Tuesday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 01/12/16

Today’s games are listed below.
Boys Basketball
Milford, 55 @ Attleboro, 70 – Final – Attleboro had three players score in double-digits, led by a career-high 24 points for junior Jake Dunkley, who also added seven rebounds. Junior Andrew Milliken had 16 points and five rebounds, sophomore Nate Douglas had 14 points and four rebounds and senior Kyle Murphy had 14 rebounds to go along with seven points. Milford’s Zack Tamagni scored a team-high 20 points for the Scarlet Hawks. 

Canton, 34 @ North Attleboro, 43 – Final – North Attleboro junior Brent Doherty scored 11 of his game-high 15 points in the second half, including nine of them in the third quarter, which was the period the Rocketeers created an eight point cushion. Senior Ridge Olsen added nine points and Kyle Gaumond had six. Canton’s Tony Harris had 12 points for the Bulldogs.

Foxboro, 60 @ Franklin, 65 – Final (OT) – Senior Tim Prunier scored a game-high 18 points while freshman Jay Dieterle scored 13 points, senior Kevin Gill had 12 points, five rebounds and four assists and Josh Macchi had 11 points and eight rebounds. Foxboro’s Jason Procaccini scored 17 points, Robby Lowey added 12 points and six rebounds and Mark Clagg had 11 points. 

Sharon, 45 @ King Philip, 52 – Final – King Philip broke into the win column, pouring in 20 points in the first quarter and never looking back. Seth Sullivan had a game-high 13 points while junior Pharaoh Davis added 11 points and junior Noah Goodwin had 10 points. Peter Banks had 10 points for Sharon, who went 2/24 from 3PT range as a team. 

Oliver Ames, 63 @ Mansfield, 78 – Final – Junior Sam Goldberg netted a career-high 23 points (17 in the second half) pulled in 10 rebounds and had four assists to lead the Hornets. Matt Ehrlich added 17 points and Max Boen added 11 points. Oliver Ames’ Tim Kelley had 20 points and Connor Maroney added 15 points. 

Stoughton, 53 @ Taunton, 81 – Final – Senior Jose Mercado netted 25 points and junior Quan Roberson added 22 points as Taunton’s offense scored a season-high 81 points. Stoughton sophomore Cam Andrews had 14 points to lead the Black Knights. 
Girls Basketball
North Attleboro, 50 @ Canton, 38 – Final – North Attleboro was led by junior guard Ashley Ahern, who finished with 18 points. For the second straight night, Hannah Jerrier recorded a double-double for Canton with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

Franklin, 45 @ Foxboro, 51 – Final – Sophomore Ashley Sampson led the way for the Warriors with 21 points while sophomore Lily Sykes chipped in with 12 points for Foxboro. 

King Philip, 53 @ Sharon, 45 – Final – KP rallied from eight down in the fourth quarter behind 18 points from freshman Julia Leroux (nine in the fourth quarter alone). Sam Madden added 12 for the Warriors, who outscored the Eagles 22-7 in the final quarter. Sharon was led by Alyssa Piazza with 14 points and Charlotte Ransom with 12.

Mansfield, 48 @ Oliver Ames, 32 – Final – Caroline Maher led the way for the Hornets with 16 points in a game between the top two teams in this week’s girls basketball Hock 5. Meg Hill added eight points and nine rebounds and Jen Peel had eight points and eight assists for Mansfield.

Attleboro, 54 @ Milford, 26 – Final – The Bombardiers were without star forward Sarah Deyo but pulled out the win on the road led by 18 points and 12 rebounds from sophomore Sam Pierce. Emma Vlashi added 12 points for Attleboro in just her second game back from injury and Fatima McDonald chipped in with eight steals.

Taunton, 52 @ Stoughton, 54 – Final – Stoughton seniors Jess Greer and Alecia Quinones each scored a team-high 18 points to lead the Black Knights to a close win. Taunton senior Jordan Wade had 16 points while Lily Patneaude and Alyssa Gibson each added 12 points for the Tigers. 
Hockey
Canton, 11 @ Stoughton, 1 – Final – Senior Matty Marcone netted his first career goal to lead the Bulldogs to a league win.
Wrestling
Taunton, 42 vs. Josiah Quincy 36 – Final – The Tigers got wins from Chris Fernandes (120), Justin Bradley (132), Brandon DeForitis (145), Alex Simon (170), Jose Anaya (182), Nuno Camara (195), and Mason Frank (220).
Swimming
Boys
Foxboro, 51 @ Oliver Ames, 103 – Final
Girls
Foxboro, 80 @ Oliver Ames, 90 – Final

