Warriors Three-Peat Bid Comes Up Just Short

King Philip football
King Philip junior Ryan Halliday breaks through the North Andover defensive line in the Div. 2 Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)

Josh PerryFollowJoshPerry


FOXBORO, Mass. – There were still many who expected North Andover, with its perfect record and high-powered offense, to be too much for King Philip in Friday night’s Div. 2 Super Bowl and the Warriors were going to struggle to stay with the Scarlet Knights.

You would think that at this point, after three straight trips to Gillette Stadium and 33 wins combined over the past three seasons, people would know better than to underestimate KP.

With 26 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, the Warriors got the ball back at their own 26 trailing just 6-0. Robert Jarest scrambled from one side of the field all the way back to his left and hit Tim Nault right on the sideline for a first down. On the next play the pair connected again for another 13 yards into North Andover territory. With the clock down to 11 seconds, Jarest found DDavid Morganelli in front of his own bench for 13 yards to the Knights 34.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

With six seconds left on the clock, KP had one last chance to complete an unlikely three-peat. But, North Andover defensive back Michael Roche ruined the storybook ending by chasing down Jarest for a game-ending and title-winning sack that handed the Scarlet Knights their first Super Bowl title since 1994.

“They keep rallying back,” KP coach Brian Lee said of his team. He added that Roche impressed him on film in the build up to the game, calling him “a real dude,” and he was aware of the North Andover senior but couldn’t change the play at that moment. Lee said, “We were a little disjointed, not having another timeout to get it the way we wanted to and to realize he was on this side and we rolled out into him.”

There was certainly disappointment on the King Philip (9-3) side after the loss, having two long drives end just outside the red zone and having the lone North Andover touchdown come off the lone turnover for the Warriors, but Lee credited his players for beating all the expectations for the season.

Lee said, “They really weren’t supposed to be anything this year. To get back here with these guys and to play that way, I mean especially on ‘D’ to shut them down again, we play so well on ‘D’ on this field…”

He added, “It was just a great job competing by our guys. I’m so proud of them.”

KP got the ball first and put together exactly the type of drive that has become synonymous with the Warriors during Lee’s coaching tenure. Junior Ryan Halliday (29 carries, 97 yards) got the ball on all but one of the 12 plays and marched KP all the way to the North Andover 25. On fourth and four, the Warriors called for a fake field goal and Cole Baker found an open receiver on the far sideline but the ball couldn’t be pulled in.

Jack Webster leapt to bat down a third down pass attempt and end the Scarlet Knights first drive, but KP went three-and-out when it got the ball back.

On the North champion’s next drive, Jake McElroy started to get things going through the air, connecting with Gabriel DeSouza for 33 yards to the KP 32. Three plays later, on third and two, McElroy (10-16, 117 yards) appeared to have an open receiver but the ball slipped through his hands and Nault was on hand to pick it off.

The momentum from the interception lasted only two plays. Halliday was hit hard on a toss to the left and Darren Watson recovered the fumble at the KP seven. It took four plays before McElroy punched it in from one yard out, and it took a great second effort just to get the ball across the line. The extra point was blocked.

“That call was dumb,” Lee admitted. “That was my fault and it put the defense in a bad spot. Even so, fourth and one I thought we had them there. That call was the wrong call and put the defense in a bad way, but besides that they did everything they were supposed to do. I really think if we don’t make that mistake then we shut them out.”

North Andover started the second half with the ball, but Shawn Conniff ended the drive by busting into the backfield to stop Watson for a one-yard loss on third and one. KP got the ball at its own six and proceeded to grind out another long drive.

Halliday had been largely contained since the first possession but he broke runs of 17, 10, and 11 yards to get the Warriors going. A Jarest scramble turned into a 12-yard weaving run that got KP down to the North Andover 23. Facing fourth and 10, Jarest slipped as he rolled out and although he recovered his footing wasn’t able to hook up with Morganelli on a comeback route.

Again, the KP defense did its job to get the ball back quickly, including a big play by Morganelli busting up a screen pass for a seven-yard loss.

North Andover coach John Dubzinski said of the KP defense, “They were so good up front. They were good on the perimeter, they were good inside. They covered our receivers well, very well. They’re a good football team. We beat a good football team.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

After a pass was knocked away from Morganelli, the Warriors had fourth and eight from the Scarlet Knights 43. Lee elected to punt and Baker dropped one at the one-yard-line with 4:49 left to play.

