Second Half Comeback Sends KP Back to Gillette

King Philip football Rudy Gately
King Philip junior running back Rudy Gately escapes a handful fo Milford defenders in the second half at Marciano Stadium. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com
Josh PerryFollowJoshPerry


BROCKTON, Mass. – King Philip has been in these type of games before. Despite trailing by two points going into halftime of Friday night’s Div. 2 state semifinal at Brockton’s Marciano Stadium, the Warriors remained confident that they could turn things around.

In the third quarter, KP ran 20 plays to Milford’s one. The Warriors ate up more than nine minutes off the clock on a 16-play, go-ahead drive to start the half, forced a turnover, and then ran another 10 plays and used up more than four minutes to extend the lead. Before the Hawks had a chance to find their footing after the break, KP had taken control of the game.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

The Warriors scored 17 unanswered in the second half, turning a two-point deficit into a 31-16 victory that sends KP to Gillette Stadium for the fourth time in the past six years (or four out of the past five seasons where a state title was up for grabs).

“We knew we weren’t getting that good of a push up front and we wanted to come out there and we wanted to set the tone for the second half,” said senior lineman Hunter Hastings about turning things around out of halftime. “We knew we had to do it on the first drive, so we came out there and we pounded the ball and we took up time and scored the ball, doesn’t get better than that.”

He added, “Coach Lee tells us what we need to do and he knows we’re going to be in these situations and he knows we’ve got to fight through the adversity and that’s what we do at KP.”

Milford came out with a hurry-up offense, trying to get the KP defense on its heels and slow down the pass rush. It worked on the opening drive, as the Hawks marched right down field, going 70 yards on 13 plays, and taking the lead. The big play was a 30-yard pass to the sideline from Evan Cornelius to Jayden Agnew to convert on third and long. Cornelius would finish off the drive with a 4-yard keeper.

“We wanted to go hurry-up early, but we just don’t have the numbers to sustain that for a whole game,” Milford coach Dale Olson said. “Tried to limit their blitz package and had a great first drive.”

The lead lasted all of 19 seconds. Although Milford is known more for the big-play offense, KP hit paydirt on its first play from scrimmage. An end around to Crawford Cantave caught the Hawks over-pursuing and the senior raced up the sideline for a 70-yard touchdown that quickly tied the game.

“You get knocked down, you’ve got to get up, you’ve got to have a response,” Lee explained. “Craw gets us right back in so we get a fresh start. I told them, let’s get through it, eventually the pace will slow, things will get down, and we’ll get back on schedule.”

Olson said, “Give them props, that’s a new formation we saw last week and they ran the double handoff. Our team’s chasing the first handoff and they give it to the kid going the other way and we haven’t seen it on film. It was a great call on their part.”

Isaiah Pantalone, who was held to one catch, broke a 54-yard return on the ensuing kick and the Hawks were back in business, starting at the KP 36. After a false start brought up first and 15 at the 30, Cornelius hit Nick Schuler for 13 yards. Tyler Lane (15 carries, 119 yards) got two to bring up fourth and one. The Hawks lined up to go for it but a false start backed them up, so the field goal unit came out. Another false start made it a 43-yard kick, which KP blocked.

On the final possession of the first quarter, KP struck again. Charlie Grant (4-of-9, 38 yards) converted a third and long with a 12-yard pass over the middle to Danny Clancy. On third and two from the Milford 49, Rudy Gately (22 carries, 134 yards) found a little seam between the right guard and tackle and burst through it, breaking away for a touchdown and a 14-7 lead.

Milford again got into KP territory on its next drive. Lane had the big play with a 43-yard rush down to the 32, but that’s where the possession stalled. Sean King blocked a fourth down pass to get the ball back, but the Warriors went three-and-out and punted. With the short field, Milford was able to tack on three points. A nice play by Cantave and William Astorino on third down forced the Hawks to settle for a 32-yard kick by Nicholas Araujo.

The biggest play of the half came on KP’s next possession. Milford brought a big rush to try and block Grant’s rugby-style punt. Lane got through for the block, scooped up the loose ball, and took it the distance. He appeared to be tackled at about the five, but somehow managed to stay on his feet and find the end zone. Although a low snap led to a missed extra point, Milford regained the lead going into the break, 16-14.

KP came out intent on grinding down the Milford defense. Nathan Kearney converted on third and one, then Grant hit Clancy for eight yards to convert on third and eight. Gately converted back-to-back third downs, as KP just kept pounding the ball up the middle and moving the chains.

