FRANKLIN, Mass. – The more things change, the more they stay the same.
The King Philip offense has had some success from the new wrinkles it’s added this season, but when it mattered most, the Warriors turned to their signature ground and pound running attack.
Senior Ryan Halliday rushed for 150 yards on 33 carries, including 17 in the fourth quarter, and scored a pair of touchdowns to pace the Warriors to a 26-14 win over rival Franklin, KP’s 16th straight win over the Panthers.
After getting just one touch on each of King Philip’s first two drives of the second half — both quickly ended in punts — and Franklin playing with the momentum after cutting the deficit to six at 20-14, the Warriors turned to Halliday.
The senior back was the focal point in the game-clinching drive that spanned 75 yards over 13 plays, taking over eight minutes off the clock. Halliday ran behind an offensive line featuring senior Nolan Gunning, senior Wyatt Manzi, senior center Sean Piller, junior Pat Zarba, and senior Dan Mullen.
The senior back took 10 consecutive handoffs, picking up four first downs that included a fourth down conversion on 4th and 1 on the Panthers’ 28-yard line after an offside call on the defense.
After sophomore Crawford Cantave burst up the middle for nine years, the Warriors went back to Halliday for back-to-back carries, the latter an 11-yard dart up the middle that put the visitors ahead 26-14 with just 5:23 left. The drive started with 1:34 left in the third quarter.
“We’ve switched up the offense a bit this year and we’ve been passing a lot,” Halliday said. “But in the end, we kind of just played old KP football, played some nice defense and ran the ball.
“I’m gassed but I’m sure my hoggies are gassed too, I give a lot of the credit to them.”
Franklin ran just seven offensive plays after that King Philip drive and was limited to a total of 16 offensive snaps total in the second half.
“It worked for us last year,” said KP head coach Brian Lee of going back to the ground game. “[Franklin] is so explosive on offense, they have so many playmakers that you feel like if keep giving them chances…our defense was hanging in there but we just wanted to slow it down a little bit.”
King Philip’s defense did its part as well, holding the Panthers to 175 yards of total offense, 0-for-5 on third down, forcing three turnovers, and limited Franklin’s high-powered offense to just three plays over 20 yards.
“It’s hard to get pressure on them, the ball is out quick and they have a lot of playmakers,” Lee said. “Overall I’m very pleased with how the defense played.”
The Panthers didn’t help themselves much in the first half, fumbling on the opening possession after a completed pass. A quick three-and-out was followed by another fumble, giving KP great starting position at the Franklin 25-yard line.
It took KP just three plays to take advantage of the good field position as senior quarterback Robbie Jarest (11-for-17, 93 yards passing; 8 carries, 75 yards rushing) hit Brian Wassersug, who broke a tackle and sprinted up the sideline for a 25-yard touchdown. Dylan Conti’s point after attempt was good to put KP up 7-0.
Franklin had a quick response as senior quarterback Thomas Gasbarro (16-for-22,193 yards) scrambled to buy some time before finding a wide-open Cole Lakatos on the sideline, and the senior took it the rest of the way, getting a big block from Jake Davis, for a 51-yard touchdown. Parker Cheuvront connected on his first of two extra points to tie it 7-7.
Jarest got it done with his legs on KP’s ensuing drive, taking a QB option for 48 yards to get the Warriors’ offense going. A pass to Alex Behling got the Warriors into the red zone, and six plays later, Halliday followed Gunning into the end zone for a 1-yard score, converting a 4th and goal situation.
“He’s come a long way, he’s really bought in,” Lee said of Jarest. “For us to be throwing the ball as much, it’s different. But we have a new offensive coordinator [Cory Bailey] and he’s really stretching me to try and do some other things and take more risks. Robert’s making those plays with his arm and his legs, and in the end, I think that makes us more balanced.”
Franklin’s defense came up big two series later, stopping the Warriors on 4th and 1 from the Panthers’ 30-yard line with under a minute to go in the half.
But the momentum didn’t last long as KP’s Shawn Conniff applied pressure, forcing a fumble and sophomore Nick Viscusi came out of the pile with the ball.
Franklin nearly stopped the series when they grabbed an interception, but the Panthers were flagged for roughing the passer and KP kept possession. On the ensuing play, with just eight seconds left on the clock, Jarest delivered, finding an open Andrew McKinney for an 11-yard touchdown with only two seconds left on the clock, giving KP a 20-7 lead at halftime.
“We had the recipe of how to never play American football never again,” said Franklin head coach Eian Bain of the first half. “I’m at a loss for words for how to describe that first half really. You can’t beat great teams like KP when you have that many self-inflicted errors. Credit to a good opponent, sometimes they make you do that. We felt comfortable with our game plan but you can’t win putting the ball on the turf.”
Momentum swung in favor of the hosts as Franklin forced a three-and-out on King Philip’s opening drive of the second half. The Panthers’ offense capitalized, driving 77 yards on nine plays to make it a one-score game.
Highlighted by a pass and catch from Gasbarro to Jack Nally, and a fourth down completion between the same pair, Franklin marched down the field to the KP 1-yard line. Sophomore Mack Gulla punched it in from there, making it 20-14 with 4:27 left in the third quarter.
Franklin only ran seven more offensive plays the rest of the game.
“They took the fourth quarter,” Bain said. “That’s what they do well, and that’s what we don’t do well. And by that point, they made us one dimensional but we continued to make mistakes. I’m disappointed because I think we can play better and execute better.”
King Philip football (1-0 Hockomock, 3-0 overall) now turns its attention to Mansfield, as the two rivals will do battle on Macktaz Field on Friday night. Franklin (0-1, 2-1) will try to get back into the win column when it travels to Oliver Ames on Saturday.
Attleboro got off to a strong start to the 2018 season, jumping out to a 4-1 record with its only loss coming against eventual D2 South champ King Philip, and allowing only five points per game. But a last-minute loss in a shootout against Mansfield and a fourth quarter comeback by Franklin the following week sparked a six-game losing streak to close out the season. The Bombardiers come into 2019 looking to turn that around and use its experience to make a run at the Kelley-Rex title.
