Mansfield Opens Season With Big Win Over BC High

Mansfield football Cincere Gill
Mansfield’s Cincere Gill tries to avoid being tackled in the second half against BC High. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
MANSFIELD, Mass. – All Cincere Gill wanted was a second chance, and he didn’t have to wait very long to get one.

On the first offensive series after seeing a potential touchdown pass slip through his hands, Gill took the first handoff 64 yards for a touchdown to give the Hornets a two-touchdown lead and sparked Mansfield to a 31-10 win over visiting BC High.

Locked in a tight game, senior quarterback Jack Moussette delivered a perfect pass over the top to Gill, who had beat two defenders. But instead of a long touchdown pass, the Hornets had to punt.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

As it did all night, Mansfield’s defense came through on the ensuing drive by forcing a three and out and getting the Hornets the ball back at thrown 36-yard line. Hornet head coach Mike Redding gave Gill the chance to redeem himself, and the junior back turned on the jets to get around the right side and sprinted to the end zone.

“I told the guys to go pat him on the back, get him back into it,” Redding said after the drop. “And the next series, he pops the big run. That’s a sign of maturity…last year he might have struggled to get the confidence back. But he got the big touchdown the next drive. I like the way he responded, had the big run which I thought was the turning point of the second half. We were struggling [offensively] but getting stops. It was still 10-3 or a close ball game there so popping that long run gave us breathing room.

“With Cincere, if you make a mistake and don’t have a guy to slow him down, he gets momentum and it’s going to be tough to track him down.”

Gill finished with 106 rushing yards and two touchdowns while senior Michael DeBolt (148 all-purpose yards) accounted for 19 points for the Hornets, scoring two rushing touchdowns, kicking a field goal, and connecting on four extra points.

While the Hornets finished with 31 points, it wasn’t until the second half that the offense really clicked. On the opening drive and on fourth down, Gill scored on a 29 yard run with a major assist to Nico Holmes, who came up with a huge block to create some space.

Mansfield only had two more drives in the first half: a 14-play, 52-yard drive ended with a missed field goal. And just before the half, Mansfield settled for a buzzer-beating field goal despite strong starting field position.

Meanwhile, the defense came up with some big stops to prevent the Eagles from tying the game. BC High’s second drive of the game even had a first and goal at the Hornet 2-yard line but had to settle for a field goal. Junior Matt Boen had a sack on first down and a pass break up on second down. After a rushed throw on third down, Cormac Kennelly connected on a 25-yard field goal to make it 7-3.

Two series later, BC High went for it on 4th and 4 from their own 41-yard line but junior Jake McCoy came through with an 11-yard sack. That allowed the Hornets to grab a field goal as time expired and a 10-3 lead at half.

“The defense had a great preseason,” Redding said. “People have talked about our skill guys on offense but the defense has a lot of guys back. We’re not very big at all but we get after the ball, we’re good tacklers. I thought [the defense] held us together because we had some offensive struggles at times, some bad series. When we did that, the defense got us the ball back until we got into a rhythm. That’s big, getting stops when you’re struggling on offense.”

After Gill’s big run put the Hornets ahead 17-3, the flood gates seemed to open up a bit for Mansfield.

The Hornets needed just five plays to score on their next drive. Vinnie Holmes helped the Hornets move the chains early in the drive, but facing 3rd and 10, Moussette hit DeBolt on a screen and he went the rest of the way, scampering 48 yards for a touchdown with Danny Rapoza coming up with a key block downfield.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

After BC High found the end zone for the first time, Mansfield needed just two plays to respond. DeBolt cut into some space along the left side and raced past the defense for a 79-yard touchdown.

“We are [a big play offense], we might get stuffed a play or two but if you can get Cincere or Mike in open space, you can go 60 yards in a hurry,” Redding said. “We might not be able to grind it out on a regular basis, but if the defense makes a mistake, we’re able to pop one. I thought the offensive line played well tonight against a really big, physical front. We threw well enough to keep them honest. I didn’t think we’d score 31 against them but we had a pretty good night offensively.”

Mansfield football (1-0) hits the road for an out of state clash in Ohio next week, taking on LaSalle on Friday night at 7:00.

Football: 2019 Kelley-Rex Division Preview

King Philip football Ryan Halliday
King Philip’s Ryan Halliday carries the ball against Foxboro in the third quarter in 2018. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2019 Kelley-Rex Football Preview

Attleboro

2018 Record: 4-7
2018 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinal
Coach: Mike Strachan

Key/Returning Players: Qualeem Charles, Sr., OT/DT; Isaac Gudiel, Sr., OG/LB; Nolan Jaeger, Sr., WR/CB; Jason Weir, Sr., QB/DE; Michael Strachan, Jr., LB/TE; Ethan Cameron, Sr., WR/DB; Justin Daniels, Jr., RB/DB

Outlook:
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

2018 Record: 7-4
2018 Finish: Reached D1 South Semifinal
Coach: Eian Bain

Key/Returning Players: Evan Wertz, Sr., LB; Jack Nally, Sr., WR/DB; Jake Davis, Sr., WR/DB; Dom Natale, Sr., OL/DL; Thomas Gasbarro, Sr., QB/DB; Owen Palmieiri, Sr., RB/DB; Ben Greco, Sr., WR/DB; Xander Honor, Jr., RB/LB; Austin Jordan, Sr., OL/LB; Luke Cunningham, Sr., TE/DE; Matt Lazarek, Sr., TE; Parker Cheuvront, Jr., K

Outlook:
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.”

King Philip

2018 Record: 9-3
2018 Finish: Reached D2 State Final
Coach: Brian Lee

Key/Returning Players: Ryan Halliday, Sr., RB/LB; Sam Callanan, Sr., RB/LB; Nolan Gunning, Sr., OL/DL; Robert Jarest, Sr., QB; Sean Piller, Sr., OL/DL; Pat Zarba, Jr., OL/DL; Shawn Conniff, Sr., FB/DL; Brian Wasserug, Sr., WR/DB; Crawford Cantave, So., WR/DB;

Outlook:
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.”




