Defensive Adjustments Effective for KP at Foxboro

King Philip Football
KP quarterback Robert Jarest (6) celebrates after scoring the first of his two touchdowns in a 20-10 victory at Foxboro. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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FOXBORO, Mass. – For the second week in a row, King Philip reacted to the offensive game plan of its opponents, made changes to its defensive approach, and clamped down to secure a victory.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Last week, KP held North Attleboro to only two first downs following the Rocketeers’ opening drive. On Friday night at Jack Martinelli Field, KP gave up 94 passing yards in the opening half against Foxboro but then after the break held the hosts to just 20 yards of offense (11 of those with seconds remaining) and intercepted three passes.

One of those interceptions came on the first possession of the second half and led to a KP touchdown that opened a two-score lead and was decisive in a 20-10 victory.

“We gave up some things and they had some wrinkles that we weren’t ready for and we had to make some adjustments,” said KP coach Brian Lee. “It got to the point that we thought, if we don’t make any more mistakes on ‘O’ and give them the short field then I think we’re going to be okay.”

KP’s offense scored three touchdowns in the second half of the opener against North and that momentum appeared to carry over to week two. The Warriors marched 68 yards on 10 plays on their opening drive to grab the lead. Senior Robert Jarest (4-10, 64 yards) hit Alex Behling on a 37-yard completion to get down to the Foxboro 20-yard-line. Jarest capped the drive with a four-yard keeper for a 6-0 advantage.

Jack Norberg ended the first Foxboro drive with a big sack of Shayne Kerrigan, but TJ Perry got the ball right back for the hosts when he read Jarest’s eyes as the QB rolled out and picked off the pass. Perry returned it to the KP two. Two plays later, Kerrigan punched it in from a yard out and Foxboro grabbed a 7-6 lead.

Foxboro struggled offensively last week against Norton, but things were clicking for the Warriors early on Friday night. Kerrigan (7-18, 94 yards) was causing problems with his ability to make throws on the run. He found Luis Sulham for a 17-yard completion and Ryan Hughes for 23 yards. On third down from the KP eight, Sam Callanan pressured Kerrigan and forced an incompletion.

Despite a low snap, Tyler James managed to split the arms of several KP players and split the uprights on a 25-yard field goal.

Needing a response, KP’s offense put together an eight-play, 58-yard drive that gave it a lead that the Warriors wouldn’t relinquish. Ryan Halliday (23 carries, 87 yards) got the ball four times on the drive, for 25 yards, and then Jarest hit Drew Danson for 15 yards down to the Foxboro five. Jarest (12 carries, 57 yards) kept it himself for his second touchdown of the night.

The hosts didn’t go quietly. Tommy Sharkey returned the ensuing kick out to the 35. On third down, Kerrigan connected with Sulham for 14 yards into KP territory. Two more completions got the ball down to the KP 35. Halliday and Callanan sacked Kerrigan and a spike gave Foxboro fourth and eight from the KP 38 with only eight seconds left in the half.

Kerrigan looked underneath the deep coverage to find Brian Derba down the far sideline. The play went for 23 yards and Derba went out of bounds with one second on the clock. James had a chance to tie the game heading into the break, but KP blocked the kick.

“We had a shot to tie it before the half and it shouldn’t have made an emotional difference but maybe it did,” said Foxboro coach Jack Martinelli. “We improved on a few things offensively in the first half but they dominated the second half.”

Foxboro got the ball to start the second half, but on third and 13 Kerrigan was picked off by Nick Viscusi. After completing 6-of-10 passes in the first half, Kerrigan would complete only 1-of-8 after the break for zero yards. Two plays after the interception, Halliday burst through the line and ran over a couple of defensive backs to score a 15-yard TD.

Lee said, “I think when happened we all felt, okay we’ve got the short field and we can execute. There’s plenty of good things there, but as I said to the guys we have a long way to go.”

KP started to control the line of scrimmage. Pat Zarba stuffed Bobby Yerardi as Foxboro was forced to punt. The visitors would put together a 12-play drive, including a pair of fourth down conversions, and marched to the Foxboro seven, but KP was unable to add to its lead. Sean Ferguson made a big stop on third down to keep KP out of the end zone.

“That was a good football game, a lot of good hitting in there, good plays either way,” said Martinelli. “We just couldn’t muster enough in the second half, gave them the short field, and that kind of spelled the difference.”

Three snaps later, Jack Collentro ended any momentum from that defensive stand when he picked off a deflected pass over the middle. Charlie Grant would add the third interception of the half with seconds remaining, as KP clamped down and Foxboro never got past its own 30-yard-line in the second half.

“We’re still working the kinks out with some of our offensive stuff but I think the upside is still there,” said Lee. “We just need to get better at executing and of course their kids had something to do with that.”

King Philip (2-0) will have a week off before opening league play at Franklin. Foxboro (1-1) will also have next week off and opens Davenport play the week later at North Attleboro.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Football: 2019 Davenport Division Preview

Stoughton football
Stoughton’s Christopher Ais carries the ball after hauling in a pass in the second half against Canton on Thanksgiving. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2019 Davenport Football Preview

Canton

2018 Record: 8-3
2018 Finish: Reached D5 South Final (Davenport Division Champions)
Coach: Dave Bohane

Key/Returning Players: Robbie Gallery, Sr., SE/LB; Johnny Hagan, Sr., QB; Kyle Fitzgerald, Sr., HB/FS; Matt Connolly, Jr., OL/DL; Gersom Rivera, Sr., RB/HB; Lucas Bryant, Sr., OL/DL; Jack Connolly, Sr., OL/DL; James Murphy, Sr., LB; Derrell Brown, Sr., OL/DL; Owen Lehane, Sr., OL/LB; David Allen, Sr., SE/DB; Jace Emma, Sr., SE/DB; Cam Sanchez, Jr., HB/DB;

Outlook:
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

2018 Record: 5-6
2018 Finish: Reached D5 South Quarterfinal
Coach: Jack Martinelli

Key/Returning Players: Anton George, Sr., DL; Mike Sheehan, Sr., LB; Brian Derba, Sr., WR/DB; Shayne Kerrigan, Sr., DB; Michael Devlin, Sr., DB; Zach Jenkins, Sr., OG; Aidan Dow, Sr., OG; Austin Read, Sr., DT; Elijah Lewis, Sr., SE; Ryan Hughes, Sr., SE;

Outlook:
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

2018 Record: 6-5
2018 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Anthony Vizakis

Key/Returning Players: Colby Pires, Sr., QB; Luke Rosa, Sr., RB/LB; CJ Cerrella, Sr., RB/LB; Nick Yohn, Jr., OL/DL; Dom Schofield, Jr., OL/DL; Mario Lee, Jr., OL/DL; Carter Scudo, Jr., WB/DB; Dom Stallbaum, Jr., OL/DL; Max Martin, Jr., WR/CB; Matt Varteresian, Jr., WR/DB; Herrick Louis, Jr., WR/LB; Kevin O’Connor, Jr., WR/LB; Xavier Hilton, Sr., WR/DB;

Outlook:
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.”