Offensively, the Bombardiers will be led by senior quarterback Jason Weir. At a bruising 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, Weir is a punishing runner and has a big arm to make plays downfield in the passing game. Junior Justin Daniels will be the starting tailback with senior Isaac Guidel and a big offensive line trying to open holes for the running game, led by senior Qualeem Charles (6-foot-5 and 325 pounds), who has a host of colleges recruiting him. Senior Ethan Cameron will provide a weapon on the outside, while junior Michael Strachan offers another threat over the middle from his tight end position.
Charles will dominate the line of scrimmage on the defensive side of the ball as well, but the strength of the Attleboro defense will be its experienced linebacker corps. Strachan, a three-year starter who is getting looks from some Div. I colleges, will be joined by Guidel and senior Nolan Jaeger. Weir will play strong safety, after two seasons at defensive end, and will be counted on to step in to help stop the run. Cameron will be at free safety and giving the cornerbacks help over the middle. Attleboro has a large contingent of sophomores who could step in to contribute right away, including Alvin Harrison, Chris Leonardo, Adam Pearlstein, and Freddy Wheaton.
Attleboro coach Mike Strachan said, “We are looking forward to the season getting underway and with the leadership of our four captains we are looking to be explosive on offense and very physical defensively. The Hockomock League is one of the best leagues in the state with some great teams. We will have to play our very best each week if we are going to compete at a high level.”
Franklin nearly pulled off the biggest upset of the 2018 season when the Panthers forced perennial power Xaverian to double overtime in the Div. 1 South semifinal. It was a big step forward for the program and head coach Eian Bain hopes it will be a building block for even more success in 2019.
Offensively, the graduation of quarterback Nick Gordon will be a big loss for the Panthers but senior Thomas Gasbarro saw a lot of time under center last year and he will step in and take the starting job. Gasbarro will have plenty of weapons to choose from, as the Panthers have plenty of speedy, athletic players in the skill positions. Senior Jack Nally is a threat out of the backfield or split out wide and his classmate Jake Davis is a solid receiver over the middle or downfield. Senior Matt Lazarek is a potential target from the tight end position and Owen Palmieri is another dangerous ball carrier. Junior Parker Cheuvront emerged last season as one of the top kickers in the Hock and is another weapon that the Panthers can count on if a drive does stall.
The defense is an experienced group. Senior Evan Wertz has been one of the league’s tackle leaders for the past two seasons and he is the team’s top playmaker from his linebacker position. Nally, Davis, Palmieri, and senior Ben Greco give Franklin a tough secondary to throw against and all are capable of coming up with the big turnover to get the ball back in the hands of the offense. Luke Cunningham and Dom Natale will give the Panthers strength at the line of scrimmage.
“The challenge for this group is to continue to improve and build the program,” said Bain. “They need to add their own chapter and their own stamp on the program. We have the right people in the room. We need to play with the swagger and confidence of a contender, but be humble in our preparation. If we stay true to the process, we have great potential.”
Despite not winning the league title last year, the target on King Philip’s back continues to grow.
The Warriors might have missed out on the Kelley-Rex crown, but they won their third straight sectional title and made their this straight appearance in the state final, this time falling to North Andover (6-0). While this year’s senior class knows other than Super Bowl appearances, head coach Brian Lee says this group is focused on taking it one game, starting with the opener against North Attleboro. KP has a strong core of players back on the offensive side of the ball, including quarterback Robbie Jarest and running back Ryan Halliday. Both players had really strong junior seasons and should be the leaders of the group this year. The offensive line includes returners Nolan Gunning (left tackle), Sean Piller (center), and Pat Zarba (right guard) while Wyatt Manzi, Jack Collentro, and Griffin MacKay are in the mix to fill the remaining spots. Having an experienced line bodes well for the KP run game that will heavily feature Ryan Halliday plus fullback Shawn Conniff and halfbacks Sam Callanan and Crawford Cantave.
The Warriors’ defense has been one of the best units in the state in recent years, and while the expectations remain high for the group, there will be a lot of new faces. KP graduated its entire secondary so the Warriors are turning to senior Brian Wasserug and Cantave, a sophomore, to take on starting spots. Halliday and Callanan, both captains, will handle outside linebacker duties with Mike Malatesta in the mix for the middle spot. Gunning and Manzi will also see action on the defensive line alongside Conniff. Dillon Conti takes over kicking duties for the departed Cole Baker.
“These kids know how much work, how much effort it takes to get where we want to be,” Lee said. “But it’s all about going game by game, starting this week with a team [North Attleboro] that we have a ton of respect for.”
Looking at the long list of returning players, it is no surprise that expectations around Alumni Field are sky high this fall. Mansfield enters the season with experience at just about every position and with the bitter taste of last year’s South final loss to rival King Philip still stinging. Despite a rash of injuries that forced running back Aidan Sacco to play as an emergency quarterback for most of the season, Mansfield still won a league title and this year’s team may be even more talented, which has ramped up the hype and put the target squarely on the Hornets’ backs.
The line of scrimmage will be a strength for the Hornets on the offensive side of the ball, as they return four of five starters from last year’s unit that allowed the team to rush for more than 2,600 yards. Senior Jason Comeau and reigning HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year TJ Guy will be two key cogs in the line, while senior Noah Jellenik and junior Jake McCoy are also back. Senior Andrew Cowles will step into the fifth spot. They will seek to protect senior quarterback Jack Moussette, who had a cameo under center last year before an injury forced him to miss the bulk of the season. The skill positions will be loaded with athletes. Cincere Gill had a breakout sophomore season at running back and senior Nick Marciano is back after an injury cut short his junior season. Senior Michael DeBolt was one of the top kickers in the league but also gives Mansfield another weapon on the edges, while senior Vinnie Holmes adds a bruising presence coming out of the backfield.
Holmes is the headliner on the defensive side of the ball. Along with fellow linebackers Marciano, DeBolt, and senior Joe Plath, Holmes will be expected to make big plays all over the field. The defensive line will be strong with three returning players: senior Chris Graham, McCoy, and Guy. Junior Nico Holmes will step in as the fourth man on the line. Much like on offense, speed will be a strength and the secondary is loaded with playmakers, including Gill, junior Matt Boen, and senior Makhi Baskin.