Mansfield

2018 Record: 8-3
2018 Finish: Reached D2 South Final (Kelley-Rex Champions)
Coach: Michael Redding

Key/Returning Players: Key/Returning Players: Jack Moussette, Sr., QB; Michael DeBolt, Sr., RB/LB/K; Vinnie Holmes, Sr., RB/LB; Makhi Baskin, Sr., RB/DB; Nick Marciano, Sr., RB/LB; Chris Graham, Sr., DL; Jason Comeau, Sr., OL/DL; TJ Guy, Jr., OL/DE; Cincere Gill, Jr., RB/DB; Dan Rapoza, Sr., SE/TE; Everett Knowlton, Jr., TE/DE; Matt Boen, Jr., WR/DB; Nico Holmes, Jr., TE/DL; Noah Jellenik, Sr., OC/NG; Andrew Cowles, Sr., DE/OG; Jake McCoy, Jr., OG/DT; Joe Plath, Sr., RB/LB

Outlook:
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.”

Oliver Ames

2018 Record: 1-10
2018 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Ed DeWitt

Key/Returning Players: Cam Perron, Sr., QB; Sam Stevens, Sr., DB; Shane Kilkelly, Sr., WR; Nathan Cabral, Sr., RB; Harrison Webster, Sr., WR; Max Anderson, Sr., OL/DE; Anthony DeCosta, Sr., OL/DL; Nick Gillis, Sr., CB; Jadon Ricci Jr., CB; Tyler Campbell, Sr., LB; Noah White, Sr., OL

Outlook:
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.”

Taunton

2018 Record: 6-5
2018 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Brad Sidwell

Key/Returning Players: Mason Frank, Sr., OL/DL; Danny MacDougall, Jr., QB/DB; Woudanly Danger, Sr., OL/DL; Marshall Curt, Sr., RB/DB; Mike Murray, Sr., OL/DL; Josh Lopes, Jr., RB/LB; Brett Heggs, Jr., RB/S; Everett Ferreira, Sr., WR/DB; Javon Franklin, Sr., WR/DB; Dylan Gookin, Sr., WR/DB; Kedrick Santos, Jr., LB/WR; Jackson Wellman, Sr., OL/LB

Outlook:
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.”

Hockomock Football: Players to Watch on Defense

Franklin football Evan Wertz
Evan Wertz (25) celebrates a fumble on Milford’s opening possession of the game in 2018. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

Player are listed alphabetically

Sam Callanan, Senior – King Philip

King Philip senior Sam Callanan could be poised for a breakout season as a vital piece of the Warriors’ defense. The bar has been set for the three-time defending South Sectional champs but King Philip did graduate a good amount of its top players from last year’s defensive unit. Callanan will bring experience to the King Philip defensive group and, as a captain, will be relied upon for his leadership both on and off the field. Last year, Callanan had a lot of success coming off the edge, using his speed to get past the offensive line and be disruptive in the backfield. He does a nice job of reading the play and using his speed to track down the play. He’s a versatile player that does a nice job in coverage as well, giving the Warriors some flexibility on defense.

Woudanly Danger, Senior – Taunton

Taunton senior defensive lineman Woudanly Danger lives up to his name, giving the Tigers a force at the line of scrimmage that opposing quarterbacks and ball carriers need to watch out for on every play. Danger had 30 tackles and three sacks from his tackle position, despite regularly facing double teams and blocking schemes designed to try and contain him. He also had 9-1/2 tackles for loss, helping the Tigers finish 2018 with a winning record and build momentum for a run at a playoff spot this fall. Strong and quick, Danger brings his wrestling background to the gridiron, finding ways to gain leverage, clog holes, and get into the backfield. With Danger back in the middle of the line, Taunton’s defense has a solid foundation and could be the strength of the team this season.

Kyle Fitzgerald, Senior – Canton

Canton senior Kyle Fitzgerald could easily have been on the Players to Watch list for offense as well because the running back and defensive back had a breakout season on both sides of the ball to help the Bulldogs secure a share of the league title for the first time in nearly three decades. Fitzgerald’s speed and his versatility made him a weapon on offense (16 touchdowns), but also made him a tenacious member of the Canton secondary. He recorded 41 tackles, had two interceptions, and recovered a pair of fumbles. A ballhawk, who gives the Bulldogs a solid cover guy on the corner but who can also step up and stop the run, Fitzgerald will be a key to Canton’s defense this season and one of the reasons that the Bulldogs have confidence that they can win back-to-back titles for the first time since winning a fifth straight in 1981.

Anton George, Senior – Foxboro

Foxboro’s Anton George seemed to play better and better throughout the 2018 campaign and will be looking to carry that into 2019 for the Warriors. A HockomockSports.com Hock 5 selection for defensive line, George is a disrupter and we mean that in a good way. He had 62 tackles last season, including five sacks and 11 quarterback hurries — simply put, he was a handful to deal with. He forced a pair of fumbles and deflected a pair of passes as well. A captain this year, George will be looking to anchor Foxboro back to the playoffs. The combination of speed and size helps set him apart from others and makes him a tough matchup for opposing tackles.

Christian Georges, Junior – Stoughton

The term playmaker is often used when talking about players on the offensive side of the ball, but Stoughton junior Christian Georges does it on the defensive end. Georges made a big splash as a sophomore, playing mostly as a defensive end but also a little time at outside linebacker. He has the strength to power his way past opponents but is also a very quick player and can use his speed to get around. That combination made him a tough match-up last season as he recorded 58 tackles (including 20 for a loss), six sacks, eight pass deflections, and a fumble recovery. He will likely line up at linebacker this season so the Black Knights will rely on him heavily to continue to make plays. He does a great job of tracking the play and then coming up to make the play. Stoughton is typically known for its defense and Georges could be one of the top players in that group.