North Attleboro

2018 Record: 8-3 (Davenport Division Champions)
2018 Finish: Reached D3 South Semifinals
Coach: Don Johnson

Key/Returning Players: Ethan Friberg, Sr., TE/DE; John Kummer, Sr., OL/DL; Tom O’Neill, Sr., RB/LB; Ethan Mottinger, Sr., OL/DL; Matt Penta, Jr., QB/DB; Trevor Hewett, Sr., OL/DL; Montrel Jackson, Sr., OL/DL; Russell Dunlap, Sr., SE/DB; Owen Harding, Sr., TE/LB; Duane Bryant, Sr., RB/LB; Tyler DeMattio, So., QB/K;

Outlook:
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

2018 Record: 3-8
2018 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Dave Morse

Key/Returning Players: Jaden Williams Thomas, Sr., OL/DL; Alec Filipkowski, Sr., WR/DB; John Saab, Sr., RB/LB; Nico Marrero, Jr., RB/LB; Ike Ogbonnanze, Jr., TE/LB; Kiran Chandrasekaran, Jr., QB; Owen Conway, Jr., WR/DB; Shea Letendre, Jr., OL/DL;

Outlook:
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

2018 Record: 4-7
2015 Finish: Reached D3 South Quarterfinals
Coach: Greg Burke

Key/Returning Players: Anthony Pizzano, Sr., TE/DB; Clayton Rahaman, Sr., QB/DB; David Peters, Sr., WR/DB; Oluwole Fabikun, Sr., OL/DL; Jaden McCall, Sr., OL/DL; Carlvin LaGuerre, Sr., OL/DL; Jerry Brisson, Sr., OL/DL; Kevlen Rodrigues, Sr., OL/DL; Christopher Ais, Jr., RB/LB; Christian Ais, Jr., RB/LB; Christian Georges, Jr., HB/LB; John Burke, Jr., QB/DB;

Outlook:
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.”

Foxboro Holds On For Frantic Win At Fenway Park

Foxboro football
Foxboro’s Liam Foley carries the ball while being tackled by Mansfield’s TJ Guy (top) and Chris Graham (right). (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
BOSTON, Mass. – A lot has happened over the last 80-plus years in the annual clash between Mansfield and Foxboro football.

But the storied rivalry between the Hornets and Warriors has never had a game like Tuesday night’s contest at Fenway Park.

Foxboro outlasted Mansfield, 35-33, in triple overtime on the historic field inside Fenway Park — the first overtime game in series history.

“It doesn’t get much better than this,” said longtime Foxboro head coach Jack Martinelli. “Our kids going in as the underdog, they played harder than I’ve ever seen them play and I’m proud of them all.

“There were a lot of things at stake for us. We struggled a bit in the first half of the year, and I saw a vast improvement the second half of the year. The kids won four of their last five games so I’m pretty pleased for the kids. Two great teams, a great rivalry, we have the utmost respect for Coach Redding and his kids. It was a battle of wills I guess and we outlasted so I’m pretty happy.”

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After being limited to six points through the first three quarters, Foxboro scored four times between the fourth quarter and three overtime periods.

On the flip side, Mansfield orchestrated a game-tying drive over the final 2:32, driving 63 yards before tying the game with just two seconds left.

“[Foxboro] played hard, it was a great game,” said Mansfield head coach Mike Redding. “We told the Fenway people we have a great rivalry, we play great football, we’re going to bring a great crowd and we did all of it. We had two very good teams battle to the end, it was like a three hour game, and we had a great crowd in the cold, They made one more play. It was a classic and a great effort by both teams.”

After the teams remained tied through two overtime periods, Foxboro was able to make one final stop to secure the win. The Warriors started on offense in the third overtime and found the end zone on second down. Senior quarterback Liam Foley (10-for-17, 165 yards, three touchdowns) hit classmate Mike Luong in the flat for a 9-yard touchdown. Foley rolled right then threw back across his body to an open Rob Fay for the two point conversion and a 35-27 lead.

Mansfield punched it in on third down on a carry from sophomore Cincere Gill (12 carries, 104 yards) from three yards out to make it 35-33. Gill dove into the pylon on the two-point attempt but Mansfield was called for holding and had to attempt the two-point conversion from the 13-yard line.

Junior quarterback Jack Mousette (11-for-20, 82 yards, one touchdown) nearly connected with a receiver but a nice tackle forced the pass incomplete and Foxboro held on for the win.

In the first overtime, Foley dodged some pressure to connect with Brian Derba for a 10-yard touchdown on third down but the two-point rush failed. Mansfield tied the game on its first play with Aidan Sacco (10 carries, 86 yards) using a QB option to keep it himself for a 10-yard score. After a delay of game, Mansfield’s two-point attempt from the 8-yard line was shut down.

Foxboro had a chance to win it in the second overtime, but similar to Mansfield in the opening extra period, the defense came up big. Mansfield elected to pass on a 23-yard field goal (with starting kicker Michael DeBolt out hurt) and went for it on 4th and goal from the 6. Mousette hit Danny Rapoza right at the 1-yard line but Foxboro’s Shayne Kerrigan made a terrific leaping tackle to prevent the ball from crossing the goal line.

Foxboro ran it twice before trotting its field goal unit out on third down for a 23-yard attempt. But Russell Neale’s attempt at a walk-off win at Fenway was denied by sophomore TJ Guy, who jumped high into the air and blocked the kick, leading to the third OT where Foxboro ended up winning.

“I couldn’t have written a script any better for the seniors,” Martinelli said. “They were resilient, they hung tough. Even when it looked like momentum had swung a little bit, they came up and made some plays for us. I couldn’t be prouder of a bunch of kids than what I saw tonight.

“Couldn’t be happier for the kids to go out this way.”

Before the teams got to overtime, Foxboro nearly had the game won in regulation. The Warriors stopped Mansfield inside the red zone (with the Hornet drive hampered by a bad snap and Pat Stapleton coming up with a big hit on fourth down) and had the chance to kill the block. Facing a 4th and inches from their own 40 yard line, Foley went back and tried to hand the ball off to each of his backs but instead pulled it back in for a bootleg run to the let side and converted.

Three plays later, on a third and 9 play from the 43 yard line, Kerrigan came in motion and Foley faked the handoff on the jet sweep. The senior quarterback looked back to his right to get the defense to move in that direction and turned back to his left and lofted a pass to Kerrigan out on the sideline on a wheel route. Kerrigan did the rest, racing to a 57-yard score and a 21-13 lead with 2:32 to play.