Mansfield’s Defense Buys Offense Time Against North

By Josh Schafer, HockomockSports.com Student Reporter
MANSFIELD, Mass. – On a night where Mansfield only had one player score in double digits, the Hornets were still able to get the victory due to their emphasis on team play. The Hornets played swarming defense all night and ‘ used a balanced attack on offense to get a 61-43 win.
The game started slow as both teams struggled to find their touch. North Attleboro senior Kyle Gaumond opened the game with a three pointer as the Rocketeers took the early lead. The game carried on for another three and a half minutes before Mansfield finally found the net with a layup from Phil Vigeant. North’s Brent Doherty hit another three later in the quarter to give North a 9-8 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Acknowledging the sluggish start, Mansfield head coach Mike Vaughan felt it was his defense that held his team together early.
“We did a great job defensively keeping things where we needed it until we found a way to take shots,” Vaughan said.
Both teams found their stride as the second quarter started. The Hornets came out hot with baskets from senior Kyle Swansburg, junior Max Boen and Vigeant to capture an early five-point lead. North Attleboro answered right back with four points from senior Ridge Olsen as the Mansfield lead was cut to one. After trading several baskets, the half ended with a crafty buzzer-beating floater from, Doherty who led the Rocketeers with 17 points. Although trailing by two entering the half, Big Red’s defense looked strong and used variety in their defensive schemes to hold the stout hornet offense to only 23 points.
“Offensively in the first half we struggled,” Vaughan said, attributing some of the offense’s first half woes to North Attleboro’s great defensive play., “North does a great job changing between zone and man defenses.”
Unfortunately for the Rocketeers, it was the tale of two halves. Swansburg led the charge out of halftime with a free throw, a rebound down the other end of the court followed up by layup on the offensive side of the ball. It was the big men down low who played a major role in the Hornets’ success on both sides of the ball. Swansburg and Sam Goldberg combined for 13 points and nine rebounds on the night. The two players were relentless below the basket and made it difficult for North to work the ball down low. Vaughan described them as a “nice combo,” indicating the two complement each other nicely.
North battled to hang around with buckets from Chad Peterson and Doherty to end the third trailing 40-29. This however would be the closest the Rocketeers would get in the closing minutes. After Mansfield pulled ahead with a three pointer from Christian Weber (team high 13 points), a steal and fast break layup from Vigeant the game put an exclamation point on the win. Doherty refused to go down without a fight scoring 10 of North Attleboro’s 14 4th quarter points
The Hornets (5-0) looked to keep their undefeated campaign rolling as they take on Taunton (4-2) on Friday night in Mansfield at 7:00. North Attleboro (1-3) looks to get back on track in a Kelley-Rex showdown against rival Attleboro (2-4) at 5:30

Big Red Scores Big Upset On The Road At Taunton

North Attleboro players celebrate after beating Taunton for the first time since the Tigers joined the Hockomock League. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
North Attleboro players celebrate after beating Taunton for the first time since the Tigers joined the Hockomock League. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)