TJ Guy, Junior- Mansfield

Mansfield junior lineman TJ Guy, the 2018 HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year, returns on the edge of the Hornets defensive line after a dominant first season on varsity. Guy, who was also in the running for Underclassman of the Year in basketball, had 30 tackles, including 10 solo stops, and was second on the team with seven tackles for loss. His quickness and athleticism at defensive end allowed him to set the edge, take up blockers, and open spaces for Mansfield’s talented linebacking corps. He was also part of an offensive line that opened up holes for the Mansfield ground game, which amassed more than 2,600 yards last season. With expectations sky-high at Alumni Field this fall, Guy is one of the main reasons that this Hornets defensive unit is drawing rave reviews.

Vinnie Holmes, Senior – Mansfield

One of the premier linebackers in the state, Mansfield senior Vinnie Holmes will close out his record-breaking career with the Hornets as one of the leading candidates for MVP in the Kelley-Rex division this season. Holmes has already eclipsed the 200-tackle mark for his two-year varsity career, was named the 2017 HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year, and has developed into a sideline-to-sideline presence for the Hornets defense. He is one of those players who seems to be in the middle of every play, no matter where on the field it ends up. Holmes had 92 tackles as a junior, including 41 solo, and led Mansfield with 10 tackles for loss. He added three sacks and a pair of fumble recoveries, not to mention eight touchdowns as a running back. Opposing offenses know that they have to account for Holmes, one of the top defensive playmakers in the league, on every single play, and his tenacity drives one of the league’s most complete defensive units.

Luke Rosa, Senior – Milford

If you go to a Milford football game this year, one name you’re probably going to hear a lot from the announcer is Luke Rosa. A two-way starter, Rosa was one of the Hawks’ top players last season and earned captain this year. On the defensive side, Rosa lines up at linebacker and is at his best when he’s attacking the ball carrier. He reads the offense really well and does a nice job of finding the gap and is among the top tacklers in the league. Even if it looks like there’s someone to block for the back, Rosa has shown the ability to fight through the first line and get to either the back or quarterback. Offensively, he’s one of the more versatile backs in the league and does everything well. He has great vision with the ball in his hands and can also sneak out and catch a pass in the screen game. Look for Rosa to have a big year on both sides of the ball this year.

Michael Strachan, Junior – Attleboro

Attleboro junior linebacker Michael Strachan is the rare football player who has been on varsity since his freshman season. He enters his second year as a starter in the Bombardiers defense as a highly-recruited prospect and as the team’s leading tackler from 2018. Strachan led Attleboro with more than 80 stops last season and is poised for an even bigger year in the middle of an experienced corps of linebackers. He is also a dangerous weapon at tight end for the Attleboro offense, taking advantage of his size and athleticism to create matchup challenges for opponents. The Bombardiers didn’t finish 2018 the way that they would have hoped, but with Strachan back in the middle behind a big defensive line, Attleboro will be hoping to replicate the 4-1 start they had last year and the meager five points per game that they allowed during that dominant stretch.

Evan Wertz, Senior – Franklin

Franklin senior linebacker Evan Wertz has been a dominant presence in the heart of the Panthers defense, having already set program records by racking up huge tackle totals every week. Wertz had 122 tackles in 11 games last season (a remarkable 11 per game), including 45 solo stops and 10 tackles for loss. He can also drop into coverage, recording three pass breakups and an interception. Just like Mansfield’s Vinnie Holmes, wherever the ball goes Wertz is there, ranging from sideline to sideline and covering as much ground as any linebacker in the Hock. The Panthers nearly stunned powerhouse Xaverian in the playoffs last season and that has ramped up the momentum and expectations coming into this year. With Wertz leading the defense, Franklin will hope that they can push for the Kelley-Rex title and another long tournament run.

Tuesday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 05/14/19

Today’s games are listed below.

Softball
Attleboro @ Oliver Ames – Postponed to Thursday, 5/16 at 3:30.
Foxboro, 3 @ Medway, 15 – Final

Boys Tennis
Milford @ Attleboro – Postponed to a date and time to be announced.

Sharon @ North Attleboro – Postponed to Tuesday, 5/28 at 3:45.

Taunton, 5 @ Coyle & Cassidy, 0 – FinalTaunton earned a sweep over city-rival Coyle & Cassidy, winning four matches in straight sets and another by default. Brett Beaulieu (first singles) and Charlie Fiske (second singles) each won 6-2, 6-0 while Dylan Kullas didn’t drop a game in a 6-0, 6-0 win at third singles. The team of Trevor Hart and Ryan Hebert earned a 6-1, 6-0 win at first doubles.

Girls Tennis
Attleboro @ Franklin – Postponed to Thursday, 5/16 at 3:45.
North Attleboro @ Sharon – Postponed to Tuesday, 5/28 at 3:45.
Taunton vs. Coyle & Cassidy – Postponed to a date and time to be announced.

Boys Outdoor Track
Attleboro @ Franklin, 3:45

Milford, 73 @ Canton, 53 – FinalMilford’s Hugo Lopes broke a 20-year old school record, running a 50.5 in the 400M and also anchored the Hawks’ 4×100 relay team to clinch the victory over the Bulldogs. Canton’s Junior Sainvil was first in both the 100M dash (11.2) and the long jump, and took second in the triple jump (40′). Lucca Terenzio was first in the triple jump for Canton (41’4), won the 110M hurdles (16.3), and took second in the long jump.