“I never could have imagined a game like that,” Foley said after being named MVP for the game. “We knew coming in we were playing a really good team in Mansfield so this is unbelievable. We knew we had to play the best we could and I think everybody gave everything they could tonight.”

With just one timeout, Mansfield responded and marched 63 yards to tie the game. Joe Plath, who took over tailback duties with Vinnie Holmes, Michael DeBolt, and Nick Marciano sidelined and was named Hornet MVP, had an eight yard run to convert an early 4th and two from the Mansfield 45-yard line, and four plays later, with the Hornets staring at 4th and 7, Mousette used his legs to get 16 yards and a first.

Another run from Plath on third down (3rd and 1 from the 19) got Mansfield inside the red zone with under 30 seconds to play. On third and goal from the 5 yard line, Mousette lofted one to Khristian Conner on the right side and Conner made a terrific catch while going to the ground for the touchdown.

Mansfield went back to the ground for the two-point conversion with Gill taking the sweep left and cutting up the middle to tie the game 21-21 with just two seconds left.

The Hornets took a 6-0 lead in the first half on a five-yard plunge from Plath, but had two turnovers in the opening frame to stop them from padding the lead. Hunter Williams forced an errant throw that Martin McIlroy hauled in for an interception and Anton George fell on a loose ball after a bad handoff exchange. Mike Sheehan had a fumble recovery in the second half for Foxboro.

“Way too many turnovers for us,” Redding said. “It probably should have been 21-0 at half but it’s only 6-0 and [Foxboro] has a game, which is what they wanted. They started believing a little bit and we couldn’t shake them. We kept answering but we just let them hang around. And when a call doesn’t go your way, it changes the game and we had a lot them not go our away.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Foxboro tied the contest 6-6 on its opening drive of the second half. Foley orchestrated a nine-play, 78 yard drive that included a 40-yard pass and (terrific leaping) catch from Fay. Luong capped it with a 1-yard score.

The game was tied for just 21 seconds though. On the first play of Mansfield’s ensuing drive, Sacco used a QB option to keep the ball and darted up the middle for a 68-yard score and a 13-6 lead after Gill hit the extra point.

The Warriors pulled ahead early in the fourth quarter. Foxboro’s pass was incomplete on 4th and 4 from the six but Mansfield was whistled for offside, and then two straight unsportsmanlike conduct calls after that. Foxboro capitalized with Luong plunging in from 2 yards out. Luong also got the two-point conversion, albeit a little help from the offensive line with a big push after the Hornets had the original stop, to give Foxboro a 14-13 lead early in the fourth quarter.

Foxboro football finishes the season 5-6 while Mansfield closes out the 2018 campaign with a 8-3 record.

Bulldogs Earn First Win Against Foxboro Since 1990

Canton football
Canton quarterback Johnny Hagan (5) accounted for nearly 300 yards of offense as the Bulldogs beat Foxboro 43-20 for their first win against the Warriors since 1990. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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FOXBORO, Mass. – After losing on a last second field goal and twice in overtime over the last three years, Canton was finally able to end its nearly three-decade-long jinx against Davenport division rival Foxboro and the Bulldogs did it in dominating fashion.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Junior quarterback Johnny Hagan accounted for 285 yards of offense and three touchdowns and Canton pulled away with a pair of fourth quarter scores to record a 43-20 victory over the Warriors on Friday night at Jack Martinelli Field. It was Canton’s first win against Foxboro since 1990 and ended a 25-game losing streak in the series.

Canton also improved to 4-0 on the season, despite not yet having play a home game this fall.

Hagan was a menace throughout the game, tossing a pair of touchdown passes in the first half and rushing for 175 yards on 15 carries. Martinelli admitted that his defense had no answer for Canton’s signal caller.

“We had no answers for stopping No. 5 (Hagan) either on the ground or through the air,” Foxboro coach Jack Martinelli said. “We couldn’t stop him. He’s a good player.”

“He’s just a special player,” added Canton coach Dave Bohane about Hagan. “Sometimes he’s so amped up that he calls the wrong formation and then he throws a touchdown. His receiver was on the wrong side of the formation, I’m thinking about calling timeout, instead he runs around a little, throws it, and it’s a touchdown.”

Canton also benefited from dominant play at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. The offensive line, which included Brian Campagna, Lucas Bryant, Matt Connolly, and George Kent opened up a number of holes for Hagan and running backs Gersom Rivera (10 carries, 52 yards) and Kyle Fitzgerald (11 carries, 68 yards).

“I thought we had an advantage on the perimeter and some of the skill spots, but I think their line, a lot of them, were back from last year,” Bohane remarked. “I thought maybe getting outside and getting away from those guys, but our line played well. They’ve really worked hard.”

The Bulldogs jumped in front on their first possession. On third and eight, Hagan looked deep down the sideline to Jace Emma. The junior wideout leapt above the Foxboro defensive back and ripped the ball away. He then turned and sped upfield for a 75-yard touchdown that gave the visitors early momentum.

Foxboro answered right back just four plays later. Mike Luong (12 carries, 70 yards) broke a 30-yard run, bouncing out to the right and getting into space on the sideline. Two plays later, Liam Foley looked for Rob Fay in the front corner of the end zone and the senior pulled in a one-hand catch to tie the game.

This time it was Canton that responded. Hagan somehow got to the edge on another third and eight and raced 50 yards up the Foxboro sideline before being brought down at the Warriors 18. After another 12-yard Hagan keeper, Rivera punched it in from six yards out.

David Allen picked off a Foley pass to end Foxboro’s next drive and then returned it 40 yards down to the Warriors 33. Fitzgerald needed only one carry to get the Bulldogs a two-score lead, taking a pitch to the left and finding a seam to the end zone.

It looked like the game may get out of hand, but a special teams mistake by Canton, attempting to field a bouncing punt inside its own 20 only to fumble and have Zachary Jenkins recover, led to Foxboro having a short field. Keyshawn Sanders bullied his way through a bevy of tacklers for a 10-yard score that cut the lead to 21-14.

Canton had one last chance with the ball before halftime. After an intentional grounding call, the Bulldogs faced third and 18 from the Foxboro 36. Emma ran a go-route down the near sideline and Hagan dropped a perfect pass to him in stride for a score with only 36 seconds left until halftime.

Leading 27-14, the Bulldogs came out of the half with an impressive 15-play drive that ate up more than nine minutes off the clock. The Foxboro defense stiffened inside the red zone, but Owen Lehane booted a 27-yard field goal to make it 30-14.