“We have a bunch of experience all over the field, but we really have to develop depth with the second team to handle a tough schedule and challenges every week,” said Mansfield coach Mike Redding. “This is one of the fastest group of skill guys we’ve ever had and we could be explosive on offense. We lack a little size up front on defense, but we should be able to overcome that by flying around with pursuit to the ball with our speed.”
There was no question that 2018 was a tough season for the Tigers. Oliver Ames lost by a point in the season opener to Concord-Carlisle and didn’t earn its only win until the penultimate game against Durfee. The Tigers will hope to turn things around quickly with an infusion of young talent under new head coach Ed DeWitt.
On offense, the players will be learning a new system, but there is experience in the backfield to try and implement different schemes. Senior running back Nathan Cabral figures to see plenty of the ball again this year after his breakout junior season in which he ran for more than 1,100 yards. He will be joined by senior quarterback Cam Perron and senior running back Sam Stevens to give the Tigers a strong core. Seniors Harrison Webster and Adam Cann (who is coming off an injury) will give Perron weapons to utilize on the outside.
There will be a lot of new faces on the defensive side, as DeWitt can call on three or four returning starters and will need a number of players to provide contributions on both sides of the ball. The linebacking corps was particularly hit by graduations, although senior Tyler Campbell can provide some experience and leadership in that position and Cabral brings athleticism to the role. Max Anderson and Anthony DeCosta will be important at the line of scrimmage, while Stevens will step into the secondary along with senior corner Nick Gillis and junior corner Jadon Ricci.
“The competition in camp has been great,” DeWitt said. “The players have committed to the program and bought into the day to day work that we need to do. We are focusing on making sure we treat every day as an opportunity to improve and string together some positive momentum.”
The Tigers started last season with three straight wins and then finished with three wins in their final four games to end 2018 with a winning record. Taunton enters this fall with a relatively inexperienced roster, but one that is looking to continue the momentum in the program and try to push forward so it can challenge the top teams in the Kelley-Rex division.
One of the biggest changes for the Tigers will be under center. Noah Leonard was the starter for three seasons, but junior Danny MacDougall will take over this year. MacDougall will also see time at receiver to try and take advantage of his athleticism. He will be joined in the backfield by classmates Bretton Heggs and Josh Lopes, who both got time at running back as sophomores. Juniors Kedrick Santos and Devante McPhail will be the primary weapons at receiver. Up front, the Tigers have decent size. Senior Mike Murray will be at center, senior Hussein Kassab at one tackle, junior Marquis Dalomba at the other tackle, and junior Jordan Manning at guard.
Similar to the offensive side of the ball, the Tigers lack experience on defense and are still learning the schemes, but physical scrimmages have helped prepare them for the season. Senior Woudanly Danger is a force at the line of scrimmage and will require attention from opponents and senior Jackson Wellman has been one of the team’s top tacklers from linebacker. Junior defensive end Deandre McPhail adds to the strength of the line. Senior Curt Marshall and MacDougall will be the safeties and senior Cam Carroca will be at corner.
“We’re going to keep doing what we’re doing and trying to get better and to be competitive in the league,” said Taunton coach Brad Sidwell. “We’re definitely inexperienced, but physically we have guys who can do it and we need to coach them up so they’ll be ready to go once the season gets started.”
Below are the official 2019 Hockomock League Wrestling All Stars, selected by the coaches in the league.
Hockomock League MVP
Mateusz Kudra, North Attleboro
Hockomock League All Stars
Thomas Gallagher, Foxboro
William Ogebebor, Foxboro
Shayne Kerrigan, Foxboro
Drew DiFillipo, Franklin
Jake Carlucci, Franklin
Jordan Carlucci, Franklin
Alex Fracassa, Franklin
Dom Sackley, Franklin
Mohammad Lofti, King Philip
Luke Fitch, King Philip
Shawn Conniff, King Philip
Antonios Sevastos, Mansfield
CJ Glaropoulos, Mansfield
George Glaropoulos, Mansfield
Jayden Curley, Mansfield
William Stratton, Mansfield
Nick Marcolini, Milford
Carlos Terrinha, Milford
Mateusz Kudra, North Attleboro
John Kummer, North Attleboro
Michael Burns, North Attleboro
Michael Edmonds, North Attleboro
Dean Pacini, Oliver Ames
William Tat, Oliver Ames
Alex Bolt, Sharon
For the first time in over a decade, a pair of wrestlers from the Hockomock League were crowned MIAA All-State Champions. Mansfield’s Jayden Curley avenged a loss from earlier in the season to win the title at 170 and North Attleboro’s Mateusz Kudra continued his undefeated season by taking . the 285 championship.
The last time that two Hockomock wrestlers won All-State championships in the same year was 2007 when Franklin’s Ryan Donovan (145) and Matt Sidebottom (285) took home the hardware for the Panthers. It’s the first time since 2006 that wrestlers from two Hock schools (Sharon’s Dan Bloom at 119 and Foxboro’s Nick Avery at 171) won at All-States.
A week ago at the MIAA D1 State Tournament at Methuen High, Curley suffered a 7-2 setback in the semifinals to Springfield Central’s Dohnivin Harvey. This weekend, Curley had a chance for revenge. The senior needed less than a minute to get a pin in his opening match over Tyngsboro’s Mark Thomas and then earned a second-round pin over Danvers’ Russell Canova to advance to the semifinals.
Curley earned a pair of first-round takedowns on Middleboro’s Jacob Studley before getting the pin at 1:14 to move on to the final to face off with Harvey. He took a 2-0 lead in the first round after a takedown, and then extended the lead to 7-0 after a takedown and near fall in the second. Harvey scored a takedown early in the third, but Curley got an escape 16 seconds later and added a takedown and near fall in the final 63 seconds to earn the 12-2 win. Curley is the first Hornet to win an All-State title since James Connors in 2005, a heavyweight that went 101-18 in his career.
While North Attleboro has a rich program history, one of the most successful teams in the state, it didn’t have an All-State champion to add to its résumé — until now. Kudra dominated the competition throughout the season and marched his way through the heavyweight bracket to claim the All-State title.