North Attleboro, 101 @ Foxboro, 34 – Final

Taunton, 23 @ Mansfield, 113 – FinalMansfield took first place in all but two events to run away with a win over Taunton and clinch the program’s third straight Kelley-Rex division title. Andrew Williams continued his stellar Spring season, winning three events: 110M hurdles (16.2), the long jump (21’0), and the high jump (5’10). Other winners for Mansfield included Anthony Comer (100M dash, 11.1), Owen Mullahy (1 Mile, 4:49.6), Jason Windvogel (400M, 52.1), Patrick Heavey (800M, 2:02.5), Joe Cappelletti (200M, 23.2), Mike Mullahy (2 Mile, 10:28.4), Ethan Thevenot (triple jump, 36’10), Colbey Eason (shot put, 49’7) and Dan Rapoza (javelin, 140’3). The Hornets also won both relays with the 4×100 (Thevenot, Cappelletti, Vinnie Holmes, Jack Barry) finishing in 47.4, and the 4×400 (Jack Moussette, Raffi Marzella, Stephen Saba, Windvogel) clocked in at 3:51.5.

Oliver Ames, 74 @ King Philip, 52 – FinalOliver Ames’ Aaron MacDonald finished the dual meet season with another terrific performance winning four events to help the Tigers beat King Philip. MacDonald won the 400M (52.3), the 200M (23.7), the triple jump (40’6), and the long jump (20’3) for the Tigers. Other winners for OA included Sean Flaherty (400M hurdles, 59.4) Ryan Petrillo (110M hurdles, 16.1), Rory McLaughlin (800M, 2:06.0), and Quinn Proudler (javelin, 123’0). OA’s 4×100 relay team (Ashton Hart, Jaiden Daly, Chucky Akanegbu, Harrison Webster) won in a time of 47.0.

Stoughton, 95 @ Sharon, 41 – Final

Girls Outdoor Track
Attleboro @ Franklin, 3:45

Milford, 66 @ Canton, 61 – FinalCanton’s Chloe Pennacchio and Maddie Rousseau each won a pair of events and placed in another but the Hawks squeaked out the victory. Pennacchio took first in the 1 Mile (5:46) and the 2 Mile (12:54) while taking third in the shot put. Rousseau won both the 100M hurdles (15.3) and the triple jump (31’6) while taking third in the long jump (15’8.5). Sarah Collins was also a double winner for the Bulldogs, taking first in the 400M hurdles and the 400M.

North Attleboro, 112 @ Foxboro, 24 – Final

Taunton, 29 @ Mansfield, 107 – FinalMansfield senior Amanda Mangano won four events, classmate Julia Hill won three events and the Hornets had three freshman win to earn a big win over Taunton and the program’s first division title since 2016. Mangano took first in the 100M (12.6), the 200M (26.0), the long jump (15’11), and the high jump (5’0) while Hill crossed first in the 400M hurdles (70.7), the 100M hurdles (17.8), and won the triple jump (34’1.25″). Freshman Caitlin Dumouchel set a new PR by nearly a foot, winning the javelin (92’1), Kate Miller took five seconds off her best time winning the 1 Mile (5:29.9), and Maria Sevastos crossed first in the 400M (64.2). Other winners for Mansfield included Grace Doyle (800M, 2:28.9) and Jessica Alestock (2 Mile, 12:31.0 [PR]). The Hornets also swept the relays, the 4×100 (Emily Quitzau, Alexis Kiyanda, Gabrielle Devlin, Lindsey Golden) winning in 52.3 and the 4×400 (Sevastos, Mikaela Maughn, Miller, Doyle) clocking in at 4:48.9.

Oliver Ames, 67 @ King Philip, 69 – Final

Stoughton, 56 @ Sharon, 80 – Final

Boys Volleyball
Milford @ Norwood, 5:00

Tuesday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 05/07/19

Today’s games are listed below.

Baseball
Foxboro, 2 @ Norton, 3 – Final (9 inn.) Foxboro built a 2-0 lead but Norton chipped away with single runs in the fifth, sixth, and ninth, the last to earn a walk off win over the Warriors. Brian Duncan (RBI), Joe Cavaleri (run), and Sean Yoest (RBI) each had two hits for Foxboro while Michael Devlin was strong on the mound, scattering seven hits and one walk over six innings, striking out four with two runs (one earned) allowed.

Softball
Attleboro, 17 @ Milford, 0 – Final (5 inn.)Attleboro junior Emily Gittle pitched a perfect game, retiring all 15 batters she faced to lead the Bombardiers to a win. Gittle struck out the first 12 batters she faced, finishing with 15 total. Loya Woyton had four hits for Attleboro, Makenzie Killough and Gabby Bosh each socked three hits and McKenzie Bergdoll chipped in with two hits for the Bombardiers.

King Philip, 17 @ Oliver Ames, 0 – FinalKing Philip senior Heather Nix allowed just three hits in a strong performance in the circle, helping the Warriors shut out the Tigers. The Warriors belted out 16 hits as a team with Madison Kelley and Anna Bradley leading the way with three hits apiece. Kara McWhinnie, Meghan Gorman and Liliana Rolfe added two hits apiece for KP.

Boys Tennis
Mansfield, 5 @ Taunton, 0 – FinalMansfield won all five matches in straight sets to secure a win on the road. Luke Nickerson won 6-0, 6-2 at first singles, Luke Devine earned a 6-4, 6-3 decision at second singles, and Nilay Pangrekar prevailed 7-6 (7-5), 6-0 at third singles. The team of seniors Max Bank and Sethu Odayappan picked up a 6-2, 6-2 win at first doubles while the team of senior Sam Donellan and sophomore Dheeraj Valluru walked away with a 6-4, 6-2 decision at second doubles.

King Philip 4, @ Oliver Ames 1 – FinalKing Philip won two matches in singles and two matches in doubles to get a victory on the road at OA. Jack Cannon won 6-0, 6-2 at first singles and Nate Ihley picked up a 6-3, 6-0 win at second singles. The team of Brady Jannell and Harrison Cooper didn’t drop a game in a 6-0, 6-0 win at first doubles. Oliver Ames’ Yusaf Hameed won his fourth straight match, taking a 6-1, 6-1 win at third singles.