By Ryan Lanigan, Editor-in-Chief
TAUNTON, Mass. – Two years removed from a winless season and one year removed from a five win campaign, North Attleboro was hoping to continue to go in the right direction this season.
They took one giant step in the right direction on Friday night, opening up their season up with a thrilling 76-74 win over Taunton.
It was truly a back and forth game with 18 lead changes (six in the fourth quarter alone) with the largest lead for either being five points (North on six different occasions). In the end, North Attleboro closed out the game with a 9-4 run.
“It’s a testament to the kids and their work ethic between this season and last season and believing in themselves,” North Attleboro coach Sean Mulkerrins said. “All week long we talked about taking punches and fighting back knowing that you don’t come in to Taunton at anytime and beat a Taunton team easily so it says a lot about our kids.”
Taunton was holding onto a slim lead for the majority of the fourth quarter following a three pointer from Jose Mercado to make it 63-62. A layup from Tommy MacLean extended Taunton’s lead to three but Brent Doherty answered at the basket to make it a one point game again. Tigers junior Lens Esquil hit a baseline jumper but once again North had an answer, this time a three from Kyle Gaumond to tie it 67-67 with 3:19 left in the game.
The Tigers missed a three on the other end but Esquil came away with the offensive board. He found Quan Roberson and the junior drilled a line drive three to put Taunton in front with under two minutes to play. On the other end North Attleboro junior Jonny Friberg was unable to convert his first attempt but grabbed the rebound, went back up and converted while getting fouled. Friberg hit the free throw to tie it at 70 with 2:09 left.
North Attleboro fouled off the ensuing inbounds to send Taunton to the line for two shots, but Roberson was unable to convert. On the other end, Doherty used a screen from Chad Peterson to get some space and drained a three with 1:40 left.
On the other end, Taunton had a couple of chances but couldn’t convert. MacLean’s three rimmed out but Mercado grabbed the rebound. Mercado then tried a three but it didn’t fall but MacLean got the offensive board. MacLean attacked the hoop with a nice spin move but his shot was a little hard off the glass and Ridge Olsen pulled the board down for North. Olsen was fouled and hit both free throws to put North ahead 75-70 with 1:01 left.
Carlos Borrero hit one free throw on the other end to get within four and then the Tigers forced a turnover late in the shot clock to get the ball back. Roberson went up for a dunk but a foul on Friberg sent him to the line. Roberson was able to hit one to make it a one possession game. Peterson pulled down the rebound on the miss and found Thomas Reynolds up ahead, where he was fouled. Reynolds hit the first of two first throws to make it 76-72. Borrero drove to the basket and converted with 2.8 left.
North was able to use Doherty to draw the attention of three defenders on the inbounds out of a timeout and Peterson found a wide open Olsen and he dribbled out the time.
The Rocketeers finished with a 34-21 rebound on the boards, including 13 offensive rebounds. North shot nearly 50% from beyond the arc as they went 9/20. Taunton finished just 9/23 from the free throw line.
“It was just basic fundamental stuff,” Taunton head coach Charlie Dacey said. “A – obviously making free throws, B – blocking out, and C – making better decisions on the offensive end. I don’t think we made great decisions offensively or defensively, I don’t know where their heads were.”
““It goes back to the kids and I give them praise,” Mulkerrins said. “I don’t think it’s something natural for our group to have to get physical and box and get back on defense.”
The largest lead for Taunton was four points as each time they were able to get success going, North Attleboro had an answer.
When Mercado hit a three in the second quarter to tie the game at 16, Peterson answered with one of his own. Esquil tied the game on a layup at 27-27 but Olsen answered with a jumper and then Friberg hit a putback at the buzzer to give North a four point lead at the break.
Taunton took its first lead of the second half behind a basket at the rim from Mercado but it didn’t last long as Doherty drained a three on the other end. Roberson answered that with a three but on the other end Friberg cleaned up a miss and put it right up for two.
In the third quarter, a fast break from MacLean put Taunton up 51-50 but Reynolds and Olsen hit back to back baskets in the paint. At the end of the quarter, Sam Morrison used an extra pass to find Olsen right before the buzzer to give North a 56-54 lead.
“Every time they threw us a punch, we stood up and hit back,” Mulkerrins said.
Doherty led the Rocketeers with 20 points and five assists, Gaumond added 13 points and two rebounds, Friberg had 13 points and six assists, Reynolds finished with 12 points and four boards and Olsen had a double-double with 12 points and 15 rebounds.
Mercado led Taunton with a game-high 24 points and six rebounds, Roberson had 21 points and five rebounds, MacLean had 14 points and three assists and Borrero finished with seven points and six assists.
North Attleboro (1-0) will be back in action on Monday when they travel to Sharon (1-1) while Taunton (1-1) will take a trip to Foxboro (2-0). Both games are set to tip off at 6:30.
Ryan Lanigan can be contacted at RyanLanigan@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @R_Lanigan.

Friday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 12/18/15

Today’s games are listed below.
Boys Basketball
Attleboro, 39 @ Franklin, 72 – Final – The Panthers amped up their defense in the second half, turning a nine point lead at halftime into a 33 point win. Tim Prunier had a game-high 20 points, Paul Mahon scored 16 points and Connor Goldstein had 11 points. Attleboro’s Jake Dunkley had a team-high 16 points. 

King Philip, 36 @ Mansfield, 70 – Final – Mansfield hit 11 three pointers including five from junior Phil Vigeant for 15 points. Sam Goldberg added 14 points and seven rebounds and Matt Ehrlich had 10 points. 

Milford, 33 @ Oliver Ames, 41 – Final – Tim Kelley led Oliver Ames with nine points while head coach Don Byron said Charlie Ryan had a strong defensive game for the Tigers. Milford’s Nate Davila had a game-high 13 points for the Scarlet Hawks. 

North Attleboro, 76 @ Taunton, 74 – Final – North Attleboro had five players score in double digits. Brent Doherty led the Rocketeers with 20 points and five assists, Kyle Gaumond added 13 points and two rebounds, Jonny Friberg had 13 points and six assists, Tommy Reynolds finished with 12 points and four boards and Ridge Olsen had a double-double with 12 points and 15 rebounds.

Stoughton, 54 @ Sharon, 64 – Final – Ricardo Ripley had a team-high 15 points for Sharon while Matt Lowerre added 14 points and Tyler Smith chipped in with 13 points. Stoughton’s Brandon Teixeira led the Black Knights with 16 points and 16 rebounds. 
Girls Basketball
Franklin, 43 @ Attleboro, 48 – Final – The Panthers battled back to get the Attleboro lead to as few as four points after trailing by as many as 16 in the second half. Aubrie Kutil was the top scorer for Franklin with 14 points and Lauren Rudolph chipped in with 13. 

Mansfield, 44 @ King Philip, 30 – Final – The Hornets improved to 3-0 with the win. Caroline Maher scored 11 points to lead Mansfield while sophomore Meg Hill just missed a triple-double with eight points, 10 rebounds, and eight blocks. 

Oliver Ames, 57 @ Milford, 17 – Final – Hannah Carroll, Kayla Raymond and Francesca Calabraro each scored 11 points apiece in the win for Oliver Ames. 