The Warriors didn’t quit and answered with a 75-yard drive. Foley rolled out and threw a dart to Brian Derbafor 27 yards and then a couple plays later ran a perfectly-executed backside screen to Luong for another 24 yards down to the Canton eight. On third and goal, another screen to Luong turned into a touchdown, but the two-point conversion pass was batted down by Allen to keep the lead at two scores with 9:09 remaining.

“When we had to make big plays, we couldn’t, which has kind of been our M.O. all year,” Martinelli explained. “We hung in there, made it a game on the scoreboard…but they were in charge from start to finish.”

After the Bulldogs went three and out, the Canton defense made the play that essentially ended any hopes of a Foxboro comeback. Brendan Albert crushed Foley as he was throwing and Robbie Gallery was on hand to secure the interception. He returned the ball to the one-yard-line where Hagan was able to get six points with a sneak.

“At that moment, offensively, we were sputtering a little bit,” said Bohane. “Robbie Gallery’s pick was when we breathed and thought okay we’re going to beat these guys.” About Albert, Bohane added, “He’s one of the top defensive players in the league and the best thing is he’s playing like it every single week.”

Fitzgerald added a nine-yard touchdown inside the closing two minutes to make the score even more comfortable for the Bulldogs.

Martinelli admitted, “I think they wanted it maybe a little more than we did. We hung in there, but not enough. We couldn’t make enough good plays and they made all of them.”

Canton (4-0, 2-0) will finally head home next week when rival Stoughton pays a visit to WWII Veterans Memorial Field. Foxboro (1-3, 1-1) will try to bounce back at home against two-time defending division champ North Attleboro.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Special Teams, Field Position Help KP Beat Foxboro

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King Philip junior Ryan Halliday carries the ball against Foxboro in the third quarter. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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WRENTHAM, Mass. – As King Philip’s new offense tries to get up, it’s going to need some help.

On Friday night, that help came in the form of special teams.

The Warriors leaned on a pair of good punt returns and their own punting game to win the field position battle, and as a result, a 17-0 verdict over visiting Foxboro.

Three of King Philip’s seven drives started in Foxboro territory, and all three resulted in points. The other four resulted in three punts and the end of the game.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“I was very happy with special teams, it really kept us in the game,” said King Philip head coach Brian Lee, who earned his 100th career victory. “But we have a lot of things we have to figure out still.”

King Philip’s defense had another strong showing after allowing just 14 points in the season-opening loss to North Attleboro. A sack from David Morganelli put a quick end to Foxboro’s first series.

A 23-yard punt return from Tim Nault gave King Philip’s offense a strong start, first down at the Foxboro 36-yard line. The Warriors got one first down on a Jack Webster run up the middle, but a tackle for loss from Foxboro’s Anton George and Will Ogbebor put the hosts in a hole.

KP quarterback Robbie Jarest (5-for-7, 32 yards) hit Morganelli (four catches, 35 yards) for an 11-yard gain but it was just short of the sticks. Junior Cole Baker drilled a 35-yard field goal to put the host Warriors ahead 3-0 with 4:05 left in the opening quarter.

King Philip’s defense stymied the Foxboro offense again during the second series, including a sack from Webster. This time the punt was hauled in by Aidan Bender just over midfield, and he raced it 35 yards back to the Foxboro 28-yard line.

Despite facing a 4th and 8, Jarest linked up with Morganelli for 11 yards to move the sticks. An offensive pass interference call moved the ball back at the end of the first quarter, but KP had an eight-yard scamper from Ryan Halliday (23 carries, 98 yards) and five more yards from Webster.

On 3rd and 7, Jarest rolled out right and hit Morganelli, who dove down to the 1-yard line. On the next play, Halliday went up the middle for a 1-yard touchdown and a 10-0 lead with 9:09 to play in the first half.

“Two bad punt coverages hurt us in the first half,” said Foxboro head coach Jack Martinelli. “It gave them great field position. We gave them short fields two or three times…they earned them, and we’re not good enough to play that way. We have a great kicker (Russell Neale), but we haven’t gotten into range to use him.”

Foxboro responded with its best drive of the game, moving into King Philip territory. The Warriors ran 11 plays for 50 yards, highlighted by passes from Liam Foley (9-for-21, 84 yards) to Keyshawn Sanders (8 yards) and Brian Derba (5 yards). Foley hit Shayne Kerrigan over the middle for 20 yards to convert a third down.

A 15-yard scramble from Foley gave Foxboro the ball at the King Philip 30-yard line but three plays later, King Philip’s Deric Casado tipped a pass and then came down with the interception to end Foxboro’s threat.

Baker punted for KP when its drive stalled, booting to the Foxboro 30-yard line. With a long field to go, Foxboro’s drive ended near midfield when time ran out on the first half.

Foxboro’s defense started the second half on a high note, forcing a punt. Again, Baker booted it to the Foxboro 30-yard line. Although Foley hit Pat Stapleton for 16 yards on the first play, a sack from Morganelli three plays later halted the drive.

Although Foxboro’s defense came up with a stop, KP continued to win the field position with another strong punt from Baker (47 yards). King Philip’s defense pushed the visiting Warriors back even further with losses of six and three yards on the first two plays.

On fourth down, Foxboro’s punt sailed out of bounds at its 36-yard line. Once again, King Philip cashed in on good field position.

This time the host Warriors ran seven plays to cover 36 yards, capped by a 3-yard touchdown from Halliday, who had gallops of 12 and nine on the drive. Baker’s extra point put KP up 17-0 with 9:13 to play.

“In the second half, when we were struggling on offense, to flip the field on the big punt from Baker was huge,” Lee said. “Punting and those two punt returns…short field allows you to be patient. It puts the defense in a bind right away. ”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

After giving up just 14 points last week, King Philip’s defense had another strong outing. Foxboro had just 92 yards of offense and KP recorded four sacks and one interception.

“We felt good about our defense, and we’re going to lean on them to get us going. We’ll play the field position and go from there. I’m very pleased with the defense. We don’t have a superstar this year. There’s no Shane [Frommer], no Mark Glebus, so we all have to chip in, we all have to contribute.”

Foxboro (0-2) will try to break into the win column when it plays Stoughton (1-1) at Canton High School.

Warriors Clamp Down on D to Beat Black Knights

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Devin Hassett (10), Louis Piccolo (7), and Sam Erving (51) celebrate after Foxboro’s narrow win over Stoughton; the Warriors’ first win in the series since 2009. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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FOXBORO, Mass. – In a game dominated by defenses and special teams, it was Foxboro senior quarterback Devin Hassett that pulled off arguably the play of the game on a soaked, muddy, and windswept Jack Martinelli Field in Friday’s Davenport division opener.

Facing third and 17 from his own 34 and with the Warriors clinging to a one-point lead over rival Stoughton, Hassett (11 carries, 90 yards) rolled out to the far sideline and followed a caravan of blockers, including classmate Mike Henri, before bursting through the opening for a 43-yard gain deep into Stoughton territory.