The Hawks were able to get stops inside the 30 and force the Warriors to settle for a 38-yard Matthew Kelley field goal, but KP had used up 9:19 off the clock, ran 16 plays, regained the lead, and stolen all of the energy from the opposite sideline. Milford tried to take a shot on the first play of its first possession, but Crawford was able to go up and intercept a pass to Pantalone and get KP the ball back at the Hawks 42.

“We ran one play in the third quarter and it’s a 50-50 ball that goes through Isaiah’s hands into one of their best player’s hands,” Olson said. “Usually Isaiah makes that play and it’s a big play down the sideline, but that’s the game of football.”

Four plays later, the third quarter came to a close. Milford had run one play in 12 minutes. After Grant found Cantave in the flat to convert third and five, Gately got four straight carries down to the 10. On third and six, Grant looked for Clancy in the end zone. The pass fell incomplete but the officials called defensive holding, which gave KP another chance. Now, on third and one from the five, Gately got the call, spun out of a tackle in the backfield, and scored for the second time.

“Rudy doesn’t look like your typical pound back but he finds a way to make things happen when he gets the ball in his hands,” said Lee. “Craw was able to do it and the offensive line had a response. We made some big pass plays. We made plays.”

A short punt on Milford’s next possession meant that the Warriors got the ball back near midfield and they went right back to grinding out first downs. Facing third and nine from the 14, Gately somehow managed to keep his feet moving, breaking tackles in the backfield again, and moving the pile down to the five for a first and goal. Two plays later, Cantave punched it in from the three for a 31-16 lead.

Thomas Brewster broke up a pass play on the sideline and Jake Sullivan sacked Cornelius (8-of-20, 63 yards), not allowing Milford to put together a drive to try and cut into the lead in the final two minutes.

When asked how it feels to be heading back to a state title game, Hastings replied, “It’s never felt better. We come to play every week. We don’t care who we’re against.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Olson remarked, “I’m proud of my kids. We’re still trying to build this and for us to be in this game is huge for this program.”
This will be the fifth Div. 2 (2016 was D1A) Super Bowl in a row, and eighth in the last 11 years, that has featured either King Philip or Mansfield. Only two times in the past 11 years, 2014 and 2015, has the Hock not had at least one team reach a Super Bowl.

King Philip (9-1) will face Franklin on Thanksgiving Day to decide the Kelley-Rex division title and then will await the winner of No. 1 Catholic Memorial and No. 4 Marshfield in the Super Bow. Milford (8-3) will face Taunton in the first Thanksgiving Day matchup between the two programs.

“It feels awesome,” Lee said about heading back to Gillette. He added with a laugh, “I love that we have a humungous Thanksgiving Day game against, you know, the third best team in the state before. We can’t enjoy it for long.”

KP Runs Through Mansfield Challenge to Stay Top

King Philip football
KP senior Crawford Cantave dives into the end zone to put the Warriors up 24-0 in the third quarter against Mansfield. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

Josh PerryFollowJoshPerry


WRENTHAM, Mass. – On the fourth play of Friday night’s regular season finale at Macktaz Field, Mansfield’s Caden Colby intercepted a pass by King Philip quarterback Charlie Grant. The Hornets got the ball in KP territory, but the Warriors defense held and forced a three-and-out. On its next three possessions, KP ran the ball 25 straight times and all three drives ended with points on the board.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

The Warriors dominated the line of scrimmage throughout, junior tailback Rudy Gately ran for 171 yards (including 130 in the first half alone) on 28 carries, and three players found the end zone, as KP earned a 24-6 victory. With the win, KP remains unbeaten in league play, tied with Franklin for the Kelley-Rex division lead, and likely secured a home game in the opening round of the playoffs.

“I’ve got no problem throwing the ball,” said KP coach Brian Lee, “it was just the run was going to be there tonight. It was working and it also takes the clock away. When we did call pass plays, they turned into long runs. It was nice.”

Mansfield missed an opportunity on that opening drive to send a message and take hold of the game. The Hornets never seemed to find any momentum on the offensive side of the ball. Gately ended the first half with more carries (21) than Mansfield had plays (19).

“We were very, very poor on offense,” Mansfield coach Mike Redding explained. “Almost every possession, at some point, we’d have a five-yard penalty and it’s tough to go 10 yards against these guys in three plays, trying to go 15 and now you end up in third and nine, third and eight and you’re playing into their hands.”