Sharon, 0 @ Wellesley, 5 – Final




Girls Tennis
Foxboro, 5 @ Dighton-Rehoboth, 0 – FinalFoxboro notched its 12th win of the season, winning all five matches in straight sets. Pam Nelson won 6-0, 6-0 at first singles, Sarah Prag earned a 6-1, 7-5 decision at second singles, and Julia Muise picked up a 6-1, 6-1 win at third singles. Foxboro’s first doubles team of Kendall Milender and Paige Krockta won 6-1, 6-4 while Maggie McAuliffe and Kethry Milne teamed up for a 6-4, 6-1 win at second doubles.

Oliver Ames, 0 @ King Philip, 5 – FinalKing Philip won a close match, with most of the matches going down to the wire before the Warriors came away with wins in all five. Erin Regnier won 6-0, 6-0 at first singles, Katarina Schneider emerged with a 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 win at second singles, and Mia Valencia grabbed a 6-1, 6-2 win at third singles. The team of Grace Ely and Katie Welch secured a 6-4, 6-4 win at first doubles while Isabelle MacMeans and Meghan Powers teamed up for a 7-5, 7-5 win at second doubles.

Taunton, 4 @ Mansfield, 1 – FinalTaunton picked up wins in all three singles match and added one more in doubles play to knock off Mansfield. Jillian Pagliuca won 6-3, 6-2 at first singles, McKenzie Lucie picked up a 6-0, 6-0 win at second singles, and Jocelyn Pagliuca battled to a 0-6, 6-1, 6-0 win at third singles. Taunton’s Brianna Fevrier and Kayla Parrett won 6-1, 7-6 (7-5) at first doubles. Mansfield’s Alex Burnham and Lauren Hobaica won 6-2, 6-4 at second doubles.

Boys Outdoor Track
Taunton @ Attleboro, 3:45

Canton, 36 @ North Attleboro, 100 – FinalCanton’s Tommy Pulcini set a new PR in the discus, earning first with a throw of 131’4″ while also taking second in the shot put. Zach Goldstein was first in the 400M (52.6, PR) and Justin Rose crossed first in the the 400M hurdles (64.8).

Foxboro, 56 @ Sharon, 79 – Final

Oliver Ames, 69 @ Franklin, 67 – FinalOliver Ames’ Aaron MacDonald notches four first-place finishes and Anthony DeCosta and Harrison Webster each won a pair of events to help the Tigers edge Franklin. MacDonald won the 400m (50.9), the 200M (22.7), the triple jump (39’6”), and the long jump (20’5.75”). Webster crossed first in the 100M (11.3) and won the high jump (5’2) while DeCosta had the longest throws in the discus (111’11.5″) and the shot put (42’10”). Sean Flaherty added a win in the 400M hurdles (59.4) for OA.

Mansfield, 99 @ King Philip, 37 – Final Mansfield’s Anthony Comer broke the hand time for both the 100M and 200M and Andrew Williams took first in three events as the Hornets beat King Philip. Comer clocked in at 10.7 in the 100M and 22.0 in the 200M, good for first in both. Williams won the 110M hurdles (16.1), the long jump (21’0″) and the high jump (6’4″). Dan Rapoza (first, 153’8), Jack Taylor (131’1″), and Josh Cook (123’5″) swept the javelin, all setting personal bests. Jason Windvogel ran a season best of 4:37 to take the 1 Mile and Patrick Heavey ran a season best of 2:05 to win the 800M for the Hornets. Other winners for Mansfield included Raffi Marzella (400IH, 60.8) Colbey Eason (50’0), the 4×100 relay team (Ethan Thevenot, Joe Cappelletti, Vinnie Holmes, Jack Barry; 45.1), the 4×400 relay team (Raffi Marzella, Stephen Saba, Jack Rivard, Jason Windvogel; 3:37.).

Stoughton @ Milford, 3:45

Girls Outdoor Track
Taunton, 75 @ Attleboro, 61 – Final

Canton, 42 @ North Attleboro, 94 – FinalLongtime Canton distance runner Chloe Pennacchio earned a first place in the 1 Mile and set a new career-best time of 5:45.2 while Marie Messinger earned a three-second PR in the 2 Mile, clocking in at 13:33.3 for first place. Sophomore Maddie Rousseau was first in both the 100M (12.9) and the 100M hurdles (16.2) and took second in the long jump (15’8). Leah Murphy set a new PR in the high jump (4’8) for third and was third in the 200M at 28.6. Bronwyn Mahoney earned second in both the discus (98’4) and the shot put (32’10”) for the Bulldogs.

Foxboro, 64 @ Sharon, 71 – Final

Oliver Ames, 67 @ Franklin, 69 – Final

Mansfield, 90 @ King Philip, 46 – Final Mansfield’s Julia Hill took first place in three events, including a 3-inch PR in the long jump. Hill landed at 16’11 in the long jump to take first and also won the triple jump (34’6″) and the 400M hurdles (69.7). Amanda Mangano had ran a PR in the 200M (24.9) and also won the 100M (12.2) and the high jump (5’0″). Freshman Caitlin Dumochel set a new PR in the javelin by over two feet to get the win (80’7″), freshman Kate Miller set a new PR in the 800M by over two seconds (2:26.4), and sophomore Grace Fernandez recorded a new personal best in the 1 Mile by over four seconds (5:29.9).

Stoughton @ Milford, 3:45

Boys Volleyball
Milford, 3 @ Nipmuc, 0 – Final

Tuesday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 04/30/19

Today’s games are listed below.

Softball
Attleboro @ Taunton – Postponed to Saturday, 5/18 at 7:00.

Canton, 13 vs. Boston Latin, 7 – FinalCanton exploded for nine runs in the first inning and held on for a win over visiting Boston Latin. Steph Trendell had a pair of doubles and a home run to pace the Canton offense while Nikki Desjardins added two singles and a home run. Caroline Hughes and Sophia Santos combined to preserve the win in the circle.