Although the Warriors did not score on the drive, the Black Knights were forced to start their final possession backed up inside their own five-yard-line with three minutes remaining. Stoughton drove about 70 yards but Alex Sjoquist was stopped at the Warriors 30 as the clock ran out on Foxboro’s 13-12 victory.

“If we had lost this one they would have taken the sign down probably,” Foxboro coach Jack Martinelli joked after picking up his first win at the field that was renamed for him in the preseason.

“It was a great game,” he added. “It was two hard-hitting teams of kids. I’m so proud of them; they took a tough loss last week in a game where we didn’t make a lot of big plays but we did tonight.”

Foxboro earned its first win over Stoughton since 2009, taking advantage of mistakes by the Black Knights to get its offense going. Stoughton fumbled three times in the opening half and the Warriors scored twice off of those turnovers.

“We haven’t done that in a long, long time,” said Stoughton coach Greg Burke. “That’s our fault. You can’t fumble the ball once you have it; it’s like gold and you better protect it no matter. I’m a little disappointed in that, but we battled.”

Stoughton spent almost the entire first half in its end of the field. Foxboro’s first possession ended in a three-and-out, but Liam Foley’s punt bounced off the leg of a Stoughton player and was recovered by Phil Dure at the Stoughton 35. The Black Knights defense, led by Sjoquist, John Jolley, Jason Joseph, and Anthony Burke, stuffed the Warriors and forced a turnover on downs but Foxboro had the territorial advantage.

“A big factor in the game was Liam Foley’s punting,” Martinelli explained. “It got us out of a hole where we continually went three-and-out, but he flipped the field for us and allowed us to play some good defense.”

In the second quarter, Justin Ly was stripped of the ball near the Stoughton bench and the Warriors recovered the loose ball at the Black Knights’ nine. After a penalty and an incomplete pass, Hassett (3-8, 26 yards) found Dure in the back corner of the end zone from 15 yards out to make it 6-0.

“Their first touchdown was a pattern that we went over all week,” said Burke, “but we just didn’t cover it. Hats off to them. We knew the quarterback was going to roll, get out of the pocket; he did a hell of a job. We got him a few times, but they got us more than we got them.”

The momentum was short-lived, as Ruben Gonzalez snared the ensuring kick-off at his own 11 and raced down the right sideline for a touchdown. Dure blocked the extra point and the score was tied 6-6.

On its next possession, Ly (11 carries, 51 yards) was stripped again and Shawn Teixeira recovered the loose ball for Foxboro at the Stoughton 35. Henri (11 carries, 40 yards) got the call for the Warriors and he burst through the middle for 12 yards on third and four to keep the drive alive and he finished the possession with another bruising 14-yard carry up the middle to give Foxboro the lead.

“I’ll take them anyway we can get them,” said Martinelli about using turnovers to score. “Points have been hard to come by this year, so 13 was a lucky number for us tonight. It was the first time that we’ve gone into halftime with a lead.”

Stoughton had the perfect start to the second half. Facing third and four on the opening possession, Alex Iverson (six carries, 93 yards) took a sweep to the left 26 yards to get near midfield. On the next snap, Iverson took an identical hand-off and this time broke it for a 52-yard score that cut the lead to one.

Dure again blocked the extra point, but an offsides penalty gave Stoughton another chance from a yard closer. Burke decided to go for two and the lead, but Iverson was stuffed on the conversion attempt. That point turned out to be the difference.

“It might have been the winning score,” said Burke of the decision to go for two. “I don’t mind going for that, thought we’d get it in, but it didn’t happen. It’s a big decision, of course it is.”

Foxboro’s defense was equally stout in dealing with the three-back look of the Black Knights and Sam Blake, Matt Pond, and AAlec Brodeur stymied several Stoughton drives.

After Hassett’s big play pushed Stoughton back to its own goal line, the visitors tried to put together one last drive. Iverson gained eight yards on third down and junior quarterback Evan Gibb (9-13, 54 yards) hit Iverson for 15 yards on fourth and 10 to get to the Foxboro 40. On fourth and 15, Gibb hit Colin Sanda for 15 yards on the Foxboro sideline to keep the drive going, but he could not get out of bounds and the clock ran down.

“I thought our guy was out of bounds and we weren’t really sure,” said Burke, “but they wound [the clock] and we should’ve spiked it, stopped it, and maybe had at least one pass. We went 70 yards, but that ain’t enough. If we get to the 20, we have a shot at kicking a field goal.”

Although 13 points was a high for the Foxboro offense this season, the Warriors have won twice and Martinelli said, “We’ve played pretty solid so far. We’ve got to continue; we’ve got to get better at a few things.”

Foxboro (2-1, 1-0) will try to continue its strong start to the league campaign when it travels to Canton. Stoughton (2-1, 0-1) will look to bounce back on Thursday with a trip to Sharon.

King Philip Wins Defensive Battle At Foxboro

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King Philip’s Tom Madden hauls in a touchdown pass in the second quarter against Foxboro. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
 
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
FOXBORO, Mass. – It was fitting that the first game played the recently dedicated Jack Martinelli Field had an old school feel to it.

Unfortunately, King Philip played the role of spoiler, walking away with a hard-earned 16-7 win over Foxboro.

Defense shined for both teams in the first game played on the grass at Ahern Middle School, the first regular season football game played there since it was named after Foxboro’s coach in August.

“That was a good old-fashioned football game, old school by both teams and both sets of kids,” Martinelli said. “[King Philip] made some big plays and we didn’t make enough, I think it came down to that. Both teams had good kickers, both teams played good defense. It was just a matter of a couple of big plays they made and we didn’t.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

King Philip punter Cole Baker averaged over 35 yards on his punts, his last pinning Foxboro deep in its own territory as it looked to complete a second half comeback.

Foxboro punter Liam Foley averaged over 40 yards on his four punts, and the Warriors defense limited visiting King Philip to just 70 yards of offense in the second half.

The longest drive by either team was 56 yards, orchestrated by KP quarterback Brendan Lydon in the second quarter, using eight plays to find the end zone.

Foxboro’s offense didn’t run more than four plays on an offensive series until its last two drives of the game, the first ending in a turnover on downs, the second stopped by the end of the game.

“If style points, we wouldn’t get any,” admitted KP head coach Brian Lee. “We’re playing pretty good defense though. And we’re playing pretty well on the special teams, Cole is doing a nice job kicking for us, putting the defense in good field position.

“We’re missing our hoggies [offensive line] from last year. They’re going to get better. We replaced all six of them from last year. They’re going to get better, it’s tough to get those tough first downs. We had a bunch of weird penalties we have to straighten out too.”