McElroy was able to elude the KP blitz and hit Watson for a crucial 29-yard completion and then added a 17-yard pass to the KP 40. Watson jumped on a fumble for a four-yard loss and then Tyler Barrett/u> sacked McElroy for a 10-yard loss that forced third and 24. The Warriors did their job and stopped the North Andover offense as it did all night, but it just wasn’t enough time for the offense to get on the board.

It says everything about this team that when KP got the ball back, there were plenty of people thinking that somehow the Warriors would be able to pull this out.

“A lot of things looked like they were going our way early and then we just stalled out on ‘O’ a couple times,” Lee said. “We were just a little short on a couple things tonight. Just a lot of little miscues on offense really prevented us from stealing this one.”

2018 Hockomock League Baseball Preview

2018 Hockomock League Baseball Preview

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2018 Hockomock League Baseball Preview

Attleboro

2017 Record: 6-14
2017 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Matt Bosh

After missing out on the postseason a year ago, Attleboro head coach Matt Bosh believes his team’s depth and versatility will help the Bombardiers get back there.

Junior Eoin Kelleher is back to lead the pitching staff after a stellar sophomore season in which he earned HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year honors. Kelleher posted a 1.00 ERA in 35 innings of work, including throwing a no-hitter against rival North. Senior captains Jason Weir and Jon Candiales, senior Drew Pagano along with junior Sam Larkin will all see time on the mound for Big Blue as well.

Candiales and Weir also anchor the offense with the former patrolling shortstop and the latter seeing time in both the outfield and first base. Candiales gives the Bombardiers power from the left side of the plate while Weir is a three-year starter that gives Bosh flexibility in the lineup. Larkin will be in the outfield when he isn’t pitching and can use his speed to hurt teams. Corey McKenna returns as the starting second baseman while senior Dakota Kirby is back behind the dish after a year off. Kirby will add pop to the lineup as he hit 0.425 as a sophomore with 10 RBI.

“The biggest improvement that I see from last year is our team speed and athleticism,” Bosh said. “We have a lot of guys that can play multiple positions and we’re very athletic. We have a high number of kids who can play anywhere.”

Canton

2017 Record: 6-12
2017 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Greg Digirolamo

A strong core of returning players and a good amount of depth will be keys for the 2018 Canton Bulldogs baseball team.

After losing just four players from last year’s team, there is a good mix of experienced players and talented youth for head coach Greg Digirolamo to work with. The Bulldogs will look to three senior captains to the lead the way: Matt Casamento, Robbie Wilkinson, and Tommy DeLello. Casamento is a three-year starter in center field, DeLello will man first base and Wilkinson will try to carry over the momentum from an impressive junior year into 2018. Wilkinson went 3-1 last year with a 1.58 ERA and 13 strikeouts in 31 innings pitched.

Wilkinson will be joined in the pitching staff by seniors Austin Maffie, Niko Donovan, and Ryan Hickey, along with juniors Paul Corcoran, Robbie Sullivan, and Kevin McGonigle. Freshman Matt Connolly will also figure into the mix on the mound.

Casamento anchors the defense from the center field spot while junior catcher Matt Pigeon and sophomore shortstop Nate Quan bolster the defense up the middle.

“It’s a good group of kids that like to compete every day, what else can you ask for as a coach?” Digirolamo said. “For us the biggest thing will be seeing live pitching. If we’re to have any success this year we’ll need to do a better job at the plate.”

Foxboro

2017 Record: 7-14
2017 Finish: Reached D3 South First Round
Coach: Derek Suess

New Foxboro head coach Derek Suess sees a little bit of the past in his first team as head coach. Suess, a former Warrior himself, said the 2018 version of Foxboro reminds him of a team that won 15 games during his senior year just over a decade ago.

“This team is hungry to put the program back on the map,” Suess said. “I couldn’t ask for a better senior group to lead us. They remind me of the senior group I was a part of in 2007 in which we won 15 games. With a good mix of underclassmen, I’m looking forward to seeing everyone’s hard work pay off on the field.”

After losing a painful eight games by just one run a season ago, including a near upset of third-seeded and D3 South Finalist Norton in the playoffs, the Warriors will be looking to turn those losses into wins this time around.

“We need to make more winning plays to put those tallies in the win column,” Suess said.

Junior Anthony Mollica will spearhead the offense after leading the Warriors with a 0.367 batting average a year ago. Senior Chad Bearce and sophomore Joe Cavaleri will bolster the middle of the lineup, freshman Sean Yoest has shown flashes early on at the dish, and seniors Joe Freitas, Matt Rongione, and Jack Franceschelli provide the Warriors with some speed.