Kudra, the top-seed in the bracket, built up a 10-0 lead over Andover’s Ethan Coyle in his opening match before earning a fall at 2:32 to move onto the quarterfinals. The domination continued in the next round as Kudra had takedowns in the first and second rounds, as well as a near fall, to take a 6-0 win over Agawam’s Antonio Ramos. In the semifinal, the senior grappler won by major decision (9-0) over Lawrence’s Brandon Santell.
In the final, Kudra secured the championship with a late first round takedown and an escape in the second round, earning a 3-1 win over Xaverian’s Grant Laws, the MIAA D1 State Champion. Laws was able to get a third-round escape, snapping Kudra’s ridiculous postseason stretch of 10 straight matches without giving up a point. That was 10 consecutive matches against the best heavyweights in the entire state without allowing a single point.
For team totals, Mansfield had the best finish of Hockomock teams, taking third with 77.5 points, just one point behind second-place Central Catholic.
1. Springfield Central – 171
3. Mansfield – 77.5
11. North Attleboro – 49
33. King Philip – 24
34. Foxboro – 23
38. Franklin – 20
40. Oliver Ames – 17
75. Milford – 4
76. Sharon – 4
8th – Antonios Sevastos, Mansfield
6th – Jordan Carlucci, Franklin
7th – Tommy Gallagher, Foxboro
5th – Mohammed Lofti, King Philip
6th – Will Stratton, Mansfield
3rd – CJ Glaropoulos, Mansfield
7th – Michael Edmonds, North Attleboro
7th – George Glaropoulos, Mansfield
1st – Jayden Curley, Mansfield
8th – Billy Tat, Oliver Ames
7th – Shawn Conniff, King Philip
8th – Dean Pacini, Oliver Ames
Mansfield and North Attleboro, this year’s Hockomock League champions from the Kelley-Rex and Davenport divisions, each earned second place finishes at the divisional state tournaments held on Friday and Saturday. Mansfield was the runner-up at the D1 State Tournament held at Metheun High, scoring 113 points. Springfield Central ran away with the state title, scoring 199.5 points. At Beverly High, the Rocketeers registered 104.5 points, second to only Central Catholic’s 167 points.
Foxboro shined at the Division 3 tournament at Wakefield High School, taking third overall. The Warriors had three wrestlers advance to the finals and had two winners, earning 105 points. Taconic won the title with 113 points and Dedham was second with 111 points.
Back in Division 1, Franklin had five wrestlers place sixth or better, earning 87.5 points which was good for seventh overall. King Philip also had a top ten finish, taking eighth overall in Division 2 with 68 points. Oliver Ames was 13th overall with 50 points while Milford earned 43 points and 19th place.
For individuals, Foxboro was the lone Hockomock school with two state champions. Shayne Kerrigan had five takedowns and two near falls in the final, earning a 15-3 major decision over Tri-County’s Patrick Griffin to win the D3 State Title at 132. In the next match, Tommy Gallagher and Tyngsboro’s Josh Ducharme went scoreless for three rounds but Gallagher earned a takedown in the overtime period, earning a 2-0 decision for the D3 State Title at 138.
Mansfield’s CJ Glaropoulos won his first state title, defeating St. John’s Prep Achilles Gikas for the crown. Glaropoulos scored a reversal with 29 seconds left in the second round, and that was enough for the 2-0 decision to win the D1 State Title at 152. The Hornets had four other wrestlers advance to the consolation match, and four won to take third place.
North Attleboro senior Mateusz Kudra continued his undefeated season with his second straight state title. Kudra earned three straight pins to advance to the final against Tewksbury’s Dylan Chandler. After a scoreless first round, Kudra got an escape early in the second, then got a takedown, and earned a near fall with six seconds left for a 5-0 advantage, which proved to be enough for the win.
1. Springfield Central – 199.5
2. Mansfield – 113
6. Franklin – 87.5
41. Taunton – 1
6th – Drew DiFilipo, Franklin
3rd – Jake Carlucci, Franklin
3rd – Antonios Sevastos, Mansfield
2nd – Jordan Carlucci, Franklin
3rd – Will Stratton, Mansfield
1st – CJ Glaropoulos, Mansfield
3rd – George Glaropoulos, Mansfield
5th – Caleb MacLean, Franklin
Three Hockomock teams claimed sectional titles on Saturday, five others finished inside the top five, and 26 grapplers claimed individual sectional titles. Franklin dominated the D1 Central bracket, racking up 272 points behind six individual champions, two finalists, and two third-place finishes. The Panthers had over a 50 point cushion over second place Brookline. In the South section, Mansfield repeated as D1 South champions by edging out host Brockton, and North Attleboro snagged another D2 South title with six individual champions.
Foxboro earned second place in D3 South with an impressive 13 wrestlers finishing sixth or better at the tournament. Oliver Ames had its best ever finish at sectionals, taking third place in the D2 South bracket while Sharon took fifth overall. King Philip took third place in the D2 Central sectional, edging out Milford by a half of a point. Stoughton tied for seventh place in D2 South, Canton earned eighth in D2 Central, and Taunton placed 11th in D1 South.
Franklin’s Drew DiFilippo earned the D1 Central sectional title at 106 with a 7-0 decision. He scored all seven of his points in the first round, earning a takedown and then a pair of near falls. Jake Carlucci picked up a 7-4 win in the 113 final, using an escape and a late reversal to seal the title. Jordan Carlucci dominated in the 132 final, scoring nine straight points after the match was tied at 2-2 early on, and Ken Sauer won the 138 championship with an impressive 9-1 decision, only allowing an escape late in the third period. Dominic Sackley was the fifth Panther to win a title, using an escape and takedown in the second, and a takedown in the third to secure a 7-1 decision. And Matt Leofanti scored an upset in the 220 final, using a second period takedown and a third period escape to upend the top seed, 3-1. Caleb MacLean (160) and Riley Downing (285) earned second, Alex Fracassa (126) and Dylan Nawn (182) were both third, and Ben Jacoby (195) was fourth.