Boys Outdoor Track
King Philip @ Attleboro, 3:45

Sharon, 67 @ Canton, 68 – FinalCanton’s Junior Sainvil won a pair of events and took second in two more to help the Bulldogs edge Sharon by a point. Sainvil won the 100M dash (11.0) and the triple jump (44’5”) and came in second in booth the long jump (18’) and the 200M (23.2). Lucca Terenzio won the 110M hurdles (16.8) and took second in the triple jump (42’), and Jonathan Chery won the 200M (22.9). The Bulldogs swept the relays, with the 4×100 (Gersom Rivera, Cam Sanchez, Terenzio, Chery) finishing in 45 seconds and the 4×400 (James Vo, Nate Rose, Mike Mazzola, Zach Goldstein) clocking in at 3:44.7.

Stoughton, 114 @ Foxboro, 22 – Final

Franklin @ Taunton, 3:45

Mansfield, 86 @ Oliver Ames, 50 – FinalMansfield’s Andrew Williams won three events, Anthony Comer was first in two events, and Mike and Owen Mullahy won the 1 Mile and 2 mile races, respectively, to pace the Hornets to a win over Oliver Ames. Williams won the 110M hurdles (16.5), the long jump (20’11”), and the high jump (6’2”), Comer crossed the line first in the 100M dash (11.5) and the 200M (23.0), Mike Mullahy was the winner in the 1 Mile (4:48.5) and brother Owen secured first in the 2 Mile with a time of 10:43.1. Colby Eason won the shot put by more than five feet (50’2”) and other winners for the Hornets included Dan Rapoza in the javelin (140’9”), the 4×100 team (Ethan Thevenot, Joe Cappelletti, Vinnie Holmes, Jack Barry;45.9) and the 4×400 relay team (Jack Moussette, Stephen Saba, Chris Verros, Raffi Marzella). For Oliver Ames, Aaron MacDonald won two events (400M, 51.4; triple jump, 40’2.5”) won two events while Sean Flaherty (400M hurdles, 60.1), Zane Reservitz (800M, 2:01.0), and Anthony DeCosta (discus, 101’9”) each one once.

Milford, 60 @ North Attleboro, 76 – Final

Girls Outdoor Track
King Philip @ Attleboro, 3:45

Sharon, 72 @ Canton, 64 – FinalCanton sophomore Maddie Rousseau won three events but Sharon came away with the team win. Rousseau was first in the 100M dash (12.7), the 200M (26.2), and the long jump (15’9.5”). Also winning for Canton were Bronwyn Mahoney (discus, 82’8.5”’ shot put, 31’3.5”) and the Bulldogs’ 4×400 team (Chloe Pennacchio, Annie Hoban, Gabby McDuffie, Rosana Cho; 4:34.2).

Stoughton, 57 @ Foxboro, 79 – Final

Franklin, 78 @ Taunton, 58 – Final

Mansfield, 89 @ Oliver Ames, 47 – FinalThe Hornets won 11 events, including both really events, in a victory over the Tigers of Oliver Ames. Senior Amanda Mangano took first in four individual events: the 100M dash (12.7), the 200M (25.6), the long jump (16-9), and the high jump (4-10). Other winners for Mansfield included Meghan Johnston (1 Mile, 5:34.8), Maria Sevastos (400M, 64.1), Tessa Lancaster (2 Mile, 12:19.8), Julia Hill (triple jump, 34-0), and Kerina Geminiani (shot put, 28-3). Mansfield’s 4×100 relay (Alexis Kiyanda, Emily Quitzau, Gabrielle Devlin, Lindsey Golden) finished in 53 seconds while the 4×400 (Sevastos, Mikaela Maughn, Grace Doyle, Bryn Anderson) finished in 4:27.9.

Milford, 46 @ North Attleboro, 90 – Final

Boys Tennis
Oliver Ames, 1 @ North Attleboro, 4 – FinalNorth Attleboro won three matches without dropping a game and got another win by default to beat Oliver Ames. Jonah Manso (first singles), Alex Pfeffer (second singles), and the team of Vikram Senthilakumaran and Tomas Bentley (first doubles) each won 6-0, 6-0. OA’s Yusaf Hameed won 2-6, 6-2, 10-4 at third singles.

Girls Tennis
North Attleboro, 2 @ Oliver Ames, 3 – FinalOliver Ames’ second doubles team of Erika Mekler and Sarah Barron battled to win a pair of close sets to give the Tigers a 3-2 win over visiting North Attleboro. Mekler and Barron won 6-4, 7-5 to secure OA’s third point, with Sarah Leger (first singles, 6-0, 6-1) and Maura Kiernan (second singles, 6-2, 6-0) also winning for OA. North Attleboro’s Olivia Wills won 6-2, 6-4 at third singles while the team of Sam Martino and Haley Strom earned a 6-1, 6-2 win at first doubles.

Boys Volleyball
Milford, 3 @ Agawam, 1 – Final

2018 HockomockSports Football Awards

2018 Hockomock League Football All Stars

Below are the official 2018 Hockomock League Football All Stars, selected by the coaches in the league.

Hockomock League MVP

Kelley-Rex

Nick Gordon, Franklin

Davenport

Ryan Clemente, North Attleboro

Hockomock League All Stars

Kelley-Rex Division

Nick Evans, Attleboro
Justin Cote, Attleboro
Jason Weir, Attleboro
Michael Strachan, Attleboro
Nick Gordon, Franklin
Ryan Driscoll, Franklin
Jack Nally, Franklin
Terrell Jacobs-Baston, King Philip
Ryan Halliday, King Philip
Jack Webster, King Philip
David Morganelli, King Philip
Daenin Walker, Mansfield
TJ Guy, Mansfield
Aidan Sacco, Mansfield
Vinnie Holmes, Mansfield
Dean Pacini, Oliver Ames
Woudanly Danger, Taunton
Cory Pintabone, Taunton