Senior Steve McLaughlin returns after an impressive 2017 season. Despite posting an 0-6 record, McLaughlin struck out 24 batters in 32.2 innings of work and posted a 1.73 ERA. McLaughlin will be joined by Cavaleri, Yoest, and junior Guy Quartarone in the rotation while senior Robert Theriault returns behind the dish after getting a year of experience last season.

Franklin

2017 Record: 18-6
2017 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinal
Coach: Zach Brown

Focusing on pitching and defense, the Panthers will be looking to get better each and every day as they try to replicate the success from a season ago.

Franklin won the Kelley-Rex division last year, its first league title since 2012. And the mix of pitching and offense put the Panthers in some conversations for Super 8, but the Panthers ended up in the D1 South and bowed out in the quarterfinals after being forced to play on back to back days.

The arms that helped the Panthers have so much success last year as almost all back, starting with staff ace senior Jake Noviello. The Fairfield-commit struck out a Hockomock-best 61 batters a year ago, going 6-2 with a 1.65 ERA in 55.1 innings of work. Noviello is complemented by lefty Jason Ulrickson (7-0, 0.80 ERA, 35 K), Bryan Woelfel (3-2, 0.91 ERA, 4 SV, 31 K) and senior James Leofanti.

The defense will be anchored by a pair of returning starters in junior shortstop Alex Haba (0.360, 12 runs) and junior catcher Jake Macchi.

“While we are returning a number of experienced arms we are also turning over a number of positions last season,” said Franklin head coach Zach Brown. “So, we will be young or inexperienced at a number of positions. Offensively, my hope is that as the season progressing we will be able to develop an identity and find a way to manufacture runs.”

King Philip

2017 Record: 10-11
2017 Finish: Reached D1 South Preliminary Round
Coach: Greg Kessler

After just squeaking into the postseason a year ago, first-year KP head coach Greg Kessler is hoping his team will be in contention for a Kelley-Rex division title in 2018.

One reason for that is the senior class and the handful of returning players that have plenty of experience at the varsity level. Ben Furfari returns as a key piece of the Warriors’ outfield and lineup. He hit 0.298 last season and will provide the power on offense. Senior Pat Limerick, committed to play at St. Joseph’s (ME), will set the tone as the leadoff hitter.

On the mound, senior Jeremy Rhines (2-1, 1.45 ERA) and junior David Morganelli will be the main options while hard-throwing senior Liam Rohan will also be in the mix. Nolan Bradley returns behind the plate as one of the top catchers in the league while sophomore Robbie Jarest will step in to take over at shortstop.

“We have a great group of senior this year,” Kessler said. “They have been dedicated to the weight room and leading our underclassmen. They continuously strive to build a team that will compete for the Hock championship. They deserve to have a great year. I guarantee that will be the most vocal and most energetic team in the Hock. We pride ourselves on being positive and enthusiastic every pitch.”

Mansfield

2017 Record: 14-8
2017 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round
Coach: Joe Breen

There is a lot of optimism surrounding the Mansfield baseball program this season. And with the arms they have back, there’s good reason for it.

Senior Tyler Dalton, a UMass Amherst commit, returns after missing the majority of his junior year with an injury. Dalton was tremendous during the 2016 season as a sophomore, posting a 6-2 record while striking out 35 batters and posting a 1.78 ERA. He will be joined on the Hornets’ staff by senior Kevin Dow (UMass Amherst commit, 4-1, 1.93 ERA), junior lefty Connor Sheehan (2.82 ERA, 28 K), and junior Kyle Moran (three saves). Sophomore John Carney will also likely see time on the mound for the Hornets.

Senior catcher Cullin Anastasia returns after being named to the 2017 HockomockSports.com Second Team. Anastasia had 19 hits a year ago, knocking in 10 runs and scoring 10 runs as well. Sam Nugent will give the Hornets a spark in center field and on the base path with his speed, Moran picked up plenty of experience at third base last season, and Eric Longley will provide Mansfield with some pop in the middle of the lineup.

“We will rely heavily on our pitching staff this season to keep us in games and look to make the plays behind them and be aggressive with our offensive and baserunning approach to get those guys a few runs per game,” said Mansfield head coach Joe Breen. “As always, we will turn to our senior class to set the tone and for our underclassmen to blossom under their leadership.”

Milford

2017 Record: 12-10
2017 Finish: Reached D2 South Quarterfinals
Coach: Alex Dion

Milford baseball starts a new chapter in its historic history as longtime assistant Alex Dion takes over the reigns of the program.