A year after Mansfield claimed its first sectional title, the Hornets grabbed their second D1 South crown in a row. Will Stratton needed less than two minutes to get a pinfall victory in the 145 title match, and George Glaropoulos had a similar performance in the 160 championship, earning the title by pinfall in 1:31. After a scoreless first period, CJ Glaropoulos scored a reversal in the second and a takedown in the third to secure the D1 South title at 152. Jayden Curley cruised through the 170 bracket in impressive fashion, pinning his first two opponents in under a minute, winning his semifinal match via pinfall in 1:34, and then took the title with a pin in just 33 seconds. Ethan Nirenberg was Mansfield’s fifth winner, using a second period escape and a near fall in the third to win 4-0. Antonios Sevastos added a second place finish, and Stefan Steyn earned third for the Hornets. Taunton’s Jackson Wellman, in his first year wrestling, earned third at 182 and Christian Balmain took home fourth.
Of the 14 champions in Division 2 South, nine came from Hockomock teams with North Attleboro having six winners and Oliver Ames taking three individual titles. After a tech fall and a decision to reach the final, North Attleboro’s Mike Burns earned a first round pin to win the 138 crown. Two weight classes later, North’s Michael Edmonds scored all of his points in the second and third rounds, overcoming a 5-0 first round deficit to stun top-seeded Tristan Williamson of Hingham for the 152 D2 South championship. Montrel Jackson followed suit, scoring a second round pin to upset top-seeded Declan Byrne of Pembroke. In the 220 final, John Kummer added another upset win for the Rocketeers, getting five points in the final 31 seconds to knock off top-seeded Will Dion of Plymouth North by a score of 8-3. Liam Rizk was trailing 6-2 in the 220 match before securing a pinfall victory, and Mateusz Kudra needed just over a minute to get a pin over Stoughton’s Calvin LaGuerre in the 285 final for North’s sixth individual title. Oliver Ames’ Nick McGovern had a big day, earning two pins to advance to the semifinals, then knocked off #2 Vinay Chinnam of Sharon, 13-10. In the final, McGovern shocked top-seeded David White of Hingham with a second period pinfall. Billy Tat (170) earned the title with a first round pin, and Dean Pacini secured the 195 crown with a third round pin.
Also in D2 South, North Attleboro’s Ethan Smith (120) was second, and Jon Lozinski (132) and Matt Warsofsky (170) both placed third. OA freshman John Dobbin continued his strong rookie season by taking second in the 106 bracket, and Max Anderson (220), Nelson Malone (132), and Remi Creighton (120) all earned fourth place finishes. Sharon had five grapplers take third place including Alex Bolt (195), Amit Levin (120), Huguens Pierre (138), Jon Wald (182), and Tyler Cashton (152) while Andrew Ableman (160) and Vinay Chinnam (126) finished fourth. On top of LaGuerre’s second place finish in the heavyweight bracket, Stoughton’s John Santos (113) took third overall, and CJ Carpenter (106) was fourth.
All three Hockomock teams in the D2 Central tournament earned at least one individual champion. King Philip had a pair of champions as Luke Fitch (182), and Shawn Conniff (195) earned back-to-back pinfall victories. Conniff earned an upset in the final, knocking off top-seeded Alex Childs of Nashoba. Mohammad Lofti (145) and Yousef Lotfi (285) both finished second for the Warriors and Benjamin Leclair (113) and Noah Riedel (138) each finished fourth. Milford will be sending six wrestlers to states, highlighted by Carlos Terrinha, who won the D1 Central title at 120. After winning the first two matches by fall, Terrinha earned the title with a 10-3 decision. Nick Marcolini (152) finished second, Dan Pinto (138), Dylan Ortiz (132), and Joao Neiva (195) each took third, and Evan Hazard (126) was fourth overall. Canton’s Cole Murphy won his first sectional title, earning a pinfall victory (his second of the day) in the 170 final to get the win. Harry Carter (132) and Zach Peters (106) each took second, and Mark Carstairs (120) finished third overall for the Bulldogs.
Foxboro had a terrific showing at the D3 Sectional, having a wrestler place sixth or better in all but one weight class. The Warriors, who finished second to Norton in the team standings, had three individual champions. Shayne Kerrigan (132) won by pinfall in his first two matches and then picked up a pair of decisions, the latter a 7-1 win in the finals to get the title. Tommy Gallagher (138) followed Kerrigan’s title win up with one of his own, earning a pin in his first match, a 2-0 decision in the semifinals, and then a 6-3 decision in the finals, highlighted by a nearfall in the third period. William Ogebebor (220) was the third Warrior to win a sectional title, needing just 30 seconds to win his first match, advancing to the final with a 5-0 win in the semifinal, and then an 8-2 decision to become the champion. Foxboro’s Adam Lanctot (120), Tom Cullen (170), and William McNeil (285) each finished third while Matt Sharkey (145) and Sean Bubencik (106) each took fourth place.
Foxboro, 0 @ Oliver Ames, 3 – Final – Oliver Ames took the lead with a goal in the first period and then tacked on two more in the second to record a shutout win over visiting Foxboro. Senior Max Ward scored a shorthanded goal to put the Tigers ahead and Brett Williams scored twice in the second period to pace OA. Freshman Bryan Kearns had three assists and junior goalie Owen Connor made nine saves for the shutout.
Stoughton, 1 @ King Philip, 10 – Final
Franklin, 4 @ Taunton, 1 – Final – Franklin scored twice in each the first and second periods to earn two points on the road against Taunton. Colin Hedvig and Matt Holmes scored in the first period for the Panthers while Shane McCaffrey and Scott Elliott tallied goals in the second period.
Canton, 5 @ Mansfield/Oliver Ames, 5 – Final – In a back-and-forth battle, Canton sophomore Maria Femia scored with 1:15 left in the contest to help the Bulldogs earn a draw. The Bulldogs held a 2-1 lead after one period after Lindsay McManus and Lauren Fitzpatrick scored two early goals. Alex Ledin got the Warriors on the board in the first. Katie Trerice extended the lead to 3-1 but Emma Pereira and Lily O’Brien answered for MOA to knot the game at 3-3. Canton’s Maggie Malloy scored with two seconds left in the second to give the visitors a 4-3 advantage heading into the final frame. Mackenzi Fraser scored twice in the third to put MOA ahead but Femia’s late goal secured a point for both teams. Skyler Sharfman had three assists for MOA.