Taunton, 14 @ North Attleboro, 46 – Final – The Rocketeers were led by junior forward Caroline Collard, who scored 17 points. Taunton was led by senior Jordan Wade with three points.

Sharon, 45 @ Stoughton, 57 – Final – Alecia Quinones led all scorers with 22 points, her second straight 20-point game for the Black Knights. Alyssa Piazza led the way for Sharon with 13 points, while Emma Eberhardt added 11 points and seven rebounds and Ashley Mukasa tacked on 10. 
Hockey
Canton, 4 vs. Franklin, 2 – Final – Shaun Kirby scored a pair of goals for the Bulldogs, who came back from a goal down twice in the first period. Matt Lazaro and Jim Jenkins each scored in the third period to give the Bulldogs the win at Schneider Arena at Providence College. Adam Assad and Jeremy Miller scored the Franklin goals.

Stoughton, 2 vs. Holliston, 2 – Final – Stoughton’s Mark Sheehan scored both of the goals for Stoughton. Head coach Dan Mark said freshmen AJ Scott played well in goal for the Black Knights.
Wrestling
Cohasset Quad (Oliver Ames) – The Tigers had a strong showing, beating Silver Lake (39-30) and Cohasset (54-20) but lost a close match with defender D3 State Champion Somerset (37-31). Cobey Williamson went 2-0 with a pair of pins at 106, Liston Funai was 3-0 with two pins at 132, Anthony Berksza was 2-1 at 138, Shea O’Connor went 2-1 at 145 and Pat Mills was 2-0 at 220. 
Swimming
Boys
Canton, 92 @ Ashland, 83 – Final
Franklin, 86 @ Foxboro, 21 – Final
Mansfield, 69 @ King Philip, 98 – Final
North Attleboro, 69 @ Sharon, 105 – Final
Girls
Canton, 72 @ Ashland, 97 – Final
Franklin, 97 @ Foxboro, 40 – Final
Mansfield, 85 @ King Philip, 93 – Final
North Attleboro, 90 @ Sharon, 78 – Final
Stoughton @ Taunton, 4:00
Girls Hockey
Franklin, 4 @ Medway/Ashland, 2 – Final – Haley Griffin, Regan Paterson, Marlee Paterson and Kate Cashman each scored in the win for the Panthers. 

Boys Basketball: Kelley-Rex Division Preview 2015-16

North Attleboro has high hopes for the season with Brent Doherty, Ridge Olsen (5) and many more experienced players back. (Ryan Lanigan.HockomockSports.com)
North Attleboro has high hopes for the season with Brent Doherty, Ridge Olsen (5) and many more experienced players back. (Ryan Lanigan.HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

ATTLEBORO

2014-2015 Record: 3-19
2014-2015 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Mark Houle
After winning just three games a season ago, the Bombardiers will be looking to make a push back to the postseason in 2015-2016. One big reason that Big Blue has high hopes for this season is a healthy Kyle Murphy. The 6’3 senior missed over half the season last year with an injury but looks primed to be a leader for the Bombardiers this season. When he’s on the court, Attleboro will have the rebounding advantage and he’s able to convert in the paint to help the offense.
Head coach Mark Houle will also have junior Andrew Milliken back this season, who has the ability to attack the rim and find success at the hoop. Houle said the 6’2 forward has improved his shooting range, which will help Attleboro spread the floor some. Jake Dunkley is another shooter that will help Attleboro while point guard Lucas Boucicaut is back with an improved skill set. Along with Milliken and Murphy, Houle has 6’3 forward Berlyns Abraham as another presence in the paint.
“We have been working hard and getting better everyday,” Houle said. “Our team is still developing but I really like how hard we are playing throughout each practice.   Our senior leadership has been very good.  I like our confidence in each other and overall team chemistry.”

FRANKLIN

2014-2015 Record: 18-6
2014-2015 Finish: Reached D1 Central Semifinal
Coach: CJ Neely
The Panthers were close to returning to the D1 Central Sectional Final last year but with four of the starters from that team graduated, there will be plenty of minutes to be had this season. Senior point guard Tim Prunier, who is one of the top players in the entire league, is the lone starter returning while forward Josh Macchi, who saw got some experience coming off the bench last year is also back.
But just because names like Marcus Giese, Dylan Reno, Markus Bohmiller and Shawn Hanley are gone doesn’t mean the Panthers won’t be competitive this year. In fact, Franklin will likely be in the thick of the Kelley-Rex division race. There will be plenty of new faces but they almost all have good size and can shoot the ball, two traits that will make Franklin a tough opponent. And unsurprisingly, the Panthers will likely be one of the top defensive teams.
“This is a team that only needs to focus on getting better each day,” head coach CJ Neely said. “Our goals are day to day improvement and we will let the results take care of themselves. We will pride ourselves on strong defense and tremendous effort and teamwork. Offensively, we have a lot of guys who are capable of playing well and as soon as we trust each other, make the extra pass and consistently compete together on both sides of the floor, I think we can have a good season. I have been very impressed with the team’s willingness to be coachable and get better each day. It should be a fun year.”