KP forced a quick three and out to start the game and quickly put points on the board. After an eight-play drive only resulted in 19 yards, the Warriors trotted out Baker, who drilled a 31-yard field goal with 4:14 left in the first quarter.

It looked Foxboro was ready to respond, starting with a 20-yard carry from Mike Henri (10 carries, 50 yards), a seven-yard carry and then a run that advanced into KP territory. But on that third carry, Aidan Bender forced a fumble on the tackle and Max Armour pounced on it to get the ball back for KP.

KP had to punt the ball back to Foxboro after its drive stalled but with Baker placing his kick to the Foxboro 10-yard line, KP’s defense was in a good spot. Two rushes for loss and an incompletion resulted in a punt back to the visitors.

“Defense is keeping us in there,” Lee said. “We were making big plays when we had to. It’s always a grind over here. Especially tonight, you know they are playing for their coach. You knew it was going to be a bloodbath out there.”

Shane Frommer had carries of six, seven, eight and 12 to get KP into the red zone. But a big stop from Foxboro’s Patrick Kaveny resulted in a one-yard loss, and then Matt Pond stopped a run for a five-yard loss, forcing KP into a 3rd and 16.

Lydon then tossed a perfect pass into the back of the end zone where senior Tom Madden hauled it in for a 25-yard touchdown. The extra point was low and blocked, giving KP a 9-0 lead with 6:24 left in the second quarter. KP took that lead into the halftime break.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“It was definitely a defensive battle,” Lee said. “The defense put is in a position for the first three points. We hit the big play for the [Madden] touchdown. Then we just hung on again, which we did last week. This was really a 9-7 game here and just scratching it out.”

Midway through the third quarter, King Philip was pinned inside its 10-yard line and elected to punt on third down. Foxboro took over at the KP 35 yard line and needed four plays to cut into the deficit.

A pair of runs from Henri (seven yards, three yards) sandwiched around a run from Anthony Capachietti (8 carries, 32 yards) set Foxboro up for 2nd and 7. Quarterback Devin Hassett elected to keep the ball on the option, raced out to the left side and followed a huge block from Teddy Maher around the edge to race for a 22-yard touchdown. Russell Neale’s extra point cut the deficit to 9-7 with 3:08 in the third quarter.

Foxboro picked up some momentum at the end of the third quarter when Henri picked off a pass from Lydon. But on the first play of the fourth quarter, an errant snap resulted in a 13-yard loss and two plays later, Foxboro had to punt.

The hosts got the ball back with 5:19 to play and started the drive with three straight positive plays. Back to back five-yard runs preceded a 14-yard completion from Hassett to Phil Dure. But a one-yard rush was followed by two incompletions.

Facing 4th and 9, Foxboro originally sent out its punt team but then decided to send the offense back out. Foxboro had to take a timeout, leaving them with just three. But before they could get a play off, a flag for delay of game cost the hosts five yards.

Armour, along with Kerr, Dylan Leonard and Jack Piller came up with a sack on the play, giving the ball back to KP’s offense.

“We have to find a way to get the ball into the end zone more consistently,” Martinelli said. “Whether it’s in the air or on the ground, we’re still searching. We answered some questions for ourselves tonight. Even though it’s a non-league game, it’s an important game.”

KP took advantage of the short field, using four plays with Kerr punching it in from five yards out with 1:29 to play to ice the game.

King Philip football (2-0) opens Kelley-Rex division play next week when it welcomes Attleboro (0-2) to Macktaz Field. Foxboro (1-1) welcomes Stoughton to Jack Martinelli Field in its Davenport division opener.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Field Dedicated to Longtime Foxboro Football Coach

Foxboro Football
Foxboro football coach Jack Martinelli addressed the crowd at a ceremony renaming the Ahern Middle School field in his honor. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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FOXBORO, Mass. – The crowd filed into their seats in the bleachers at the Ahern Middle School field on Sunday morning, including players in uniform, while friends, family, and speakers filled out the seats in front of the podium at midfield. When the crowd was settled, Foxboro fire trucks and police cruisers pulled in behind the bleachers with sirens blaring, providing an honorary motorcade to deliver the man of the hour.

Foxboro football coach Jack Martinelli, who will kick off his 36th season in charge when the Warriors travel to Hingham on Sept. 8, walked onto the grass field that he has called home for more than three decades and received a standing ovation from current and former players, town and state officials, fellow coaches, parents, alumni, and administrators who were all on hand to honor Martinelli’s contributions on and off the gridiron.

Sunday’s ceremony dedicated the field at Ahern in the longtime coach’s honor, renaming it Jack Martinelli Field to confirm the legacy of success that he has brought to the Foxboro football program and also, as the speakers all noted, his positive impact on more than 3,000 Warriors that have played for him.

“In 1982, I was given the opportunity of a lifetime,” Martinelli said. “With longtime friends and Norwood assistants Joe Mooney and Joe Smith…we embarked on a journey that has run the gamut of football emotions.

“Today’s generous honor really belongs to some 3,000 tough and hard-nosed Foxboro young men that always combined working class traditions with white-collar skills that had a passion for the game and always played with such unity, focus, and determined resolve.We grew together as coaches and players and shared the various responsibilities in victory and defeat.”

Martinelli has won 261 games in his time at Foxboro, which ranks him 10th in the state for career victories according to an article from the Boston Herald. He has won 11 Hockomock League titles and taken the Warriors to eight Super Bowls, winning four of them (the last one in 2006, which was also his 200th career win).

Mansfield coach Mike Redding spoke about his 30-year rivalry with Martinelli.
In addition, Martinelli, who came to Foxboro from Norwood High, has coached in the annual Shriner’s Game three times and twice was named the New England Patriots Coach of the Year. He has been inducted into the Massachusetts High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

When he took over the program in 1982, Martinelli had fewer than 30 players on the roster, but grew quickly into one of the largest programs in the Hockomock. Despite decreasing enrollment at the high school, which has made Foxboro one of the smallest schools in the league, the Warriors have more than 90 players on this fall’s roster

Longtime assistant coach Michael Bordieri, who was also a player when Martinelli was hired, recalled, “We only had 29 returning players from the year before and I remember we were all anxious and unsure of what to expect from our new coach. We came into the first meeting unsure…but I remember exactly how we felt as a team when we were leaving – confident, capable, and excited to play for coach.”

“Here we are 35 years later and although the record speaks for itself,” Bordieri continued, “it’s the relationship with players that matters most to coach.”

One of Martinelli’s longtime rivals also came to speak about his impact. Mansfield coach Mike Redding is beginning his 30th season in charge of the Hornets and he relishes the opportunity to face Martinelli each fall on Thanksgiving morning. He called the Mansfield – Foxboro rivalry “the best in the state of Massachusetts.”