Davenport Division

Ben Seaman, Canton
Brendan Albert, Canton
Brian Campagna, Canton
Johnny Hagan, Canton
Anton George, Foxboro
Hunter Williams, Foxboro
Mike Sheehan, Foxboro
Brendan White, Milford
Colby Pires, Milford
Kevin Pyne, Milford
Brendan McHugh, North Attleboro
Nick Raneri, North Attleboro
Ryan Clemente, North Attleboro
Ryan Gaumond, North Attleboro
Chris Gong, Sharon
Alex Iverson, Stoughton
Evan Jackman , Stoughton
Malachi Green-Hightower, Stoughton

KP Heads to Gillette Again After Comeback at Mansfield

King Philip football
KP quarterback Robbie Jarest scored the go-ahead touchdown with a 1-yard sneak in the fourth quarter and secured a huge first down with a scramble to help the Warriors reach a third straight Super Bowl. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

Josh PerryFollowJoshPerry


MANSFIELD, Mass. – The first game back in September was a surprising shootout, but the rematch in the pouring rain on Friday night at Alumni Field was more of what has come to be expected from battles between Mansfield and King Philip.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Defense was the story of the Div. 2 South final. The Hornets scored a touchdown on their opening possession but were held off the board for the remainder of the game, while the Warriors were held without a touchdown until midway through the fourth quarter.

King Philip came away with a hard-hitting 10-7 victory over its division rival, securing its third straight trip to the Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium.

“There’s playing teams and then there’s playing Mansfield,” King Philip coach Brian Lee remarked. “You know what you’re going to get and it’s just how are you going to move the ball when they’re big and mean and tough and we’re just trying to find a way.”

Mansfield took the lead midway through the first quarter, taking advantage of a short punt to score its only touchdown of the game.

After a three-yard punt, the Hornets got the ball at the KP 37 but then backed up 10 yards on a pair of false starts. On third and 15, Aidan Sacco was able to pull the ball down and scramble for 16 and a first down. Two plays later, Sacco again found space to run and rumbled in untouched for a 16-yard score.

The ensuing kick was fielded at the one by Aidan Bender, but he returned it 47 yards out to midfield. The Warriors were unable to make it count, but the defense got the ball right back.

KP forced a Mansfield three-and-out and regained possession inside Hornets territory. Ryan Halliday (27 carries, 96 yards), with help from a defensive holding call, got the ball down to the 21, but Mansfield held firm and forced a 38-yard field goal from Cole Baker that cut the lead to 7-3.

Mansfield had a chance to add to its lead before halftime when it go the ball back at midfield. The drive started poorly, as Sacco was sacked by Halliday and Max Armour, but a personal foul following an incomplete pass gifted the Hornets 15 yards and a first down. Sacco then hit Cincere Gill for 20 yards down to the KP 18, but two plays later Gill fumbled and Bender recovered for the Warriors.

“When they didn’t score before the half, I thought we were okay,” said Lee. “We couldn’t have played any worse offensively and made some mistakes on defense, but if we could get into the half and make our adjustments and only be down four I thought alright that’s KP football, we’re fine.”

The third quarter continued the trend where defenses were in control of the game. Even without Vinnie Holmes at linebacker, Mansfield was getting big plays from Chris Copponi and T.J. Guy. KP was getting typically strong performances from Armour and fellow linebacker Jack Webster to stymie the Mansfield offense.

The score stayed the same heading to the fourth before KP finally got something going on the offensive side of the ball. The Warriors ate up six minutes with an 11-play, 51-yard drive to take the lead.

“We started just grinding it out, pounding it,” said junior quarterback Robbie Jarest about the go-ahead drive. “The line was doing really well, we were just grinding it out.”

Halliday continued to be the workhorse back, grinding out yards, including a two-yard burst to convert a fourth and one. On second and six, KP called for a bootleg from Jarest and he bounced it to the outside for 11 yards. On third and six, Jarest scrambled and managed to dive ahead for nine and another first down to the Mansfield 12.

On the next play, he hit David Morganelli just outside the goal line for a first and goal from about a foot, which Jarest finished off with a sneak.

The Hornets had 5:38 on the clock to try and get back the lead. Back-to-back nine-yard gains by Gill and Joe Plath got the ball out to the 43. After an eight-yard gain by Khristian Conner pushed the ball into KP territory, Mansfield took a chance downfield. Sacco tried to squeeze a pass in down the middle but it was picked off by Deric Casado at the 16.

On third and eight, again KP turned to its quarterback on a bootleg and Jarest weaved his way through the Mansfield defense for nine yards and a dagger first down that sealed the win.

“Robert gave us a little wrinkle at the end that was just enough,” said Lee. “That’s kind of what we do at KP, just enough. He’s really done a great job stepping up, taking the coaching, and I’m really proud of his efforts.”

No one was quite sure what to make of this KP team at the start of the season. With no returning starters on offense, this didn’t seem like a Warriors team that could make it back to the state title game, but here they are again booking a trip back to Gillette Stadium with eyes on a three-peat.

“It’s a very different team and it’s presented challenges along the way but they still have the same theme, which is keep believing, keep working,” Lee explained. “The one thing that stayed from the last two years is their work ethic and their belief that they can pull it off.”

He added, “We have heart, we have guts, we have teamwork, and we use it on this team better than anybody. Anybody can be a hero on a different play.”

King Philip (8-2) will face Franklin on Thanksgiving Day and then take on North champion North Andover in the Div. 2 title game. Mansfield also finished the season at 8-2 and will finish its season with its Thanksgiving Day rivalry game against Foxboro at Fenway Park.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Takeaways Help Mansfield Pull Away From Barnstable

Mansfield football
Mansfield senior quarterback Aidan Sacco leaps over a Barnstable player in the first half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
MANSFIELD, Mass. – Holding a four-point lead early in the fourth quarter, the Mansfield football team was in search of a stop that could potentially change the game.

The Hornets might not have gotten the stop in terms of yardage, but they got something even better.

Going for it on fourth and one from its own 34-yard line, Barnstable quarterback Matt Petercuskie (12/38, 116 yards) lined up under center, snapped the ball and appeared to get enough of a push for a first down. While fighting for extra yards, the QB extended the ball out.