Stoughton, 3 @ Franklin, 8 – Final – Franklin sophomore Katelyn Brown scored a hat trick, senior Lindsey Maloof scored once, and senior Tori MacLeod had three assists to lead the Panthers to a win. Senior Gianna Cornetta made 13 saves, including one on a penalty shot, to earn the win.
King Philip, 3 vs. Ursuline Academy, 0 – Final
Peckham Tournament (Canton, King Philip, Mansfield, Sharon, Stoughton) – Sharon’s depth paid off as the Eagles took second place with 155.5 points despite not having an individual champion on the day. The Eagles had three grapplers take third, four finish third and one take fourth overall. Tyler Cashton (152), Huguens Pierre (138), and Alex Bolt (220) finished second while Vinay Chinnam (126), Max Pozner (145), Jon Wald (182), and Andrew Ableman (160) earned third place finishes. Mansfield had four individual champions and eight total grapplers come in fourth or better but was one point shy of the Eagles, earning 154.5 points for third place. Jayden Curley (170), George Glaropoulos (160), CJ Glaropoulos (152), and Antonios Sevastos (120) each won their respective brackets, Ethan Nirenberg (182) was second, and Max Farley (113), and Ciaran Connolley (152) finished third. King Philip earned 134 points for sixth overall behind individual champions Mohammad Lofti (145) and Luke Fitch (182). Shawn Conniff (195) added a second place finish and Noah Riedel (132) and Jackson Kelley (138) earned third place finishes. Stoughton was seventh overall with 96.5 points, highlighted by CJ Carpenter’s win at 106 and John Santos’ second place finish at 113. Host Canton had 96 points, good for eighth place with Jordan Neundorf (160) and Harry Carter (126) earning second place finishes.
Chelmsford Tournament (Foxboro), 9:00
Natick Red Hawk Duals (Franklin) – Franklin dominated the day, winning five dual meets to earn first place at the Red Hawk Duals at Natick High. The Panthers beat Lincoln-Sudbury (63-9), Merrimack (75-4), Mt. Hope (51-17), Wellesley (60-6), and Natick (63-12). Franklin’s Alex Fracassa, Jordan Carlucci, Ken Sauer, Caleb MacLean, Dominic Sackley, and Riley Downing all went undefeated on the day.
North Attleboro Super Quad (North Attleboro) – The Rocketeers split the day, picking up a pair of wins but also dropping two matches. Big Red knocked off LaSalle Academy (45-22) and Bridgewater-Raynham (57-17) but suffered setbacks to St. John’s Prep (44-21) and Plymouth South (39-28). North Attleboro’s Montrel Jackson (160, two pins), John Kummer (220, pin), and Mateusz Kudra (285, four pins) each went 4-0 for the Rocketeers. Ethan Smith (120) won two matches by fall, one by decision, and one by forfeit to also go unbeaten on the day.
Sandwich Quad (Oliver Ames) – Oliver Ames picked up a win over Sandwich (42-37) but suffered a setback to Hingham (45-33) to finish 1-1 on the day. Senior Dean Pacini earned his 100th career win at the meet.
Quincy Quad (Taunton) – Taunton went 3-0 on the day, picking up wins over Durfee (54-18), Bellingham (60-24), and host Quincy (39-30). Xavier Sandoval (132, pin), Jackson Mandeville (138), Christian Balmain (152, three pins), and Devin Wilson (220, two pins) each went 3-0 on the day to pace the Tigers. Brandon Mendes (106), Candido Santos (160, pin), and Avery Justa (195, two pins) each had a pair of wins.
North Attleboro, 58 vs. Bishop Feehan, 37 – Final – North Attleboro limited Bishop Feehan to just 15 points in the opening half, building a 32-15 lead by the break and never looked back. The Rocketeers pounded the paint, using their size to their advantage, connecting on 26 two-point field goals. Jake Petersen had a team-high 14 points for North while Josh Montague added 10 points, sophomore George Ladd finished with nine points, and Nate Gonsalves chipped in seven points.
Taunton 72 vs. New Bedford, 66 – Final – New Bedford raced out to a 24-14 lead after the first quarter, and had the lead up to as much as 15 before Taunton closed the gap with a big second quarter. Senior Lou Vendrell scored nine of his 11 points in the second quarter on three triples to help the Tigers cut the deficit to just two, 31-29, at halftime. Senior Mike Quinn scored 15 of his team-high 17 points in the second half, Wesner Charles added 14 points, and John Martins scored all 10 of his points in the second half to help the Tigers earn the win.
Canton, 57 @ Weymouth, 48 – Final – Canton got strong games from three of its freshmen to win on the road at Weymouth (where the Bulldogs clinched a playoff spot last season). Kiara Cerruti led the way for the Bulldogs with 19 points, including 6-of-8 at the line. Sydney Gallery scored 12 and her sister Fay chipped in with 11 points. Canton coach Jim Choquette credited the team’s defensive pressure and its transition game for the win, which moved the Bulldogs back to .500 on the season.
Foxboro, 54 vs. Walpole, 40 – Final – The Warriors won a second non-league game in a row to stay unbeaten on the season. Katelyn Mollica was the top scorer for Foxboro with 14 points and the Warriors also got strong games from Yara Fawaz and Chelsea Gibbons, who each scored 13 points.
Milford, 19 @ Norwood, 61 – Final
North Attleboro, 61 @ Weston, 42 – Final – North went on the road and earned its first win of the season. Julia Feid scored 20 points to pace the Rocketeers and Eliza Dion added 12 points in the victory.
Sharon, 43 vs. Holliston, 49 – Final – The Eagles stormed back into the game in the fourth quarter but it wasn’t enough to catch Holliston. Kaitlyn Wallace had 12 points, Evanjuline Elisma had 11, and Telishya Herbert had eight in the loss.
Attleboro, 0 @ Canton, 9 – Final – Canton senior Ryan Nolte scored a hat trick and six other players found the back of the net as the Bulldogs opened league play with an impressive win over Attleboro.