“It’s not the banners and the rings,” Redding said, “it’s what he did for the players in the Foxboro uniforms…You will be a better young man having played for Jack Martinelli and when you get to be a senior you will be ready to play the best football of your life.

“I can say on behalf of all the coaches in our league that we have been simply amazed that, despite declining enrollment at Foxboro High, we still have to face 90-95 guys in blue and gold who compete at the highest level every single year.”

A person with a unique perspective on the influence that Martinelli has on the sideline is Jim Artz. A former Foxboro player, who was on the 1987 Super Bowl-winning team, Artz went on to join the Warriors coaching staff as an assistant and then faced Foxboro as an opponent while the head coach at Oliver Ames.

Artz said, “Coach genuinely cared for each of us in a way that we could feel the support and belief he had in us. He always gave sound advice and showed there was a light at the end of the tunnel.”

He continued, “To a player he trusted and believed that if given the opportunity his players would rise to the occasion…It’s a tremendous feeling to know the guy in charge believes in you and will always support you. I tell people that didn’t play for Foxboro about why they have been so good for so long and for me it was his players would always run through a wall for him.”

Former Foxboro player and OA coach Jim Artz spoke about his relationship with Coach Martinelli.
Another former player who provided the assembled crowd with unique insight into Martinelli’s career was Tom Nalen, a member of the 1987 and 1988 Super Bowl champion teams who went on to a successful collegiate career at Boston College and played 14 seasons with the Denver Broncos (winning two Super Bowls and being named to the Pro Bowl five times).

Even with the high level of coaching he received, Nalen credited Martinelli with teaching him the lessons that led to a professional career. He explained, “I’ve been around a lot of good coaches and they all have these positive attributes and just the combination of them – he’s the only one who had them.”

A sign for the scoreboard was revealed that bears the new field’s name and a banner was unveiled on the back side of the bleachers that can be viewed by all spectators entering the field. It was a fitting tribute to a coach that built the Foxboro program into a perennial power and who shows no signs of slowing down as he passes the midway point of his fourth decade at the helm.

“He is Foxboro,” Nalen insisted. “A guy from Milton, came to us from Norwood, lives in Holliston, but he’s Foxboro. He’s the guy. It ain’t Tom Brady; it’s Coach Martinelli.”

The Warriors will play their first game at Jack Martinelli Field on Sept. 15 against King Philip.

Sharon Holds Off Foxboro To Record Third Straight Win

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Sharon’s Nate Hirsh (left) tackles Foxboro’s Mark Clagg. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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SHARON, Mass. – Sharon scored a pair of touchdowns in the third quarter and denied a late two-point conversion attempt from Foxboro to hold on for a 14-12 win on Saturday afternoon.

After a scoreless first half, the Eagles scored on a pair of runs in the third quarter. Foxboro responded with two touchdowns in the fourth quarter but saw their two-point attempt with 1:41 come up short as Sharon moved to 3-0 on the season. Sharon senior Juvan Elisma proved to be a big difference maker, rushing for 186 yards on 23 carries.

“We knew they had athletes so we knew they’d get first downs and chunks of yards, but we didn’t want to give up big plays and until the very end, we didn’t,” Sharon head coach Dave Morse said. “And I thought we actually played with a higher level of physicality, we had some big hits on the perimeter and that might make skill players a little reluctant. Our d-line and linebackers stepped up and played well, I was very happy about it.”

All four of Sharon’s drives in the first half ended with punts, including their second drive that spanned 52 yards on seven plays. But even as the Eagles’ offense stalled, their defense was strong and kept Foxboro at bay. The Warriors punted on their first drive, missed a 43-yard field goal on their second drive, fumbled possession away on the third drive and their late drive in the second quarter ended with an interception.

Foxboro was set to receive the opening kickoff of the season half, but a bouncing kick was muffed and Sharon junior Brett Litner emerged with the ball at the Warriors’ 43 yard line. Sharon moved the sticks right away with a 12 yard run from Elisma and three plays later, quarterback Drew Naisuler used a sneak to move the chains again.

Back to back runs from Elisma moved the ball to the 5 yard line and Xavier Hackett ran it down to the 1 yard line. Naisuler kept it again for a touchdown, putting Sharon up 6-0. The two-point conversion was stuffed but Sharon had a lead with 7:17 left in the third.

“[The recovery] wasn’t by design but that’s basically six points you pull out of nowhere,” Morse admitted.

The Eagles forced a three and out on Foxboro’s first possession of the second half and then rattled of its longest drive of the game. Sharon used nine plays to cover 58 yards to find the end zone again. Elisma moved the chains with a 14 yard gain and then Naisuler connected with Austin Dodes for a 15 yard reception. Elisma converted a fourth down with a six yard rush, getting Sharon inside the 10 yard line. Elisma went for four more yards and Naisuler used a QB draw to dive up the middle for a 3 yard touchdown.

Elisma took the handoff and plunged into the end zone for the two point conversion, putting Sharon up 14-0 with 1:54 left in the third quarter.

“Juvan is a competitor, he’s an unbelievable player to coach, one of the better guys that I’ve been around,” Morse said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s Tuesday or Friday night, he’s the most prepared player on the field. In big games, you need guys like that to step up and he put us on his back and made huge plays. He was the difference in the game.”

Foxboro was finally able to get its offense in gear on its second drive of the final quarter. After punting on its first drive, the Warriors used a 12-play, 72-yard drive to get on the board over halfway through the fourth quarter. Senior Mark Clagg hit Trey Guerrini for a 17 yard reception to start the drive and Anthony Capachietti converted a 3rd and 2 just before midfield. Clagg hit Jamaine Few on third down for 8 yards to move the chains and then hit Phil Dure for 15 more yards.

On 2nd and goal from the four, Capachietti darted up the middle for a touchdown. Foxboro’s extra point was wide as Sharon had a 14-6 advantage with 3:25 to go.

After a touchback, Sharon was facing a 3rd and 5 from its own 25 yard line. Elisma looked like he iced the game, getting around the edge and sprinting ahead for a 42 yard gain. But on the next play, an option resulted in a fumble and Foxboro recovered with 2:16 left.

On second down, Clagg his Capachietti for a circus 18 yard gain, catching in the flat on the left side before racing back across to the right sideline. On the next play, Clagg bought some time in the pocket and then found a wide open Devin Hassett downfield for a 47 yard touchdown with 1:41 to play.

Clagg completed his pass on the two point attempt but Sharon’s defense kept the ball out of the end zone to preserve a two point lead. On the onside kick attempt, Naisuler came away the recovery. Elisma ran for 10 yards on second down to move the chains and from there, Sharon was able to kill the clock with kneel downs.