After a big tackle for loss by Christopher Sesay and a third down pass breakup by Nick Viscusi, KP stopped Mansfield’s first possession. Crawford Cantave returned the punt 25 yards out to the Warriors 35 and then the ground game went to work. A 20-yard carry for Gately got the ball into the red zone. William Astorino went up the gut for six down to the 11 and two plays later Gately went right up the middle to make it 7-0.

The Hornets dropped the ensuing kick out of bounds, starting at their own four. They went three-and-out again and KP got the ball at the Mansfield 35. Gately got carries on six of the seven plays on the drive, getting as far as the four, but Braeden Veno made a big play in the backfield and KP had to settle for a 23-yard kick from Matthew Kelley and a 10-0 lead.

Mansfield was in desperate need of a spark and seemed to get some life when Drew Sacco and Rocco Scarpellini (16 carries, 82 yards) combined for 20 yards on the first two plays of the next drive. On third and four from the Mansfield 44, Conner Zukowski (5-of-17, 43 yards) was nearly intercepted by Jonathan Joseph. The Hornets went for trickery to try and jump start things, as punter James Gilleran stepped up and threw a pass to James Fichera for 20 yards down to the KP 36.

Scarpellini followed it with a 14-yard carry and the Hornets were in business. After an incomplete pass, the Hornets picked up a false start penalty. Facing third and long, Zukowski’s pass was broken up by Kelley and on fourth down the pass dropped incomplete, giving the ball back to the Warriors.

“The defense bailed us out of that,” said Lee. “We made two bonehead plays and I think the difference in this game [compared] to other games was we were able to respond. Usually, that would just open the floodgate and let them score and then we’re playing in this back and forth.

It was a missed opportunity and KP took advantage. The Warriors marched 75 yards in 11 plays to open up a three-score lead. Gately got the call eight of the 11 plays on the drive, with Astorino and Cantave also getting carries, as the offensive line of Hunter Hastings, Sean King, Dan Nineve, Amro Ismail, and Logan Van Vaerenewyck was getting a great push on every snap.

On first down from the Hornets 22, Grant dropped back to pass, saw no open receivers, scrambled to buy time, and then cut upfield into open space. He weaved through the Mansfield secondary for the touchdown.

“They played so much man and there weren’t a lot of dudes open, so we just said hey Charlie just go for it,” Lee explained. “When he threw the pick, afterwards I’m like why force it. If you’ve got the edge, just go ahead and run. He looked like the Charlie of Pop Warner days, running around, he was the nice athlete on the field, and I’m like you can still do all that.”

The Hornets got the ball to start the second half, but any thoughts of a comeback were quickly diminished. A false start backed Mansfield up five yards and Viscusi broke up a pass on third and long. KP started its first drive of the second half at the Mansfield 44.

A holding call denied Gately a good run, but Grant again scrambled for a big gain to get the first down at the 30. Four plays later, KP was inside the 10 and Cantave got the call. He went straight up the middle, took a hit at the two, and dove full extension to cross the goal line and make it 24-0.

“They execute up front, both backs ran hard, and they controlled the line,” Redding said. “We had a really hard time getting them in third and longs and the couple times we did the Grant kid did a great job running out of the pocket. We couldn’t make a play to get them off the field.”

If Mansfield had any chance of a comeback, it needed to score on its next possession. The Hornets were finally able to string together a long drive, going 72 yards on 16 plays to get on the board. Fichera and Scarpellini kicked things off with carries of 10 and 19 yards to get into KP territory.

On fourth and nine, Zukowski hit CJ Bell for 10 yards and the first. With another first down at the 11, Scarpellini was stuffed for no gain by Luke Danson, then got dragged down after two yards by Hastings. Sesay sacked Zukowski for a loss of five and it looked like another chance gone by for the offense, but on fourth down Zukowski moved in the pocket to give himself some time and fired a bullet into Bell, who made a nice leaping grab for the score.

The conversion failed and the Hornets trailed 24-6 with 10:17 to play.

Mansfield got the ball one more time at its own 20. Thomas Brewster made a couple of nice plays to break up passes and the Hornets turned it over on downs, allowing KP to run out the clock.