King Philip, 2 @ Foxboro, 1 – Final – King Philip dominated in shots but had to kill five penalties and needed a late third period goal to earn a win over Foxboro. The Warriors, who had a 36-9 advantage in shots, went ahead in the first period on a goal from Jack Coulter, assisted by Luke D’Amico. Foxboro tied the game on a tally from Brendan Tully (unassisted) with 2:23 to go in the second period. KP sophomore Rocco Bianculli scored the game-winner on a feed from senior Brendan Shandley and junior Chris Daniels. with 2:36 to play. Foxboro had a power play over the final 1:39 but the Warriors’ best chance hit the post in the final moments and stayed out.
Franklin, 3 @ Canton, 2 – Final – Click here for a photo gallery from this game. – Franklin senior Regan Paterson scored a pair of goals and assisted on another to pace the Panthers to a key road win. Paterson opened the scoring just 53 seconds into the game, using a self pass off the boards to beat the defense and then finished with a nice shot. Franklin made it 2-0 with a power play goal with 3:10 left in the first. Tina Pisano played the puck behind the net, Paterson collected it, and found Jordan Dwyer open in front for a goal. Canton got on the board with 1:10 left in the second period as Leah McClellan found Katie Trerice, and her shot from just inside the blue line found its way through traffic and into the net. Franklin responded with a power play goal early in the third. Pisano found Cassi Ronan streaking into the area and she connected with Paterson right in front. Lauren Fitzpatrick scored with 1:18 on the power play to bring the Bulldogs within one. Gabby Colace made 33 saves in the win for Franklin.
King Philip, 1 vs. Dennis-Yarmouth, 3 – Final
Stoughton, 2 @ Cambridge, 11 – Final
Sharon, 37 @ Canton, 26 – Final – Click here for a Photo Gallery from this dual meet. – Sharon’s Vinay Chinnam (126) and Tyler Cashton (152) earned pinfall victories and the Eagles got 18 points from forfeits to earn a win over Canton. Huguens Pierre (138) and Max Pozner (145) also had wins for the Eagles. Canton’s Zach Peters (106, dec.), Jack Turano (113, pin), Mark Carstairs (120, dec.), Harry Carter (152, pin), Jordan Neundorf (160, dec.), and Cole Murphy (170, dec.) had wins for the Bulldogs.
Taunton, 24 @ King Philip, 53 – Final – Six Warriors won by pinfall and two more won by decision as King Philip picked up a win over Taunton. Conor Harrington (106), Michael Gorman (113), Sam DeBaggis (126), Jackson Kelley (138), Sean O’Brien (170), and Shawn Conniff (195) all won by pin for KP while Mohammad Lofti (145, 16-0) and Luke Fitch (182, 4-0) each won by decision without giving up a point. Taunton’s Tyler Lima (120, pin), Christian Balmain (152, dec.), Candido Santos (160, dec.), and Woudanly Danger (285, pin) picked up wins.
Mansfield, 33 @ Melrose, 39 – Final
Oliver Ames, 74 @ Franklin, 93 – Final – Junior Chris Carey took first in the 100 free and junior Pat Juszczyszyn won the 500 free to pace the Panthers to a win.
Oliver Ames, 93 @ Franklin, 74 – Final – Franklin senior Katie Cashin was a double winner, taking first in both the 100 free and 20 free.
Oliver Ames, 130.4 @ Canton, 102.75 – Final – Oliver Ames picked up its third straight win to begin the season, with junior Lauren Picanzi capturing his third straight first place finish in the All Around. Picanzi scored a 33.7 while OA sophomore Ashlyn Latham was second with a 32.8. Latham had a meet-best 9.0 on the vault.
Attleboro, 54 @ Bishop Feehan, 57 – Final – Attleboro took a 45-40 late in the third quarter but a 6-0 burst from the hosts had the Shamrocks ahead entering the final quarter and Bishop Feehan held on for the win. Senior Mason Houle scored a career-high 20 points for the Bombardiers, Kevin Velazquez added 11 points, and both Bryant Ciccio and Qualeem Charles finished with 10 points.
Foxboro, 52 vs. LaSalle Academy (R.I.), 31 – Final – Click here for a photo gallery of this game. – Foxboro’s defense had a strong outing, limiting visiting La Salle Academy to just 11 points in the first half. The Warriors led 29-11 at the break, but La Salle outscored the hosts 15-9 in the third quarter to inch back into the game. Foxboro erased any idea of a comeback with a quick 7-0 run to begin the fourth quarter, expanding the advantage it 46-26. Sophomore Kevin Gallagher scored a career-high 19 points, hitting five three-pointers. Junior Brandon Borde added 12 points and seven rebounds while junior Will Morrison chipped in with nine points.
King Philip, 71 @ Auburn, 53 – Final – King Philip used a terrific start to build a double-digit lead by halftime and never looked back with a win on the road at Auburn. Six players combined to score 25 points in the opening quarter for the Warriors, including seven from junior Alex Fritz (nine points) and six from Andrew McKinney (14 points). Senior Bruce Saintilus finished with a team-high 21 points, including 12 points in the third quarter.
North Attleboro, 48 vs. Lincoln-Sudbury, 36 – Final – Click here for a photo gallery of this game. – Lincoln-Sudbury closed the third quarter on a 13-2 run, erasing an eight-point deficit to take a 31-28 lead into the final period. North Attleboro responded with its best quarter on both ends of the floor, outscoring the Warriors 20-5 in the frame to earn the double-digit win. Josh Montague (nine points) got North within one before Ethan Friberg (12 points, seven rebounds) hit back-to-back triples and then a pair of free throws. L-S cut it to three with a triple but Friberg found Matt Seavey with a quick two and Nate Gonsalves (11 points, seven rebounds) scored four straight points to extend the advantage to 42-34. A late triple put North up by double-digits. North Attleboro had a terrific defensive performance, limiting L-S to single digits in three of the four quarters.
Sharon, 49 vs. Hingham, 73 – Final
Stoughton, 58 vs. Natick, 61 – Final – Stoughton junior Ajahn Rue scored a team-high 20 points but the Black Knights fell by three to Natick in the first round of the Blue Devil Holiday Classic at Randolph High.
