ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Last year, then sophomore Cam Furtado made an instant impact when he took over the starting quarterback position. His ability to make plays with his feet gave Attleboro’s offense a different dynamic. With senior Tyler McGovern back as the starter this season, Furtado is being used in a variety of ways, but regardless of which position he lines up at the Bombardiers are trying to get the ball in his hands.
On Friday night, in the wind and rain at Tozier-Cassidy Field, Furtado carried the ball 17 times for 209 yards (148 in the first half alone), caught two passes for 17 yards, returned a punt for 40 yards, and scored a pair of touchdowns.
Behind Furtado’s all-around game, the Attleboro offense clicked into gear and the Bombardiers earned a 37-20 victory over Taunton to record their first league win of the season.
“I think they complement each other,” said Attleboro coach Mike Strachan of McGovern and Furtado. “We’re starting to get into a rhythm with two quarterbacks, but [Cam’s] a special athlete and he can do a lot.
“We need to build off this. It was nice coming back after the last two weeks against Dartmouth and Mansfield.”
Taunton running back T.J. Mendes (25 carries, 67 yards) was stopped on fourth and one by Andrew Gingras and sophomore Nick Evans. Attleboro took advantage of the big defensive stand. Furtado broke a 44-yard sweep down the near sideline, but stepped out at the two. One play later, he had his first touchdown and the Bombardiers had the lead.
The Tigers responded right away, marching 63 yards on nine plays to tie the game. The drive was helped by an Attleboro pass interference call, but was finished when sophomore Noah Leonard hit Adam McLaughlin for a 17-yard touchdown on the first play of the second quarter.
Lining up at quarterback, Furtado took the first play of Attleboro’s next drive for 12 yards. The following play went for 51 all the way down to the Taunton 10. On first and goal, Marc Dieu broke an inside hand-off to the left and scored to regain the lead.
Again the Tigers responded and again it was the combination of Leonard and McLaughlin that got Taunton on the scoreboard. Leonard threw a perfect strike over the defensive back to the sideline and McLaughlin pulled it in, stayed in bounds and raced for a 70-yard touchdown to cut the lead to one score heading into halftime.
“Adam’s really played even better than I thought,” said first-year Taunton coach Brad Sidwell about his senior receiver. “He’s a competitor.”
The game changed on the opening kickoff of the second half. The ball was dropped by the Tigers and Joshua Therrien came up with the recovery for the Bombardiers at the Taunton 28. Three plays later, McGovern walked in with an 11-yard keeper to build the lead to 28-14.
Sidwell said, “We did some dumb things on special teams, which we worked on, but we’ve obviously didn’t work on them hard enough and we’ve got to find a way to make it all better.”
The Attleboro defense continued to make big plays, stopping Taunton twice on fourth down. Steve Hamerski, Matthew Potter, James Weir, and Evans all making plays to bottle up the Tigers offense. Again special teams came back to haunt Taunton, as a holding call took away a decent punt and when the Tigers lined up to kick it again the snap flew out the back of the end zone for a safety.
Mendes scored a two-yard touchdown to cap off a drive that was highlighted by Leonard hitting Mike Fernandez for 26 yards down the seam. The two-point conversion was incomplete and the Tigers trailed 30-20 with 4:32 left.
Furtado essentially ended the game after the onside kick bounced out of play. He bounced to the outside on a toss right and seemed to cross the goal line but was marked down at the one. McGovern (5-11, 37 yards) finished it with a play action pass to Hamerski.
After two tough losses in a row, Strachan credited his team for dominating the line of scrimmage to get back on track. He said, “Tonight, I thought we controlled the line of scrimmage. We worked on those things this week in practice, the kids really worked hard, and we’ve got to build off this now.”
Both coaches threw a number of underclassmen on the field, many of whom are spending their first seasons on varsity. While both Strachan and Sidwell admitted their were mistakes that need to be ironed out, both also recognized that the programs are in good positions to build for the future.
“We’re not talking about next year or anything like that, but there’s a good core of young players and hopefully we can develop,” said Sidwell. “At some point it’s going to pop for us. They’re working hard and they’re good kids and we’ve just got to keep coaching them better.”
Strachan added, “You look at the number of sophomores we played tonight and it’s good but we’re still making too many mental mistakes that we need to clean up.”