KING PHILIP

2014-2015 Record: 11-10
2014-2015 Finish: Reached D1 South Preliminary Round
Coach: Matt Coute
In the first year with Matt Coute at the helm, the Warriors made it back to the postseason after a two year hiatus. Now Coute will have a different looking squad with better outside shooting and a reliance on sound defense.
Senior Ben Smith and juniors Noah Goodwin and Will Weir will be the most experienced players for a young King Philip team. The Warriors know they could play the underdog role a bit more this season and that’s something they’re relishing. And while the Warriors might not have a ton of experience, there is still plenty of talent amongst the younger players.
Freshman Kyle Layman will look to make an immediate impact while sophomore transfer Pharaoh Davis and sophomore Tom Madden could see plenty of minutes this season.
“So far in the young season, I have been excited to come to practice and work with this young group everyday,” Coute said. “Despite the inexperience, they are showing signs of really coming together as a group. Our young guys are stepping up, our older guys are showing great leadership on and off the court, and our new additions will help us greatly leading forward. I feel as though the kids believe they have something to prove to people and they are coming to practice everyday with the right focus. We just need to continue to stay the course, especially with so many new pieces.”

MANSFIELD

2014-2015 Record: 23-3
2014-2015 Finish: Reached D1 South Sectional Final
Coach: Mike Vaughan
Over each of the past couple of seasons, the Hornets have had to deal with lots of turnover, including losing league MVPs, many all stars and plenty of other great players. Yet still, the Hornets have reached the D1 State Final, the D1 South Semifinal and the D1 South Finals in the last three years.
That run will be tested this year as once again Mansfield graduated a ton of talent, including Hockomock League MVP Ryan Boulter and HockomockSports.com Player of the Year Michael Boen. But at the same time, head coach Mike Vaughan will be returning plenty of players that have a good amount of varsity experience.
Senior Nick Baskin and junior Math Ehrlich are both starting their third varsity season and along with seniors Kyle Swansburg and John Gouvalaris will be relied on to be the leaders for the Hornets this season.
Meanwhile, players like juniors Christian Weber, Sam Goldberg, Phil Vigeant and Max Boen all saw plenty of minutes of the past season and will try to fit into the rotation.
“Trying to replace guys like Boen and Boulter will be difficult, but I think we will do it by committee,” Vaughan said. “This is one of the deeper teams I have had where every guy can play and does things well. We will see different guys lead us each night.
“I’m expecting big things out of the three seniors who have waited for this to be their time, and Ehrlich, Goldberg, Boen, Vigeant and Weber are all underclassman with varsity experience who are ready to write their own two year chapter in the history books.”

NORTH ATTLEBORO

2014-2015 Record: 5-15
2014-2015 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Sean Mulkerrins
Expectations are high in Big Red country and for good reason. The Rocketeers have nearly everyone back from last year’s team and despite that team only winning five games, they were one of the few teams that were better than their record.
Junior Brent Doherty had a breakout campaign during his second season on varsity last year and could be one of the top players in the entire league this season. Doherty, a point guard, is mighty quick and despite only being 5’9, is able to slice through defenses to get to the rim. Sophomore Chad Peterson, a strong player who can shoot from the perimeter, will be looking to follow up on a strong rookie campaign and senior Kyle Gaumond that has good range on his shot and will be one of the Rocketeers top defenders this season.
On top of that, senior Ridge Olsen is one of the most experienced players in the league while Thomas Reynolds, Jonny Friberg and Kyle McCarthy all saw good minutes last year.
“We’re very excited about the upcoming season,” head coach Sean Mulkerrins said. “With a large amount of talented varsity players returning, we have high expectations for a tournament birth. We expect to compete each night in the Hockomock League for victories.”

TAUNTON

2014-2015 Record: 19-5
2014-2015 Finish: Reached D1 South Sectional Semifinal
Coach: Charlie Dacey
After making it to the D1 South Sectional Semifinal last season, the Tigers will be looking to make another postseason run this year. Senior Jose Mercado and junior Tommy MacLean, two of Taunton’s players last season, are back to run things for head coach Charlie Dacey this season.
The biggest question will be who fills the void left by Corey Green’s graduation. Mercado showed last season he can shoot as well as be a successful player in the post, both offensively and defensively. MacLean has improved each of the past two seasons and could make a big jump with more responsibility in his junior year.
Taunton will rely on players like Quandarius Roberson, who transferred in back from prep school, Carlos Borrero, Lens Esquil and other younger players to complement Mercado and MacLean. With the athletes that Taunton has, expect the Tigers to get out and run.
“We will be small but quick,” Dacey said. “Tempo is the buzz word this year. We have people who can play fast so that’s what we will try to do. If we can put some underclassmen around [Mercado and MacLean] we could be in the hunt again.”