Taunton, 57 @ Durfee, 73 – Final – Taunton trailed by just two at the end of one quarter but Durfee pushed the lead to eight by half (31-23) and then blew the game open with a 23-point third quarter. Junior Dante Law had a team-high 18 points while Wesner Charles added 10 points.
Mansfield, 37 @ Newtown (Conn.), 43 – Final – Playing under Conn. rules hurt the Hornets on Friday. With no shot clock, Newtown was able to sit on its lead for the entire fourth quarter and pull out the victory in the end. Mady Bendanillo led Mansfield with 13 points and Maggie Danehy had a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds in the loss.
Milford, 24 vs. Hopedale, 48 – Final
Oliver Ames, 54 vs. Brockton, 50 – Final – Oliver Ames overcame a 10-point deficit at halftime, putting up 38 points in the second half to earn a win over Brockton. Freshman Caroline Peper led the Tigers with 15 points, senior Alex Sheldon added 13 points and sophomore Caroline Flynn finished with eight points and 16 rebounds.
Sharon, 45 vs. Plymouth South, 37 – Final – Telishya Herbert paced the Eagles with 15 points and Evanjuline Elisma added 11 to help Sharon win the consolation game at the Cardinal Spellman tournament.
Stoughton, 35 vs. @ Newton South, 56 – Final – The Black Knights lost for the second in two days to a highly-ranked Div. 1 team. Sydnee Hyacinthe scored 15 points and Aliyah Wright added 12 for Stoughton. Wright was named to the all-tournament team.
Foxboro, 6 @ Cohasset, 1 – Final
Franklin, 3 vs. Bishop Guertin (NH), 2 – Final (OT)
Mansfield, 3 vs. Lowell Catholic, 2 – Final
Oliver Ames, 4 vs. Hanover, 6 – Final – Cullen Gallagher and Matt McCormack each scored a goal and assisted on another, but it wasn’t enough for the Tigers, who out shot Hanover 40-30 in the loss. Owen Connor made 24 saves in goal, while Max Ward and Colin Bourne also scored for OA. Bryan Kearns had a pair of assists for the Tigers.
Wrestling Lowell Tournament – Canton’s Eddie Marinilli became the first wrestling in program history to win an individual title at the George Bossi Lowell Holiday Tournament. Marinilli took first in the 145 bracket, which featured 60 wrestlers. Marinilli knocked off the fifth seeded wrestler in the quarterfinals to earn his 100th career win and then took down the top-seeded grappler Jacob Cardozo of Southington in the semifinals. In the finals, Marinilli used takedowns in the first and second periods, plus an escape in the third, to pick up a 5-3 win. Franklin had the top finish as a team, taking 17th overall with 89 points. Foxboro was 21st with 80 points, Canton totaled 72 points, Stoughton had 35 points and Taunton finished with 27 points. Franklin’s Jordan Carlucci (132) was the top Panther, taking third overall while Jake Carlucci (113) and Dominic Sackley (170) each took eighth. For Foxboro, William Ogebebor battled his way to a third place finish at 220 and Adam Lanctot (120) had a sixth place finish. Taunton’s Woudanly Danger (285) was seventh overall.
Framingham Tournament – King Philip and Milford both finished inside the top 10 at the 24-team Framingham Holiday Tournament. The Warriors were sixth overall with one individual champion and 133.5 points while the Hawks picked up 126 points with two champions. KP’s Shawn Conniff (195) won an individual title, earning a second round pin over Methuen’s Erick Lucas. Trailing 3-2 after a round, and 5-2 early in the second, Conniff used an escape, a takedown, and a near fall to go up 8-5 before getting the pin. Mohammad Lotfi (145) took second for the Warriors while Michael Gorman (113) and Jackson Kelley (138) each had fourth place finishes. Milford’s Carlos Terrinha (120) and Nick Marcolini (152) each won their brackets, with Marcolini picking up his 100th career win on the day. Ryan Hazard (170) added a third place finish for the Hawks.
Marshfield Tournament – Four Hockomock teams placed in the top 13 teams at the annual Marshfield Holiday Tournament, which featured 37 teams. Mansfield had the best finish among Hock teams, taking third with 181 points, including two individual champions. North Attleboro was right behind, taking fourth with 157 and one champion. Oliver Ames had its best finish in program history, taking 12th with 98 points and one champion while Sharon finished 13th with 97 points. Mansfield’s Jayden Curley won the 170 bracket and earned the tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler award. George Glaropoulos won the 160 bracket while Antonios Sevastos (120), CJ Glaropoulos (152), and Ethan Nirenberg (182) each had third place finishes. North Attleboro senior Mateusz Kudra remained unbeaten on the year, winning the 285 bracket with an 8-0 major decision in the final. Liam Rizk (182) was second while Michael Burns (138) took third and John Kummer (220) was fourth overall. Oliver Ames senior Dean Pacini didn’t give up a single point all tournament on his way to being champion at 195, pinning all four of his opponents. Billy Tat (170) had a second place finish for the Tigers. Sharon had seven grapplers place in the top 10, highlighted by seventh place finishes from Alex Bolt (195) and Aaron Cashton (132).
Foxboro, 43 @ Stoughton, 27 – Final – Foxboro’s Spencer SanBento won a pair of individual races and was a member of two winning relay teams in the Warriors’ win over Stoughton. SanBento touched first in each the 50 free (30.97) and the 100 free (1:13). He joined Dimitri Davis, Thomas VanDell, and Ben Dorman to win the 200 relay (2:07), and then teamed up with Jared Roke, Kris Anderson, and Joseph St. Pierre to win the 400 relay (5:21).
Stoughton @ Sharon, 3:00 (@ Randolph)
Foxboro, 57 @ Stoughton, 33 – Final – Foxboro swept the three relay events to highlight a win over the Black Knights. In the 200 medley, Sarah Egan, Lindsey Nelson, Gina Ouellette, and Pam Nelson clocked in a 2:14 to get the win. That same group took first in the 200 relay (2:01) while Shannon Egan, Kendall Milender, Madison Feldman, and Ouellette touched first in the 400 relay (4:53).
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.
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.”
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 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.”