King Philip (6-1) will await its seeding in the Div. 2 state tournament, but the Warriors know that they will also face a Thanksgiving Day showdown against Franklin that will decide the Kelley-Rex champ. It is the first time since 2009 that the holiday meeting had this much on the line.

“So much fun,” Lee said. “It’s almost like we pause the season and then we’ll think about Thanksgiving when we get there. The Hock has just felt like playoffs the whole season.”

Mansfield (5-3) is also awaiting its seed in the D2 tournament and hoping to get at least one game at Alumni Field.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Friday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 10/01/21

Today’s games are listed below.

Football
Milford, 28 @ Attleboro, 0 – Final
1st Quarter: (M) Evan Cornelius 31-yard pass to Damien Carter, Nick Araujo XP good.
2nd Quarter: (M) Tyler Lane 1-yard rush, N. Araujo XP good.
3rd Quarter: (M) E. Cornelis 27-yard pass to Isaiah Pantalone, N. Araujo XP good.
4th Quarter: (M) Jack Veo 2-yard rush, N. Araujo XP good.

Canton, 8 @ North Attleboro, 42 – Final
1st Quarter: (NA) Tyler Bannon 13-yard rush, Tyler DeMattio XP good; (NA) T. DeMattio 44-yard rush, T. DeMattio XP good; (NA) Chase Frisoli 20-yard pass to Joey Perriello, T. DeMattio XP good; (NA) C. Frisoli 35-yard pass to Gavin Wells, T. DeMattio XP good.
2nd Quarter: (NA) C. Frisoli 14-yard pass to Gavin Wells, T. DeMattio XP good.
3rd Quarter: (NA) T. DeMattio 2-yard rush, Connor Rupert XP good.
4th Quarter: (C) Owen Lane 2-yard rush, Owen Lane 2pt rush.

Foxboro, 47 vs. Hopkinton, 12 – Final
1st Quarter: (F) Dylan Gordon 57-yard rush, XP failed; (F) Tom Marcucella 22-yard pass to D. Gordon, T. Marcucella 2pt pass to Rashaad Way; (F) T. Marcucella 80-yard pass to D. Gordon, Sam Carpenter XP good.
2nd Quarter: (F) D.Gordon 63-yard rush, S. Carpenter XP good; (F) S. Carpenter 30-yard field goal; (H) Hopkinton 8-yard pass, XP failed; (F) T. Marcucella 74-yard pass to R. Way, XP failed; (F) S. Carpenter 24-yard field goal.
3rd Quarter: (F) Tyler Prescott 9-yard rush, S. Carpenter XP good; (H) Hopkinton 9-yard pass, XP failed.
4th Quarter: No scoring.

Mansfield, 10 @ Franklin, 28 – FinalClick here for a Recap and Photo Gallery from this game.
1st Quarter: (F) Jared Arone 54-yard pass to Shane Kindred, Garrett Portesi XP good.
2nd Quarter: (F) J. Arone 8-yard pass to Grayson Hunter, G. Portesi XP good; (M) Drew Sacco 1-yard rush, James Gilleran XP good.
3rd Quarter: (M) J. Gilleran 30-yard field goal; (F) J. Arone 41-yard pass to Will Tracey, G. Portesi XP good.
4th Quarter: (F) J. Arone 34-yard pass to Jonathan Martins, G. Portesi XP good.

King Philip, 30 @ Taunton, 21 – Final
1st Quarter: (T) Evan Perrotta 14-yard rush, Nathan Keenan XP good; (KP) William Astorino 1-yard rush, Matthew Kelley XP good; (KP) M. Kelley 31-yard field goal.
2nd Quarter: (T) Jacob Leonard 56-yard pass to Jose Touron, N. Keenan XP good; (KP) Rudy Gately 1-yard rush, M. Kelley XP good; (KP) Charlie Grant 4-yard rush, M. Kelley XP good.
3rd Quarter: (KP) M. Kelley 41-yard field goal.
4th Quarter: (T) E. Perrotta 4-yard rush, N. Keenan XP good; (KP) M. Kelley 29-yard field goal.

Stoughton, 35 @ Oliver Ames, 7 – Final
1st Quarter: No scoring.
2nd Quarter: (S) Jarred Daughtry 49-yard pass to Emmett Pearl, Jonah Ly XP good.
3rd Quarter: (S) J. Ly 1-yard rush, J. Ly XP good.
4th Quarter: (S) Anthony Girolamo 16-yard rush, J. Ly XP good; (OA) Sean Friel 51-yard pass to Jack Morley, XP good; (S) A. Girolamo 45-yard rush, J. Ly XP good; (S) J. Daughtry 11-yard pass to Michael Jardim, J. Ly XP good.