Dion’s first challenge will be having to overcome the loss of a dozen seniors, including team ace Alex Macek, reliable infielders Zack Tamagni and Anthony Arcudi, and hard-hitting outfielder Ryan Goncalves. However, the good news is that Dion has one of the best players at his disposal in Stonehill-commit Aidan Wilde. Wilde had 59 hits between his freshman and sophomore years and added 21 more in the regular season a year ago. After seeing time as a catcher last season, Wilde will mainly man the corner infield positions in 2018.

Wilde will be complemented by junior Matt Shaver, who picked up some experience a year ago at both shortstop and on the mound. The Hawks will rely on Shaver to anchor the defense from short and give the offense a spark from the leadoff position. Junior Tyler Almeida will step in behind the dish and will provide some offense from the left side of the plate. Sophomores Luke Rosa and Colby Pires look to be in the mix as well as junior Nick Marcolini, who will pitch and patrol the outfield.

“We graduated a strong senior class this past year and are now in a situation where we have a lot of new players who we will look to take advantage of new opportunities,” Dion said. “I am excited about the athleticism that we have on our roster and the energy that these guys bring to practice each day. I think our philosophy is simple, but we preach a team-first mentality to our guys and strive to get quality pitching, play clean defense and get timely hits to win games.”

North Attleboro

2017 Record: 8-10
2017 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Mike Hart

North Attleboro didn’t have to go far to find its new coach. Mike Hart takes over for Paul Tobin and Hart truly bleeds Big Red – a graduate from the school and three-sport coach.

And expectations are high for the Rocketeers after just missing out on the postseason a year ago. Senior captain Nick Sinacola returns after having an MVP-caliber junior season. Big Red will rely on Sinacola on both sides of the plate, leading the offense (he batted 0.415 last year with 15 runs scored) and being the ace of the staff (48.1 IP, 49 K, 2.01 ERA). Senior captain Zach DeMattio is also back after being named to the 2017 HockomockSports.com First Team, batting 0.333 with 15 RBI and three home runs. Big Red also gets senior Nate Pearce (0.371) back after a strong junior year.

Senior Peter Cohen (24 IP, 0.29 ERA) will look to build upon a superb junior year while Nolan Buckley and Jeff Gale bring experience to the outfield. Aidan Harding also has varsity experience and will be in the mix to get innings on the mound along with juniors Matt Wanless, Jake Palmer, Matt Seavey, Nick Raneri, and Ben Arrighi.

“We have a truly industrious group of players,” Hart said. “We’re going to keep moving guys around until we find the lineup that works for us. Some may have to play multiple positions, depending on whose pitching on any given day. We had a decent season last year, with many guys getting some varsity time, but we’re still unproven. We need to continue to improve every day and only worry about the things we can control. Guys will be competing every day all season, which will only make us better. We will approach each day, with a great attitude, high effort, and a steadfast approach.”

Oliver Ames

2017 Record: 14-9
2017 Finish: Reached D2 South Semifinals
Coach: Joe Abarr

A lot of the players that helped Joe Abarr have a successful first season as head coach last year are back, which means the Tigers are aiming to replicate that success.

Despite finishing in a tie for third in the Kelley-Rex, the Tigers put together the best playoff run of any Hock team, knocking off #2 Dighton-Rehoboth on the road to reach the sectional semifinals. Junior Matt McCormack is back after earning a spot on varsity late in the season this year, and along with classmate Tom Parker, should give OA a solid 1-2 punch. With a handful of capable arms in the mix, the third spot in the rotation is still up for grabs.

Abarr won’t have to worry much about anything hit to the left side of the infield as the Tigers return third basemen Chris Pearsons and shortstop Matt Muir, two of the top defensive players at their positions. Both are capable hitters as well and will provide some pop to the lineup. Another returning starter is senior Mitch Goulet. Goulet had a breakout junior campaign in center field (0.347, 7 RBI), catching fire in the second half of the year. Abarr is hoping that momentum will carry over to this season.

The Tigers have a battle for the spot behind the plate as both junior Jake Erlich and junior Reid Latham are back, both with experience behind the dish.

“We have a great core of returning players that will be the backbone of the program,” Abarr said. “We have to fill positions in the outfield and at first. If we have some guys step up in that role we should have a decent lineup from top to bottom.”

Sharon

2017 Record: 6-14
2017 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Kee Arguimbau

Sharon is aiming to improve on its six-win season in 2017, and will be looking to ride its senior leadership to do so.