The Eagles had plenty of players make contributions on both sides of the ball. Naisuler, the quarterback, recovered a fumble and handled the onside kick. Dodes had a pair of catches on offense and an interception on defense. Senior Nate Hirsh was not only a big factor on both the offensive and defensive lines, he had a strong day punting, averaging nearly 40 yards per punt and a long of 58 yards.

“We try to condition at a very high level because numbers wise, we’re Sharon – this is what we are. Sometimes you just need the right 40 instead of the wrong 80 and we got two way guys, we get them to believe in it and condition because for four quarters, we need legs. Look at Elisma, he’s still breaking tackles in the fourth quarter. That’s conditioning.”

Foxboro had the advantage in yards (299-240) and held Sharon to a poor third down conversion rate, but three turnovers hurt immensely.

“[Sharon] played great, you can’t take anything away from them,” Foxboro head coach Jack Martinelli said. “But you just can’t play seven minutes out of 44 and expect to win a game. [Elisma] was tough today, he ran good. It’s been kind of a sore spot for us this year on the edge.

“You have to play more than seven minutes of the game. It’s pretty cut and dry – too little too late.”

While Sharon nearly gave up its lead in the fourth quarter, Morse was happy that his young squad was able to make just enough plays to hold on.

“We’re still young so to give up those big plays but make a couple more and keep us in the lead, it’s good for a young team,” Morse said. “We’ll keep growing but we’re hoping that’s something that can pay big dividends in November when you’re playing in a big game.”

Sharon football (3-0, 1-0) will try to remain unbeaten when they host Stoughton on Saturday while Foxboro (1-2, 0-1) will host Canton on Friday night at the Ahern Middle School.

Dominant Performance Gives King Philip Second Win

King Philip football
Foxboro’s Paul Darcy tackles King Philip’s Dylan Leonard following Leonard’s interception. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 
WRENTHAM, Mass. – If you could draw up a prototypical King Philip football game, the Warriors’ 21-0 win over Foxboro on Friday night probably wouldn’t be too far off.

King Philip had its running game going, amassing all 236 of their offensive yards on the ground. The defense was stout, holding Foxboro to under 50 yards of total offense and forcing a turnover. And KP dominated on time of possession, picking up 17 first downs compared to just three for Foxboro.

“It’s nice when you can do it,” King Philip head coach Brian Lee said of being able to continuously run the ball. “The other facets of the game will come. Some nights we’ll be throwing it all over the place, you just never know what you’re going to get for defensive looks. We just played good defense, so you feel comfortable being patient.”

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Senior back Sean Garrity (17 carries, 102 yards) went over the century mark for the second straight week while Shane Frommer (14 carries, 66 yards) and fullback Alex Olsen (seven carries, 46 yards) proved to be viable options as well.

Both teams advanced inside the opposition’s 30-yard line on the opening drives but both sides failed to convert on fourth down. Mark Clagg’s pass to Jamaine Few in the end zone went incomplete to end Foxboro’s drive while Trey Guerrini broke up Brendan Lydon’s pass on fourth on KP’s opening possession.

Foxboro’s second possession resulted in a punt and the end of the first quarter. King Philip worked the first drive of the second quarter inside the red zone but their 27-yard field goal attempt was short.

The first turn of events finally came on Foxboro’s next possession when Dylan Leonard jumped the route, picking off Clagg on 3rd and 8 from the Foxboro 22 yard line. Leonard was able to get some yards on the return, setting up KP in the red zone.

After Lydon converted a 4th and 1 and the nine with a sneak, Frommer and Garrity took back to back carries to get it to the two yard line. Lydon took it in himself with the sneak and freshman Cole Baker’s extra point gave KP a 7-0 lead just 41 seconds before halftime.

“The hogs up front have been doing a good job, they were really stacking it in there and bringing a lot of dudes,” Lee said. “They got penetration a couple of times but we snuck by it and we were able to make plays. Our backs run the ball real hard, I have a lot of faith in them. If we miss a block, the backs can make a guy miss and fall forward for three yards and we’ll get it from there.”

KP started the second half in similar style, keeping the ball on the ground to move up the field. After Garrity was stopped in the back field for his first loss of the day, he took his next carry 33 yards up the left sideline, nearly breaking free for the end zone. Frommer romped through the defense for 15 yards on a pair of carries and Garrity took 15 more. Frommer was tripped up just outside the goal line, leading to Lydon’s second touchdown, this one a 1 yard sneak. Baker’s extra point gave King Philip a 14-0 lead with 4:58 left in the third quarter.

“We were on the field way too much defensively tonight,” Foxboro head coach Jack Martinelli said. “You can only make so many stops and we didn’t punch back. You have to give them credit, they’re a good football team, they play hard, they play tough both ways. The score reflects the game was played.

“They were tougher, they deserved the 21-0 score.”

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Foxboro was forced into punts on its next two drives, the latter coming from deep inside its own territory. Guerrini skied a nice punt that reached midfield but KP’s Andrew Dittrich found some space on the right side and raced for a 42 yard return, giving KP possession inside the 10. After a pair of runs from Olsen, Lydon grabbed his third touchdown with yet another 1 yard sneak. Baker’s extra point made it 21-0 with 8:36 left in the game.

“It’s complimentary football. It’s cliche to say right now but it’s nice to have it,” Lee said. “Special teams, we’ve been waiting to make a big play in special teams. In the past we’ve always had a guy that can do that and we’re starting to develop that now. Hopefully that’s something we can capitalize on and get good field position.”

Nathan Gudas, Evan Rice and Sam Saintilus came up with sacks on Foxboro’s last possession, putting an end to the game. King Philip had five sacks with Garrity, John DeLuca, and Nick Kerr also getting in on the action.

“The kids played really good,” Lee said of his defense. “All of the guys in the secondary, they are all returning players. So all last year, they got tons of work. Last year when we played [Foxboro] they went right down the field throwing the ball. It started that way tonight but the kids settled down, made some adjustments, we got some pressure and went from there. When you get a lead, you feel good and we were able to keep it away from them. It wasn’t as pretty as we’d like it to be but it was good enough to get it done.”

King Philip football moves to 2-0 with wins over two Davenport division teams, which do not count to the league record. It marks just the fourth time in history KP has beat Foxboro and North in the same season, including 2011, 2009 and 1969. The Warriors will start their Kelley-Rex schedule with a trip to Oliver Ames next week.

“Back in the old days, we’d be sitting pretty good right now,” Lee said with a laugh of beating North and Foxboro to start the season. “The guys don’t really understand what the big three [Foxboro, North, Mansfield] was in the Hock. We used to waive the white flag to Jack, we used to hope North Attleboro would stop scoring. To be competitive with those guys means everything.”

Foxboro (1-1) will open up Davenport play on Saturday when they take a visit to Sharon to play the Eagles, who are sitting at 2-0.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.