Sharon, 14 @ Fairhaven, 42 – Final










Girls Soccer
Canton, 5 @ Sharon, 2 – FinalCanton pulled away late to grab a road win. Gabriella Herivaux led the way for the Bulldogs with a brace. Sofia Goclowski scored for Sharon on an assist by Olivia Soby. Amanda Hu also found the back of the net for the Eagles, assisted by Wendy Wooden.

Stoughton, 0 @ Norwood, 3 – FinalShayla Ford played well in the loss for Stoughton, but couldn’t finish her chances. Mia Rivera also had a decent game in goal for the Black Knights and Sofia Issa continues to impress in the midfield.

Field Hockey
Attleboro, 2 @ King Philip, 3 – FinalAttleboro scored a pair of second half goals to level the match but King Philip sophomore Kelly Holmes scored on a beautiful aerial shot with just over two minutes to play to give the Warriors the win. Sophomore Mara Boldy opened the scoring in the first quarter on an assist from Sydney O’Shea and then Holmes scored to make it 2-0. Emma Briggs cut the deficit in half with a third quarter goal and Sarah McMahon tied it with under six to play before Holmes deposited her shot over everyone and into the far corner off of a penalty corner. Senior defenders Haley Izydorczak and Molly Piller both played outstanding in the win.

Canton, 7 @ Sharon, 0 – Final

Foxboro, 2 @ Oliver Ames, 4 – FinalAfter trading goals in the first half, Oliver Ames’ Erin Cottam scored twice in the second half to give the Tigers a key division win over Foxboro. Junior Tyla Delamere opened the scoring with her first career goal midway through the first quarter but Jenny Gallagher responded with just over a minute left in the period to make it 1-1. Georgia Costello put the hosts ahead just over a minute into the second but Gallagher answered again just over a minute later to send the teams into the halftime break knotted at 2-2. Cottam got her first goal of the game late in the third off a feed from Lily Gaskill. Cottam tacked on a second one with 9:48 to play to secure the win. Both Gaskill and Ava Costello played well in the midfield while Olivia Stevens had a strong game on defense for the Tigers.

Franklin, 8 @ Milford, 0 – FinalFranklin scored twice in each the first and second quarters and put it out of reach with three more in the third in a win on the road at Milford. Kaitlyn Carney scored four goals and had one assist to pace the offense, getting assists from Sophia Cuneo, Ella Aldred, and Ella Mahoney while Kendall Jones scored twice in the win (one assisted by Haley Wernig). Sydney Rogan tacked on a pair of second quarter goals for the Panthers.

Mansfield, 2 @ Taunton, 2 – FinalTaunton built a two-goal lead in the second half but Mansfield struck for a pair of second half goals, including the gaming one with less than a minute to go to grab a point on the road. Jillian Edmond (from Kaysie DeMoura) broke the deadlock with a goal with just over four minutes to play in the third. DeMoura recorded her second assist by finding Caelen O’Leary early in the fourth quarter. Mansfield scored with 20 seconds left to tie the game. Em Gannon had a big game in net with 16 saves while Jasmine Lucier and Kylie Thorpe both played well.

Stoughton @ North Attleboro, 5:15




Volleyball
Attleboro, 0 @ King Philip, 3 – FinalKing Philip’s offense was hitting on all cylinders as the Warriors rolled to a 3-0 sweep (25-7, 25-17, 25-9) win at home over the visiting Bombardiers of Attleboro. Middles Sami Shore (11 kills, three blocks) and Emily Sawyer (10 kills) both had strong showings while Ahunna James (seven kills, five digs) played a strong all-around game. Samantha Asprelli added 12 digs and Stella Bailey recorded 18 service points and 26 assists.

Foxboro, 0 @ Oliver Ames, 3 – FinalOliver Ames took care of business on Friday evening, knocking off division foe Foxboro in straight sets (25-7, 25-13, 25-18). Junior Courtney Raymond played well in the win with eight kills and two blocks, senior Shannon Willard added 14 assists, senior Hadley Rhodes dished out 12 assists and added four kills, and sophomore Sarah Hilliard recorded 10 kills and five aces.

