that we can hang our hat on but credit to Scituate, they didn’t give us an inch on offense.”
Canton football drops to 8-2 with one game left on Thanksgiving against rival Stoughton. While the future for the Bulldogs looks bright with the majority of its lineup made out of juniors, Bohane stressed how important this senior class has been to this season.
“Scituate played in this game last year, it shows.” Bohane said. “But I can’t get beyond the fact our seniors really poured their heart and souls into this season, into the playoffs, everything. Right now I really feel for this guys. It’s a learning experience for sure but it’s so difficult for the seniors.”
CANTON, Mass. – At the final whistle, there wasn’t the type of celebration you would expect from a team that just played its first playoff game in decades, not to mention its first ever playoff game in front of its home fans. There was a quiet, subdued feeling as the Canton players surrounded their coaches to talk about a 27-13 win against no. 5 seed Hanover on Friday night at WWII Veterans Memorial Field.
“I think it was a learning experience,” said Canton coach Dave Bohane. “They are very excited about next week and believe me they are very happy but what you’re seeing there is more relief that the penalties and turnovers didn’t cost them.”
Junior running back Kyle Fitzgerald remarked, “Obviously, it was awesome. We came out here looking to win and we were confident. We had to overcome adversity, we had a whole lot of penalties and stuff, but we got it done. It feels good.”
While penalties slowed the game down, and cut short a couple of potential scoring drives for the hosts, Canton showed its resiliency in the second half. Hanover, which had struggled to sustain anything on offense, twice scored on big plays to cut the lead down to just a touchdown, but both times the Bulldogs answered with long possessions to extend the lead.
“It’s been the same thing all year, since the first game against D-R (Dighton-Rehoboth) when we were down at halftime, we came back,” Fitzgerald explained. “I know my team will come back after any adversity.”
Canton doesn’t have a lot of experience with the football playoffs, but the Bulldogs came out flying in the first quarter to jump in front by a couple scores.
After stuffing the Indians on the opening kickoff, the Canton defense forced a three-and-out and took over at its own 48. The offense went right to work with junior quarterback Johnny Hagan showing off his ability to make plays with his feet (15 carries, 87 yards) and his arm (7-of-17, 80 yards). He hit Gersom Rivera for a 23-yard completion on third down to get inside the five and then two plays later Brendan Albert punched it in from two yards out.
The Bulldogs were trying to send a message and they forced another three-and-out from the Hanover offense. On fourth down, punter Jack Delahunt rolled out to the far sideline and tried to make it to the sticks only to be cut down a yard short. Canton got the ball at the Indians 24.
Bohane said, “They wanted a finesse game and we wanted a power game and I thought we needed at the very beginning of the game we needed play on our terms. I thought for the most part we did, maybe to the point that we were a little over-aggressive and dealt with a lot of penalties.”
Hagan got 16 yards on second and 17 and then Rivera gained nine over a pair of carries. Fitzgerald (19 carries, 143 yards) took it from there, finding a seam from five yards out for a 14-0 lead at the end of the first 11 minutes.
“It kind of got the jitters out of our stomachs and gave us some breathing room,” said Fitzgerald about the quick start. “Obviously, they came back so if we didn’t have that lead early on then it could’ve been a different game.”
The game really could have been over by halftime. The defense continued to put pressure on Hanover quarterback Andrew Carroll, including a big pass rush from junior Jack Connolly and then a sack from Albert to get the ball back.
Canton marched right back into Hanover territory, with Hagan converting a fourth down play with a four-yard keeper. Fitzgerald then had the highlight of the night on a sweep to the left for 32 yards in which he hurdled a Hanover defensive back before being brought down at the Indians six. On the next play, the Bulldogs fumbled a handoff and lost possession.
After another defensive stand, the Bulldogs offense went on the move again. Fitzgerald had another big gain, this time for 35 yards, and Canton got as far as the Hanover 15 but then a holding call and a sack forced them back. A last-second pass to Rivera was tipped away and it was 14-0 at the break.
“I was very concerned that we didn’t put it away in the first half,” Bohane admitted. “We don’t commit a lot of turnovers but that was a turnover at the wrong time and it gave them a chance and we were fighting for the game into the fourth quarter.”
On its first possession of the second half, Hanover stunned the Canton crowd (and sideline) by finally finding a big play on offense. Despite Albert getting into the backfield and hitting Carroll as he threw, the Indians signal caller was able to get the ball downfield to Drew Berard, who beat his coverage for a 60-yard score.
The Bulldogs answered with a 17-play, 70-yard drive to regain the two-score advantage and eat up the final 8:44 of the third quarter. Hagan found Ryan Lentol on an eight-yard completion to convert a big third down and then Fitzgerald on a comeback route for nine yards on a fourth and eight. On third down, Hagan then connected with Jace Emma for a 13-yard score and a 20-7 lead.
“There were times that we didn’t move the chains when we needed it, like North Attleboro in the third quarter when we needed a big drive,” Bohane said, “So here we are a week later and we needed it and we got it. We had to make some adjustments but it was enough to win.”
Hanover came right back with a even more shocking play. On fourth and one, the Bulldogs had Evan Ritchie caught in the backfield, but he slipped out of the grasp of a would-be tackler and bolted up the Hanover sideline for a 66-yard score.
Rather than getting down, Canton just went back to work on offense, grinding out a 12-play, 72-yard, six-minute drive that sealed the win. Hagan gained 29 yards on a pair of keepers and had an 18-yard pass to Fitzgerald to get to the Hanover 20. After Fitzgerald got the Bulldogs got the ball to the two, Hagan was denied on a pair of sneaks, so the Bulldogs went back to Fitzgerald for the one-yard score to seal the win with three minutes to play.
Next Friday, Canton (7-1) will travel to Falmouth to face the top seeded Clippers. Fitzgerald was already looking forward to the trip. He said, “Foxboro almost did it tonight. (The Warriors lost 22-14 to Falmouth.) We know we can play with these guys. We were four points away from a potential one-seed, so we’re confident.”