Senior captains Max Tarlin and Drew Naisuler are two of the most experienced players in the league and will be spearheading the Eagles’ offense and defense this year. Tarlin (5-4, 46 K, 1.11 ERA) is the anchor of the pitching staff, picking up five of Sharon’s six wins last season. When he’s not on the mound, expect to see Tarlin patrolling shortstop. Naisuler returns as the team’s No. 4 hitter to provide some pop to the lineup and will be a key defensive piece at both center field and first base.

The Eagles will also rely on senior Ben Schwartz, who will mainly be catching this year as well as being a major offensive contributor. Junior Noah Kamens will be a major piece of the pitching puzzle after impressing during his sophomore year. Similar to Tarlin, Kamens will be a major player in the offensive lineup and will see time off the mound spent in the outfield. Spencer Singer is transitioning to the outfield and will continue to be one of the players the Eagles look at for offensive production.

“I have a lot of guys who are multifaceted baseball players and I can foresee a lot of games being played with straight nine in the lineup,” Arguimbau said. “We have great senior leadership and some very promising sophomores that are going to play a major role in our season’s success.”

Stoughton

2017 Record: 15-6
2017 Finish: Reached D2 South First Round
Coach: Mike Armour

There are a lot of questions to be answered for this year’s Stoughton baseball team, but head coach Mike Armour is excited for his players to rise to the challenge.

The Black Knights graduated nearly their entire team (10 of its 13 rostered players), which won its second straight Davenport division title. So not only will Armour be leaning heavily on his three returning players, he is looking for new faces to seize the opportunity.

“This is an exciting year for our program,” Armour said. “It’s an awesome opportunity for our younger guys. The JV and freshmen teams both over 15 or more games last year, so we’re looking for them to carry that winning attitude into this season. I expect our team to play with heart and execute the fundamentals to make us a competitive team.”

2017 HockomockSports.com First Team selection and senior captain Ruben Gonzalez returns as one of the top players in the league, both defensively at shortstop and offensively at the plate. Senior Matt Hadley and junior Evan Gibb, both captains, are the other two returning players for the Knights. Gibb has plenty of varsity experience behind the plate and Hadley, although he will miss some time with injury, will be key piece in the outfield.

Meanwhile, Armour is looking for sophomores James Genest (first base) and Michael Nazzaro (third base/catcher) to step up and play important roles both offensively and defensively this season. Juniors Kyle Gagnon, Kevin Dixon, and Cian Swierzewski will see time in the outfield and classmate Robbie Seaman will be in the mix for middle infield.

For pitching, Gibb will see time on the mound as well as behind the play. Senior Will Eckhart has some varsity experience and junior Zak Paquette will likely log some meaningful innings for the Knights. Seniors Tim Kellogg, Talyor Atkinson, and Mike Anderson provide infield depth and Jack Brown and Ryan Semler will be in the mix in the outfield.

Taunton

2017 Record: 12-10
2017 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round
Coach: Blair Bourque

There are a lot of good pitchers in the Hockomock League this year, and it looks like the Tigers’ staff could be right near the top of the list.

Taunton returns senior Tyler Medeiros, who had a terrific junior campaign and will get junior Jack Moynihan back on the mound. Moynihan was impressive during his freshman year two seasons ago but an injury limited his action on the mound last season. Medeiros fanned 68 batters in 56.1 innings of work, posting a 1.98 ERA to anchor the staff. Look for senior Trevor Pietrzyk and juniors Griffin Tomaszycki and Josh Lajoie to get some meaningful innings on the mound as well.

“Tyler clearly emerged as our top pitcher last year,” said second-year head coach Blair Bourque. “Fortunately, he’s a big kid and was able to put us on his back and carry us. Hopefully, we’re able to provide more support for him this year.”

Moynihan will also play a big role in Taunton’s offense this year. While patrolling third base, Moynihan will try to provide some pop in the middle of the lineup. The Tigers also get their top two batters back with senior shortstop Jacob Crawford (0.350, 15 runs) and senior Christian Simoes (0.340, 12 RBI).

Taunton will carry nine seniors and eight juniors this season so experience will be key.

Foster’s Big Night Leads Canton Past King Philip

Canton boys basketball
Canton’s Devin Foster (4) drives to the basket in the first half against King Philip. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
 
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
CANTON, Mass. – Canton head coach Ryan Gordy was clear on what helped his Bulldogs beat visiting King Philip on Tuesday night.

Devin Foster,” Gordy said without hesitation.

And the answer wasn’t much of a surprise as Foster poured in 27 points, hauled in six rebounds and dished out six assists to help Canton survive with a 66-57 win over the Warriors.

“Devin was the difference between King Philip and Canton tonight,” Gordy said. “It wasn’t X’s and O’s, it wasn’t anything that we did special. Devin played a high-level basketball game tonight and just put us on his back. We kind of grinded and got some stops in that third quarter to get on a run.”