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Nunes, Furtado Power Attleboro to Win at North

Brian Letourneau Brendan Nunes
Brian Letourneau (34) and Brendan Nunes (18) were named the game’s MVPs and won the Balfour Trophies for Attleboro’s win over North on Thanksgiving. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

By Josh Perry, Managing Editor

NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – For the second time in three years, Hilda will be heading back to Attleboro High.

Brendan Nunes rushed for 205 yards and two scores and caught a third touchdown from sophomore Cam Furtado, who also added two rushing scores of his own, as Attleboro (7-4) rolled to a 34-21 victory to win its second straight Thanksgiving Day game against North Attleboro at Community Field.

Attleboro head coach Mike Strachan said, “North Attleboro is one of the best programs in the state and we had to play one of our best games to win this afternoon and I think we did. We executed offensively and defensively and in special teams we did.”

Nunes started his season with four touchdowns in the opening win against Bishop Feehan, but late in that game picked up a high ankle sprain. He missed 2-1/2 games due to the injury and was limited when he did take the field. With a healthy Nunes in the backfield, the Attleboro offense clicked into gear on Thursday.

“We did a great job up front,” said Nunes. “My guys did a great job and couldn’t have done it without them. They set it all up for me.”

Senior lineman Kyle Murphy added, “Nobody can stop that kid. I really think he should’ve won Hock MVP because he’s the best running back in the league.”

North Attleboro (9-2) took the early lead on its first possession with an impressive seven-play, 80-yard drive. Sophomore quarterback Chad Peterson hit Kyle Gaumond down the seam on North’s first play from scrimmage for a 44-yard gain into Attleboro territory. Peterson (12-23, 194 yards) capped the drive with the first of his two touchdown passes, hitting Ridge Olsen (five catches, 77 yards) over the middle for 18 yards.

The Rocketeers gifted Attleboro a chance to get back into the game with a short punt that allowed the Bombardiers to start at the North 27. Nunes broke free for a 16 yard sweep and three plays later punched it in from five yards to tie the game.

Another struggle in the punting game gave Attleboro the ball at the North 39 on its next possession. Nunes broke another 16-yard run through the middle and then on the next play Furtado pump faked short and threw the ball to the front corner of the end zone where Nunes made the grab for a 23-yard score. The extra point was wide left and it was 13-7.

“He’s a special athlete,” said Strachan about Nunes. “He’s just gifted. To do what he did – 1,000-yard rusher, Balfour Trophy, bringing Hilda back to Attleboro – I think for me it says everything about the kid. He’s a true leader.”

The mistakes continued for North Attleboro on its next possession. Bobby Mylod fumbled at the Attleboro 44 and Sam Iampierto jumped on it for the Bombardiers.

Attleboro marched down to the North 20 where it faced third and 10 with fewer than 20 seconds remaining. Running behind Kyle Murphy, Furtado (14 carries, 59 yards) took off down the near sideline and broke a tackle at the goal line for a touchdown with five seconds left in the half. The Bombardiers went for a trick play on the conversion with the holder flipping it to Furtado and he found Alex Silva for two.

“I thought in the first half in particular we really hurt ourselves,” said North Attleboro coach Don Johnson. “We weren’t good in the kicking game, so we didn’t have good field position the whole first half and then we made some mistakes.”

The Bombardiers tacked on another touchdown with 3:36 left in the third quarter. Davon Andrade sacked Furtado to force third and 18, but Nunes broke free for a 31-yard gain down to the North two-yard line. On the next play, Furtado faked a sweep to Nunes and walked in untouched for the score.

“He really stepped up,” said Murphy about Furtado, who took over midway through the season. “He has a lot of confidence; he’s a tough kid; and he’s going to make a big difference the next two years.”

North cut the lead to two scores on its next possession, when Peterson hit Gaumond on a fly pattern down the sideline. The 30-yard score made it 28-14, but the momentum only lasted four plays. Furtado and John Burns each gained 19 yards and then Nunes got the edge and broke away for 31 yards and another TD.

“We got a little momentum going but then we throw an interception,” said Johnson, “It seemed like it was one of those days that everything we tried we couldn’t really get going.”

Kyle McCarthy took over under center for North in the fourth quarter. He was 5-5 for 45 yards on his one drive and found Olsen for a 16-yard touchdown. The North receiver pulled in the pass against double coverage.

“I think overall we just got worn down at the end of the season,” said Johnson. “I think we got the most that we could get out of this team and i think we got a little worn down down the stretch.”

After snapping a 20-year drought against its arch-rival in 2008, Attleboro has now won two of the last three Thanksgiving Day match-ups and added a league win against North in 2013.

Strachan played at North Attleboro and has coached the Bombardiers since 2013. He understand the rivalry from both sides and he explained that it has always been about more than just the results on the field.

“This is the community,” he said. “We’re rivals, but at the end of the day we have a tremendous amount of respect for each other and for me that’s the most important thing.”

When asked how it felt to beat North, Nunes, who received the Balfour Trophy as the game’s offensive MVP, responded, “It’s the greatest feeling of my life. I’ll never forget it.”