Canton, 3 @ Sharon, 1 – FinalCanton bounced back from a one-set deficit to take three straight on the road for a 3-1 victory (18-25, 25-20, 25-19, 25-15). Sydney Gallery had one of the best performances of her career with 13 kills, seven digs, and three aces to lead the way. Anna Verille anchored the defense for the visitors with 25 digs and added an ace and a kill while Talya DeGraw turned in a strong all-around performance with nine kills, 14 digs, and an ace.

Franklin, 3 @ Milford, 1 – FinalMilford fought hard to avoid the sweep with a win in the third set but Franklin proved to be too much as the Panthers secured a 3-1 (25-16, 25-22, 20-25, 25-16) win over the Hawks. Junior Meghan Linkkila anchored the defense with 15 digs and had a strong showing at the service line with seven aces while sophomore Taylor Lacerda was nearly unstoppable at the net with 19 kills to go along with 11 digs and a pair of aces.

Mansfield, 3 @ Taunton, 1 – FinalAfter dropping the first set, Mansfield rallied to take three straight, including a vital third set, to knock off Taunton, 3-1 (22-25, 25-20, 26-24, 25-12). Christina Lydon dished out 17 assists in the win with Nicole Santos (six kills), Elyssa Buchanan (six kills), and Julia Kelly (five kills) pacing the offense.

Stoughton @ North Attleboro, 5:15

Golf
North Attleboro, 201 @ Attleboro, 197 – Final (5 cards)Attleboro grabbed its sixth win of the season and got back to .500 with its second close win over rival North Attleboro this year. Carter Shelton and Leo Lombardo led the way after both shooting a 37, Brendan Raymond added a 39, and Dane Holske, Parker Sackett, and Jackson Sweeney all came in at 42 for the Bombardiers. Tyson Laviano led the visitors with a medalist round of 36 while Jake Gaskin added a 38.

Mansfield, 161 @ Sharon, 170 – FinalMansfield finished the week a perfect 4-0, capping it off with a win over Sharon at the Norton Country Club. After a solid showing in his varsity debut, junior Drew Urban had a hole-in-one on the seventh hole to highlight the win. Cian Goulet had a team-low round of 39, Brendan Vokey and Hunter Tang each shot a 40, and Ryan Doherty and Urban both came in with a 42.

King Philip Stuns Franklin With Late Touchdown

King Philip football Danny Clancy
King Philip junior Danny Clancy comes down with the game-winning touchdown catch with just over a minute left in the game. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 
WRENTHAM, Mass. – For three quarters, Franklin and King Philip were locked in a rock fight on Mactaz Field.

Then came the fourth quarter fireworks.

After neither team found the end zone in any of the first three quarters, there were three touchdowns in the final period including two in the final five minutes. Franklin took the lead with just over three minutes to go but King Philip answered with a game-winning drive, scoring with just over a minute to go to secure a 14-10 win.

King Philip football

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“I don’t know [how we won it], there were so many ups and downs in that one,” said King Philip head coach Brian Lee. “It was the type of game that we’ve had success in the past, the type of game we’ve competed in but this group, we’re very young and we don’t have many seniors out there, and throughout this year we were having trouble in the close games. But they kept coming back, it was just awesome to see.

“It wasn’t a beautiful game but I’m proud of the kids. We got seven games, I’m not sure I like this season but I like tonight. I saw a little bit of Warrior of football for the first time.”

Neither team scored in the first half and the only points of the third quarter came off the foot of Franklin senior Parker Cheuvront as the Panthers carried a 3-0 led into the final 12 minutes of action. King Philip took the lead with a touchdown early in the fourth quarter and was in position to close it out with just over five minutes to go.

But a penalty and an incomplete pass on third down forced KP to punt, and a low snap forced a scramble. Franklin was able to track the punter down, eventually forcing the ball free and senior Damon Carmignani, who had the initial pressure on the punter, came away with the ball and the Panthers were suddenly in business with the ball at the KP 34-yard line with just over five minutes to play.

King Philip football

Five plays later, including one of five hookups between quarterback Jared Arone (11/19, 102 yards) and receiver Jake O’Brien (five catches, 58 yards), the Panthers went to the ground and Mack Gulla (17 carries, 69 yards) burst up the middle, going airborne before falling on the goal line for a touchdown. Cheuvront’s point after gave the hosts a 10-7 lead with 3:17 to play.