Canton led by as much as 19 in the second half, but struggles from the free throw line (9-for-22) kept the door open for a comeback, and King Philip nearly orchestrated just that in the fourth quarter.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Foster had 15 of his points in the first half, forcing KP head coach Mark Champagne to switch up his defense and put junior Kyle Layman on Foster defensively. Layman kept Foster scoreless over the first five minutes of the third.

But off of an inbounds play, Foster found space against KP’s zone and drained a corner three. That basket sparked an 11-3 run over the final two minutes of the third. Kyle Fitzgerald finished a layup to make it 47-31 Canton.

King Philip answered when sophomore Robert Jarest drained a three but Foster came back and hit a big three of his own after a nice screen from Tony Harris (14 points, seven rebounds). After getting a stop, Foster drove to the basket to draw the defense in and kicked it to Austin Maffie for a triple and a 53-34 lead late in the third.

“Devin has the ability to make adjustments in-game,” Gordy said. “He has an incredibly high IQ for the game and works very hard on his craft. He’s going to find multiple ways to either score or get others involved, he’s just that good of a player.”

It looked as though a three from Harris would be enough when he made it 60-46. But King Philip had other plans. Behind the strong play of sophomore Andrew McKinney (13 points) and Layman (13 of his 18 points in the second half), KP rattled off an 11-1 run.

“It’s been trending, we’ve had difficult fourth quarters so far this season,” Gordy said. Canton had to hold off a late rally from Attleboro in the opener and lost a lead in the final frame against Mansfield. “It’s something we’re working on getting better at, closing games out. In all aspects of the game in the fourth quarter too, we had to make free throws when it matters. It’s still early in the season and we’re growing.”

McKinney hit back-to-back layups, Layman hit two free throws and McKinney drove to the basket for two more to cut the deficit to six. Canton’s Matt Warburton converted down low off a nice feed from Foster with two minutes left to get it back to eight, but another Layman free throw followed by a McKinney mid-range jumper made it 62-57 with just over a minute left.

KP even forced another stop but turned it over without getting a shot off. Foster went 4-for-4 from the line in the final 30 seconds to ice the game.

“I thought our shot selection was better and we made some stops on defense,” Champagne said of getting back into the game. To their credit, Foster really was on balance. Ryan [Gordy] does a really good job coaching them to their strengths. Similar to Foxboro with [Joe] Morrison and [Brandon] Borde, Canton knows who their scorers are. And we weren’t disciplined on defense at times and [Maffie] got a couple of shots, and we knew he could shoot it.

“We’re still not there yet. We have five guys who haven’t played as much, even though they were their tails off, their discipline on rules struggles. It’s getting better though. But Canton is the most improved team from last year.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

King Philip led 16-15 after the first quarter with five different players scoring but Canton outscored the Warriors 20-9 in the second quarter, taking a 10-point lead (35-25) into the halftime break. Senior Jake Verille scored nine of his 11 points in the first half while Maffie hit a three in each half.

“When we have other guys making shots we become a difficult team to defend,” Gordy said. “But credit KP, they stuck with it and hung around and made a game of it.”

Tom Madden added six points and a game-high 14 rebounds for KP while Pharoah Davis added seven points. Champagne is encouraged with the progress his team is making after five players — all who play valuable minutes — got off to a delayed start because of the football season.

“From a year ago, it’s much better,” Champagne said. “The record is the same but we’re better than where we were last year. We just have to run our stuff with better discipline and then we’ll have better possessions. We’re still mixing more and more guys in. I thought McKinney had a very good game, I thought Jarest played well. You just can’t dig holes. Are we good enough to get back in the game? Yeah. But are we good enough to get back and then take the lead? We just can’t dig those holes.”

Canton boys basketball (2-1 Hockomock, 2-1 overall) will resume Hockomock League play in the new year, but will host Boston Latin on December 28th to close the calendar year. King Philip (1-2, 1-2) heads to the Bridgewater-Raynham tournament to take on Dorchester on December 27th.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Unlikely Duo Lifts King Philip To Second Straight Crown

Cole Baker
King Philip sophomore Cole Baker (37) was all smiles after kicking the game-winning field goal late in the fourth quarter. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
 
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 

FOXBORO, Mass. – One player got a rare chance at redemption in a championship game. The other didn’t even expect to play a single snap.

But in the end, King Philip sophomores Cole Baker and Robert Jarest will forever be remembered for helping the Warriors earn their 25th consecutive win, and more importantly a second straight MIAA State Championship.