Josh Perry can be contacted at JoshPerry@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @Josh_Perry10.

The 2015 Hockomock Football All Stars & HMs

FootballMVPs
Below are the official Hockomock League Football All Stars, selected by the coaches in the league.

Kelley-Rex MVP

Nick Morrison, North Attleboro

Hockomock Kelley-Rex All Stars

Kyle Murphy, Attleboro
Brendan Nunes, Attleboro
Alex Silva, Attleboro
Brian Letourneau, Attleboro
Luke Gordon, Franklin
James Cooke, King Philip
Billy Dittrich, King Philip
Josh Schafer, Mansfield
Connor Finerty, Mansfield
Hunter Ferreira, Mansfield
Nick Morrison, North Attleboro
Bobby Mylod, North Attleboro
Josh Morrison, North Attleboro
Chad Peterson, North Attleboro
Connor Flynn, North Attleboro
Carlos Borrero, Taunton

Honorable Mentions

Sean Donnelly, Attleboro
Nick Yelle, Franklin
John DeLuca, King Philip
Nicholas Martin, Mansfield
Kyle Gaumond, North Attleboro
Connor Briggs, Taunton

Davenport MVP

Jake Ragusa, Canton

Hockomock Davenport All Stars

Jake Ragusa, Canton
Joe Bires, Canton
Woanyen Mahn, Canton
Austin Ryan, Foxboro
Connor Downs, Foxboro
Connor McNamara, Foxboro
Ronnie Martin, Foxboro
Zach Lanzetta, Milford
Blake Hill, Milford
Connor Moroney, Oliver Ames
Matt Cancian, Sharon
Jake Gibb, Stoughton
Matt Soto, Stoughton
Guy Eddy, Stoughton
Ryan Sullivan, Stoughton
Donnie Foley, Stoughton

Honorable Mentions

Mack Brown, Canton
James Blake, Foxboro
Jack DeSantis, Milford
Ryan McCarthy, Oliver Ames
Tyler Smith, Sharon
Matt Medina, Stoughton

The 2015 Hockomock Football All Stars & HMs

FootballMVPs
Below are the official Hockomock League Football All Stars, selected by the coaches in the league.

Kelley-Rex MVP

Nick Morrison, North Attleboro

Hockomock Kelley-Rex All Stars

Kyle Murphy, Attleboro
Brendan Nunes, Attleboro
Alex Silva, Attleboro
Brian Letourneau, Attleboro
Luke Gordon, Franklin
James Cooke, King Philip
Billy Dittrich, King Philip
Josh Schafer, Mansfield
Connor Finerty, Mansfield
Hunter Ferreira, Mansfield
Nick Morrison, North Attleboro
Bobby Mylod, North Attleboro
Josh Morrison, North Attleboro
Chad Peterson, North Attleboro
Connor Flynn, North Attleboro
Carlos Borrero, Taunton

Honorable Mentions

Sean Donnelly, Attleboro
Nick Yelle, Franklin
John DeLuca, King Philip
Nicholas Martin, Mansfield
Kyle Gaumond, North Attleboro
Connor Briggs, Taunton

Davenport MVP

Jake Ragusa, Canton

Hockomock Davenport All Stars

Jake Ragusa, Canton
Joe Bires, Canton
Woanyen Mahn, Canton
Austin Ryan, Foxboro
Connor Downs, Foxboro
Connor McNamara, Foxboro
Ronnie Martin, Foxboro
Zach Lanzetta, Milford
Blake Hill, Milford
Connor Moroney, Oliver Ames
Matt Cancian, Sharon
Jake Gibb, Stoughton
Matt Soto, Stoughton
Guy Eddy, Stoughton
Ryan Sullivan, Stoughton
Donnie Foley, Stoughton

Honorable Mentions

Mack Brown, Canton
James Blake, Foxboro
Jack DeSantis, Milford
Ryan McCarthy, Oliver Ames
Tyler Smith, Sharon
Matt Medina, Stoughton

North Beats Mansfield, Stands Alone Atop Division

Kyle Gaumond
Kyle Gaumond (28) knocks the pass away from Hunter Ferreira (3) on fourth down to preserve a 14-13 win for North Attleboro and clinch the outright Kelley-Rex Division title. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

By Josh Perry, Managing Editor

MANSFIELD, Mass. – Mansfield coach Mike Redding has North Attleboro roots. Although he has been in charge of the Hornets for over 25 years and bleeds green, he took a moment after Friday night’s installment of this fierce rivalry to go to the Rocketeers celebrating at Alumni Field and congratulate them on the league title and urge them to bring home the Div. 3 state title.

It was a classy move by the Mansfield coach at the end of another emotional matchup between longtime rivals and perennial title challengers that North Attleboro won 14-13 to clinch the Kelley-Rex title outright and potentially the No. 1 seed in Div. 3 Southwest.