Mansfield senior linebacker Philip Dinov alertly punched the ball free and it popped right into the arms of junior Michael DeBolt (eight carries, 48 yards), who took off for a 35-yard fumble return for a touchdown and a 21-10 Hornet advantage with under nine minutes to go.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

It turned out to be the biggest play of the game and the Hornet defense didn’t break the rest of the way as top-seeded Mansfield earned a 28-10 victory over the fifth-seeded Red Raiders.

“I thought the defense played lights off,” said Mansfield head coach Mike Redding. “The fake punt was foolish on my part but we only gave up the three which helped. In the second half, the defense was lights out. Makhi [Baskin], obviously the picks were gigantic momentum changers. The offense played well enough to score enough points. That’s a good football team that we just beat. We were a little shorthanded tonight so it was a gutsy win. I think tonight it was the defense stepping up against a really good offensive team that had 35 points last week, this was a defensive win tonight.”

DeBolt finished with three touchdowns with his two others coming on the ground. The junior missed the first three games after suffering an injury in preseason. He’s played on the defensive side of the ball since Week 4 but didn’t start on offense until the final game of the regular season.

“It feels great to be back out there,” DeBolt said “I was really down after I got hurt in preseason but I’ve worked my way back here. On that fourth down, there was a big pile and Phil Dinov just punched the ball free. It popped up right to me so I just took off, I didn’t hear a whistle so I kept going.”

While Mansfield extended the lead with the fumble recovery, the Hornets put the game to rest with its next defensive series.

Facing another fourth down, this one from its own 41-yard line with six yards to gain, Petercuskie dropped back to pass but Mansfield junior Makhi Baskin read it perfect, jumping the route and picking off the pass. Baskin took the return 40 yard down to the Barnstable 14-yard line.

Two straight runs from DeBolt resulted in a score, the second one from 3-yards out and the Hornets suddenly had a 28-10 lead with 5:40 to play.

“Turnovers turned the game,” Redding said. “Our defense came up big and forced those turnovers and our first unit didn’t turn it over. “We were expecting a sneak [on the previous drive], we were blitzing in and they still got a push, it looked like he was fighting for extra yards and coughed it up. That’s a huge turnaround right there. And then we got the interception on the next series.”

The last 5:40 took 30 minutes to play but the Hornet defense didn’t break at all and kept the Red Raiders out of the end zone despite a pair of trips inside the red zone.

Though Mansfield’s defense had a terrific game, it had a slow start as the Red Raiders came out firing. The visitors marched 75 yards on 16 plays, converting a fourth down inside the red zone on a questionable catch call. Barnstable’s hurry up offense and quick screens gave Mansfield some issues, and Petercuskie used a QB option keeper to score from five yards out to make it 7-0 just 5:03 into the game.

Mansfield’s offense had an important response right away, scoring on its opening drive to tie the game. After DeBolt had a nice return, the Hornets used their ground game to move the ball. After quarterback Aidan Sacco (14 rushes, 110 yards) had a couple of nice gains, DeBolt punched it in on third down from two yards out to make it 7-7 with 2:05 left in the first quarter.

After the opening drive, Mansfield’s defense did a nice job adjusting to the Barnstable offense, which Redding credited to defensive coordinator Mark DeGirolamo. The Raiders’ next two possessions ended in three-and-outs and negative yardage.

“Coach DeGirolamo talked to the secondary about how to line up against the quads. We didn’t practice it all week and he did a good adjustment to handle their quick little screen game. We were able to double Conner Baldasaro, took their best receiver out of the game and the key was we covered the other guys one-on-one and did a great job there. Coach DeGirolamo gave them a lot of different coverages, their QB is so smart so we tried to throw a lot of looks at him and we might have thrown him off a little bit.

Mansfield’s offense didn’t fair much better as they saw a 33-yard field goal attempt go wide right on their second drive. And on their third drive, facing fourth and 5 from its own 44, the Hornets elected for a fake punt call and came up a half yard short with 1:15 to go in the half.

That was just enough time for Barnstable to get down field and Jonathan Silva hit a 25-yard field goal as time expired to give the visitors a 10-7 advantage at half.

Similar to its first drive of the first half, Mansfield’s offense had a key opening drive to the second half. The Hornets orchestrated a 10-play, 59 yard drive to take the lead for the first time in the contest.

After yet another good return from DeBolt on the kickoff, the Hornets converted a first down n a carry from Vinnie Holmes at midfield, only for an unsportsmanlike penalty to knock them back 15 yards. Although Sacco ran for 11-yards, the Hornets were called for holding on the next play and faced 1st and 20 from their own 39 yard line.

Sacco ran for four yards, hit Danny Rapoza for a key 10-yard gain and then jolted seven yards past the marker for a first down.

DeBolt followed with a 19-yard run and then Holmes took one up the middle, breaking a tackle and looked like he was about to fall into the end zone for a touchdown. But the ball was poked free and rolled into the end zone. A handful of players jumped on it but it was Holmes that somehow got up and jumped on the ball for a touchdown.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

With Mansfield leading 14-10, the teams traded punts to finish out the third quarter, setting up the next drive where DeBolt had the fumble return.

Now Mansfield football turns its attention to the D2 South Final, where it will host rival King Philip. The third-seeded Warriors took down Natick, 17-7, to advance to its third straight sectional final. The teams met back in September at Alumni Field with Mansfield prevailing, 28-27, after KP’s two-point conversion attempt in the final minute came up empty.

“I asked them what could be better than beating KP twice in one season?” Reading said of his brief postgame comments to his team. “They did it to use last year and now we have a chance to do it to them. I think it’s great for our league that the two best teams can make it to the final and have an all-Hockomock League final with the winner going to Gillette, it just shows how good the league is.”

The D2 South Final between the Hornets and Warriors is scheduled for a 7:00PM kickoff at Alumni Field on Friday.