Baker isn’t a complete stranger to those who follow the Hockomock League. Despite playing football for the first time last year, he quickly earned the starting kicking job and successfully booted three point after attempts a year ago at Gillette Stadium in KP’s first state title win.

Jarest, the team’s backup quarterback, is more known in the JV circles, though that certainly changed Friday night. He played in two games this season, taking snaps in a blowout win over Oliver Ames, and then just over a week ago on Thanksgiving when the Warriors had the game in hand against Franklin.

Before we get too far, it’s important to note that both had help in making their mark on the game. Senior running back and safety Shane Frommer was a force on both sides of the ball. He ran for over 100 yards, scored KP’s lone touchdown, and played lockdown defense – all through a hip pointer.

And KP’s offensive and defensive lines did their parts, while Andrew Dittrich anchored a secondary that limited L-S well below its average scoring total. And of course Jack Webster’s strip sack highlighted the strong play of the linebackers.

But there was just something special about the roles that Baker and Jarest played.

Jarest had no intention of playing on Friday night. Senior quarterback Brendan Lydon, who never lost as a starter as a freshman, on the JV team, and the past two years on varsity, hasn’t missed any significant time in his career. But when Lydon scrambled for a key first down early in the second half and was hurt in the process, suddenly Jarest was thrust in the spotlight.

“[Lydon] is a tough kid, I didn’t expect him to get hurt, but he went down, and I just tried to do what the coaches asked me to do,” Jarest said.

The nerves showed on the first snap under center, as he bobbled the ball and briefly lost it, but the Warriors recovered. His second snap, and all of the ones following that, came naturally. He handed the ball off to Shane Frommer plenty of times the rest of the way, but just two plays into his Super Bowl debut, he was faced with third and long.

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The nerves were quickly gone as Jarest took the snap, dropped back and heaved a perfectly weighted ball down the left sideline, connecting with senior Thomas Madden for 37-yards and a first down. And more importantly, the play gave life to a KP offense that had been limited to just 52 yards in the first half.

“It was unbelievable to have that kid step in like that,” KP head coach Brian Lee admitted. “And he comes in and throws the freaking ball like that, are you kidding me? Unbelievable.”

“Once I saw him get open, I just threw it up there and he went and got it, he made a great catch,” Jarest said.

Though Jarest didn’t have to throw the rest of the game, he handled his job like a seasoned vet. No more fumbled snaps, no plays gone wrong, no delay of games, and most importantly, no turnovers.

After KP’s defense continued its strong second half play, KP’s offense marched into L-S territory throughout the end of the third quarter and first four minutes of the final frame. With Frommer leading the way, KP almost reached the red zone before running into a fourth down.

That’s where Cole Baker enters.

Baker was one of the top kickers again this year, with a high success rate on extra points, and even kicked a game-winning field goal earlier this season against Franklin. So it wasn’t a huge surprise when KP head coach Brian Lee sent him out for a 39-yard attempt, in a tie game, just before the midway point of the final quarter.

Unfortunately, the kick sailed just wide to the left. If the game had been played at Macktaz Field, or any Hockomock venue, or any high school football field, it likely would have been good. But at Gillette Stadium, the state finals are played with NFL hash marks and much more narrow field goal posts.

“It bothers me some when I miss but you just have to let it go and come back and be ready for the next one,” Baker said.

Little did Baker know, his next chance would come just minutes later. Webster came flying in from the blind side and came up with the strip sack, with Evan Rice falling on the loose ball. A heavy dose of Frommer got the Warriors closer, but on fourth and eight, Lee didn’t think too long about what he wanted to do.

“I thought of taking a look to Thomas Madden on the outside, because Robert can throw a pretty good fade and that’s what got us down there before, but in the end I just didn’t want to put undue pressure on that kid coming in like he did, and I knew that Cole, had that kick in him, and I was more confident in going with Cole at that point,” Lee said about his decision to kick the field goal late in the game.

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“Me and Rob are good friends, he came over and said it’s up to you,” Baker said. “Coach Lee said “We trust you on this one.” I was a little nervous but when we went out onto the field, I was just ready to go.”

Baker split the uprights perfectly with plenty of distance on his 31-yard field goal attempt with just 1:36 to play.

“It was awesome, I knew as soon as I hit the ball it was good. I just turned to my teammates and I was just screaming,” Baker said.

“This was pretty cool, Cole is a great kicker and we’re good friends,” Jarest said. “And I didn’t expect to come into this game so it’s kind of unreal right now this feeling.”

“We’re both back next year, and we want to get here again.”