“This is great high school football,” said Redding. “It was a slugfest, two great teams, two great defenses, yards were hard to come by but both teams did enough to put themselves in position to win.”

The win gives North Attleboro its first league title since 2011 and its first outright Hockomock title since 2008. Once again, as has been the case all season, it was the Rocketeers defense that came up with the plays to win the game.

Leading by just a point with time winding down in the fourth quarter, North punted. Mansfield took over at its own 37 with less than five minutes remaining.

The Hornets got to the Rocketeers 33 and threw incomplete on first down. On second and 10, North dialed up a blitz and Bobby Mylod shot the gap to stuff Brian Lynch for a six-yard loss. On third down, the Rocketeers came again and sacked Anthony DeGirolamo for a seven-yard loss back to the 46. On fourth down, Kyle Gaumond leapt and swiped the ball out of the hands of Hunter Ferreira to end the drive.

North Attleboro ran out the clock and celebrated the victory.

“What we were trying to do is just get pressure on the quarterback,” said North coach Don Johnson. “I thought they had guys that they could throw to in the passing game…We were worried about it the whole game.”

“Defense has been doing it for us all year,” he added with a smile. “I’d just like the offense to score a couple more and make it a little easier for us.”

The Rocketeers offense looked great at the start of the game. Against a Mansfield defense that has been solid all season, North took the opening kickoff and marched 67 yards on 14 plays to take the lead.

Nick Morrison (12 carries, 68 yards) was big on the drive with six rushes, including a crucial fourth down and one gain of seven yards near midfield. Sophomore quarterback Chad Peterson showed off his arm hitting Davon Andrade for 18 yards and then snuck a shovel pass to Mylod on fourth and one from the four for the go-ahead score.

North Attleboro would not get another first down until its second possession of the third quarter.

Johnson said, “I think they frustrated us a little on offense. We had some blown assignments that we haven’t had in a few weeks, but I think that had a lot to do with their scheme over there.”

Mansfield was not able to get much going offensively but got a little spark right before the half. Ben Budwey’s punt return set the Hornets up at the North 37. DeGirolamo (7-11, 165 yards) hit Ferreira for 18 yards and then, following a four-yard loss, hit him again for another 10.

The Hornets had to settle for a 23-yard Diogo DeSousa field goal but were on the board and went into the break down 7-3.

To start the third quarter, DeGirolamo was strip sacked by Thomas Reynolds and Thomas Kummer jumped on the loose ball at the Hornets 37. But the Mansfield defense forced a turnover on downs, helped in part by Joe Bukuras’ tackle in the flat on Nick Dean for a four-yard loss on third and one.

The Hornets offense took advantage of the momentum swing and drove 71 yards on eight plays to take Mansfield’s first lead. DeGirolamo and Ferreira (six catches, 164 yards) hooked up for a 32-yard completion into North territory and then combined again on a 12-yard touchdown pass to the front pylon that put Mansfield ahead 10-7.

“He made some great passes,” said Redding of DeGirolamo. “Hunter is a great athlete and we tried to get him the ball tonight.”

“The offense is coming together. We just need to find a way to get to 21-24 and with our defense we’re going to win games.”

The lead was short-lived, as North Attleboro showed its resiliency to bounce right back. Peterson hit Ridge Olsen on the far side of the field for 14 yards and Nick Rajotte got 11, before Morrison broke free down the North sideline sprinting past his cheering teammates and the Hornets defense for a 39-yard score.

“We had the momentum,” said Redding, “and if we get one stop there and get the ball back with the lead, I think we win it. But, they’re a championship team, they answered, and they scored.”

Mansfield was not done. After a Connor Flynn sack pushed the Hornets back to third and 21 from their own 27, DeGirolamo and Ferreira connected on a 64-yard pass (taking advantage of a slip by the defensive back) down to the North nine. Again, the Hornets had to settle for a field goal and trailed 14-13 with 7:58 left.

Redding explained, “We thought we outplayed them in the second half and probably needed to score on the drive before, but we didn’t want to come up empty and thought that if we got a field goal and got the ball back that we felt good about driving.”

“Tonight we were just one drive away.”

Mylod, Gaumond, and the North defense did enough to stymie the Hornets on their final drive. When a personal foul flag was thrown for a late hit out of bounds on Mansfield with 1:30 left, the game was won and so was the title.

“I felt this team got over the hump and gained that confidence,” said Johnson. “This week in practice I had that feeling that everyone knew what they were doing for the first time. They entered the game with a lot of confidence.”

Even in defeat, Redding felt that this game had plenty of positives for the Hornets with the Div. 2 playoffs looming. He said, “We get a second life next week; this isn’t the end of the season. If we play like we did tonight, then we can make a run.”

He shook hands with the media and walked over to the North Attleboro players. As Mansfield made its way to the locker room, turning its back on the loss and focusing on next week, the Rocketeers stayed on the field taking a couple of moments to savor the win for a few more moments before moving forward.

Josh Perry can be contacted at JoshPerry@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @Josh_Perry10.