As quickly as the momentum swung in favor of the visitors, it came right back for the hosts. Sophomore Rudy Gately (31 carries, 157 yards), who had the majority of carries with senior back Crawford Cantave out injured, moved the sticks with a 10-yard gain.

Facing 3rd and 7, junior quarterback Charlie Grant found senior Michael Zagordny as he fell out of bounds but it was ruled he got a foot down for a complete catch. The Panthers were also whistled for a personal foul for a late hit, moving the 38 yards (23 on the catch, 15 on the penalty) all the way down to the Franklin 19-yard line with 1:33 to play.

Franklin’s Jay Gulla and Xander Honor stopped Gately for a loss on first down so the Warriors went to the air on second down. Grant floated one to the corner of the end zone and junior Danny Clancy used his size to go up and get it despite good positioning from the defensive back, getting his feet inbounds for a 10-yard touchdown and a 14-10 lead with 1:08 to go.

“Those guys have been doing that a long time together, we just really haven’t been able to maximize it this year,” Lee said. “I’ve been jabbing at Clancy, asking when he was going to make the big plays we saw him make on JV on varsity. The kid had position on him and he was still able to pull it down, it was unreal.

“I thought Charlie played well for us and showed a lot of poise and leadership for us when we needed it.”

The Panthers didn’t get a chance at a final drive after fumbling on the ensuing kickoff with KP’s Nick Viscusi coming away with the loose ball.

“As a coach, you want to see competition and you want to see your guys compete to the end and I think we did that,” said Franklin head coach Eian Bain. “We certainly didn’t help ourselves tonight with penalties, miscues, putting the ball on the ground even if we got it back. End of the day, I thought we were our own worst enemy. King Philip is a good program, they played a really good game don’t get me wrong. This year felt like four years ago when we were in a lot of close games, learning how to win.

King Philip football

“You never want to let that adversity go to waste, hopefully, we learned a little bit about what it takes to close games in the Hockomock League. They are young too so hopefully both our programs are rising together and next year, when we see them on Thanksgiving, hopefully we’ll be right back here battling it out with them.”

There was a total of six drives in the first half, each team getting the ball three times. Franklin got the ball from the opening kickoff and moved the chains once but had to punt, which happened again on its next drive. The Panthers’ final drive of the opening half resulted in a turnover on downs. Franklin nearly had a touchdown on a pass from Arone into the end zone but Viscuti made a great play to knock the ball free and prevent six.

Things didn’t go much better for the Warriors on the offensive side of the ball. KP’s first drive went 15 plays and covered 74 yards but stalled in the red zone. The Warriors tried a fake field goal but Franklin was ready and junior Joseph Tirrell forced a fumble and classmate Jonathan Martins grabbed the loose ball. KP’s second and third drive combined for just seven yards on eight plays, taking the game to halftime.

The Warriors started to move the ball on its first possession of the second half but it came to a halt on a fumble, recovered by Franklin’s Jacob Briggs. The turnover resulted in points for the Panthers, who moved 31 yards on 8 plays. Cheuvront split the uprights from 32-yards out for a 3-0 advantage.

King Philip responded with a 9-play, 66-yard drive to take its first lead of the game less than two minutes into the fourth. Lining up with two fullbacks — senior Mike Malatesta and sophomore William Astorino — and with a tight end on either side of the line — Nathan Kearney and Harry Brown — the Warriors continued to pound the ball on the ground.

Gately had a trio of runs for 22 yards on this drive, following the blocking of Hunter Hastings and Dan Nineve on the left side, Kevin Pierro up the middle, and Amro Ismail and Chris Sesay on the right side, Gately racked up 157 total rushing yards on 31 carries.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

KP mixed things up on the next play as Grant dropped a perfect pass into Clancy’s hands down the right sideline for a 38-yard gain. Four plays later, Malatesta went up the middle on fourth down for a 2-yard touchdown, and Matthew Kelley’s point after made it 7-3, setting up the wild finish.

“[Gulla] is a dude so I was very pleased with the overall effort and the battle,” Lee said of the KP defensive effort, which held Franklin to 1-of-7 on third and 1-of-3 on fourth down and under 200 total yards of offense. “I was nervous, Crawford is our safety and has been playing really well on defense and now we’re going against a pretty good passing attack without him. But I was happy with the effort from the guys.”

King Philip finishes the year at 4-3 while Franklin closes out the Fall II season at 3-4.

King Philip football