King Philip Shuts Down L-S To Earn D2 Super Bowl Title

King Philip football
King Philip’s Shane Frommer gets past a Lincoln-Sudbury defender in the second half of the D2 Super Bowl. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)

By Joe Clark, HockomockSports.com Student Reporter

FOXBORO, Mass. – All season long, whenever it needed a stop, the King Philip Warriors defense had the answer.

In the MIAA Division 2 State Championship game Friday night at Gillette Stadium, that held true once again.

With 5:03 left to play and the game tied 7-7, KP linebacker Jack Webster hit Lincoln-Sudbury quarterback Braden O’Connell from the blind side and forced the ball loose with KP senior Evan Rice falling on the loose ball.

KP took over on the Lincoln-Sudbury 27-yard line, and moved the ball up to the L-S 13 to set up Cole Baker for a 31-yard field goal, which the sophomore drilled through the uprights with 1:36 to go, giving the Warriors a 10-7 and King Philip it’s 25th straight victory.

On the first play of Lincoln-Sudbury’s ensuing possession, Max Armour sacked O’Connell, and three incompletions later, King Philip clinched its second consecutive state championship.

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“I knew when we got that strip sack that we were going to win it,” King Philip head coach Brian Lee said. “I knew right then it was over.”

On KP’s first drive of the second half, starting quarter Brendan Lydon scrambled to his right and picked up the first down. However, Lydon got rolled up on and suffered a leg injury and was forcing to the sideline, meaning sophomore backup Robert Jarest had to take over under center.

“I really did not expect to play today,” Jarest said. “[Lydon] is a tough kid, I didn’t expect him to get hurt, but he went down, and I tried to do what the coaches asked me to do.”

On Jarest’s first play under center, he fumbled the snap.

“I would say there were some jitters there, I pulled it a little early,” Jarest added

After a Shane Frommer run, KP was facing a third and eight backed up in their own territory. The Warriors’ coaching staff showed their faith as Jarest connected with Thomas Madden down the sideline for a 38 yard gain that put KP on the L-S 23 yard line. Frommer (23 carries, 107 yards, TD) did the rest, as three carries later KP was in the end zone and the game was tied up at 7-7.

After KP forced a stop on the ensuing L-S possession, largely thanks to some key plays by cornerback Andrew Dittrich, the Warriors gave Frommer the keys to the offense once again, as he ran for 30 yards on the next KP drive to get them in field goal range. Cole Baker’s 39 yard field goal attempt had the distance, but it was just wide left.

On the next L-S possession, Jack Webster forced the strip sack that changed the momentum of the game.

“I was just going for the sack, and my head peeked over the shoulder and I just swatted at the ball, and got a hold of it,” Webster said about the game-changing play.

KP killed clock on their next possession by giving it to Frommer, who kept the ball moving and was able to pick up 14 yards. Baker came back in and drilled a 31-yard attempt to give KP a 10-7 lead.

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“I thought of taking a look to Thomas Madden on the outside, because Robert can throw a pretty good fade and that’s what got us down there before, but in the end I just didn’t want to put undue pressure on that kid coming in like he did, and I knew that Cole, had that kick in him, and I was more confident in going with Cole at that point,” Lee said about his decision to kick the field goal late in the game.

“Keep it simple, give it to Shane, let him get a first down, and run out the clock, and we did that, and Cole hit a great field goal,” Jarest added about KP’s strategy after forcing the turnover.

Lincoln-Sudbury opened the game in impressive fashion. After getting stuffed on two straight run plays to open the game, O’Connell completed a pass on third down to move the chains. From there, it was a slow grind as the Warriors methodically moved upfield, eventually taking a 7-0 lead on an 18-yard pass from O’Connell to Matthew Cunningham. The drive took 7:35 off the clock.

King Philip was limited to just 52 yards of offense on limited played in the first half thanks to Lincoln-Sudbury’s offense eating up a majority of the clock.

But in the second half, King Philip’s defense pitched a shutout. It marked the seventh time in 12 games that the Warriors didn’t allow any points in the second half. The five teams who have scored against KP in the second half this year did not score more than once, and three of them did it in the first three weeks of the season.

Even more impressive is that KP held the opposing Warriors to just seven points, which is over 30 points less than what previously unbeaten Lincoln-Sudbury averaged coming into the contest.

King Philip football (12-0) once again completes an undefeated season, and they’ve won 25 straight games dating back to Thanksgiving 2015 against Franklin. The Warriors beat Barnstable, Mansfield, and Bridgewater-Raynham en route to their second straight state title.

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