Canton and Foxboro each scored a pair of touchdowns in the final 9:11 of play, sending the game to overtime for the second straight year.
Canton got the ball first but Foxboro’s Jake Addeche came up with an interception in the end zone on a third-down throw, giving the Warriors the ball.
Foxboro’s offense trotted on the field, gaining a total of four yards on the ground on its first two plays. The Warriors then sent out its field goal unit on third down. That’s when a bit of controversy took center stage.
The Bulldogs’ coaching staff was quick to protest, claiming the referees had told them that kicking wasn’t allowed in the overtime. A 15-minute plus discussion between refs, coaches and school administrators followed.
That conversation resulted in Foxboro not being allowed to kick a field goal either. The Warriors then sent the offensive unit back out, and on the first play, senior Devin Hassett (12/21, 140 yards) hit classmate Jack O’Donnell (five catches, 78 catches, 2 touchdowns) in the corner of the end zone for a six-yard touchdown and the win.
“He was doing it most of the night when we needed it,” Martinelli said of the decision to throw to O’Donnell. “So you have to go to your best guy there. Devin delivered and [O’Donnell] made a great catch. We had run a couple of slants so we went outside.”
The overtime period put an exclamation point on what was a wild and entertaining fourth quarter.
“They have a lot more ice water in their veins than I do I guess. It was a heck of a game,” Martinelli said. “I knew Canton would be tough, I knew they’d be tough. And I kind of thought it would be a trap game for us. That game could have gone either way.”
Canton head coach Dave Bohane said he not only asked once, but double checked with both the head ref and sideline ref about the field goal rule.
“Give [Foxboro] credit, they made the play at the end,” Bohane said. “I would have run on third down and then kicked it if we knew we could have.”
After a scoreless first quarter that saw three turnovers – two from the Warriors and one from Canton – Foxboro finally opened the scoring late in the second quarter. Facing a 3rd and 12 from the Canton 29 yard line, Hassett floated one down the right sideline that O’Donnell hauled in for a 26-yard catch.
Two plays later, Foxboro’s Mike Henri took the carry up the middle for a 5-yard touchdown. After the missed extra point, the Warriors held a 6-0 lead with 3:13 left in the first half.
Both teams had their next offensive series cut short as Foxboro forced a fumble but the Bulldogs came back and picked up their second interception of the game, this one in the hands of Marquise Montes.
Canton started the second half with a big stop, forcing a three-and-out from Foxboro’s offense. After 18 yards from sophomore Kyle Fitzgerald on two carries, senior Alec Ragusa (14 carries, 129 yards, TD) broke free and rumbled his way for a 59-yard touchdown. Owen Lehane’s extra point put the Dogs up, 7-6, with 6:43 left in the third quarter.
Foxboro strung together its longest series of the day, using 15 plays to cover 64 yards to re-take the lead. Hassett hit O’Donnell for 24-yards early on in the drive, one again for nine yards on a third down, and then on a slant route into the end zone for a 13-yard score. Hassett then hit O’Donnell for the two-point conversion and a 14-7 lead with 9:11 to play.
“Offensively in the second half, we did some good things,” Martinelli said. “First half we had opportunities and didn’t capitalize. We played better defense in the first half than we did in the second half but that’s credit to Ragusa and what they run for an offense.”
Canton came marching right back, moving the ball down field behind first down runs from Ragusa twice and sophomore Gersom Rivera (10 carries, 81 yards) once. Facing 4th and 2 from the 11, Canton quarterback Johnny Hagan floated one into the corner of the end zone where Tony Harris drew a pass interference call.
That put the ball on the two-yard line, and Fitzgerald took the sweep up the middle and into the end zone to tie the game with 4:54 left to play.
The score didn’t stay level for long. A nice kick return from Addeche (three returns, 32.3 average yards per return) set Foxboro at their own 38-yard line. On 2nd and 1, Hassett used a QB option to keep it himself, racing 52 yards down the left sideline before being pushed out at the one-yard line.
Two plays later, Hassett kept it himself and went in from one-yard out to make it 21-14 with 2:29 left.
But once again, Canton had a response. Two plays into the ensuing drive, Hagan hit Harris over the middle and the senior turned on the jets, racing 70 yards for a touchdown to tie it 21-21 with 2:01 left.
“These kids are resilient,” Bohane said. “They are young but they are playing hard. We needed this one, but so did Foxboro. The plays we made at the end, to get us into overtime, were amazing. But these kids have been phenomenal, I’ve loved coaching them so far this year.”
Foxboro moved back into scoring position in the final minute. With 12 seconds left, and no timeouts, the Warriors took a shot at the end zone but Canton’s Cordel Smith came up with an interception at the goal line and his return killed off the final seconds of the clock of regulation.
Foxboro football (3-1 overall, 2-0 Hockomock) returns to action next Friday night with a trip to Community Field to take on North Attleboro. Canton (1-3, 0-2) will try to bounce back when they take on Stoughton at Stonehill College at 7:30.