Saturday, October 29, 2016

Brockton Dominates Newton North in Playoff Win

Brockton coach Pete Columbo talks his team's big win over Newton North.
By Nate Weitzer (@nweitzer7)

NEWTON, Mass. – When it comes time for the MIAA State Tournament, you can throw out all regular season records and begin your evaluations of each Super Bowl hopeful anew.

Brockton (5-3) came into a Division 1 South playoff matchup at No. 2 Newton North (6-2) with an inferior record and a much lower seed, but through 44 minutes of dominant play, the Boxers proved that they were head and shoulders above the competition, as they handled the Tigers 38-9 in a complete team effort.

The Boxers set the tone defensively, holding the Tigers to just two first downs throughout the first half, which allowed them to win the field position battle.

Wasting little time, the visitors used those short fields to jump out to a 14-0 lead, as junior running back Edmund Kelsey broke a 42-yard touchdown and backup quarterback Thomas O’Brien (4-of-6, 99 yards, TD) rushed for a one-yard score.

“We played good defense,” confirmed Brockton head coach Peter Colombo. Adding, “Divell [Gomes] is a good punter, who has done well all year and that’s what you call complimentary football. I thought we played well in all three phases today.”

While starting quarterback Matt Caruso suffered a shoulder injury in the first quarter, O’Brien stepped in and ran the offense quite effectively. The junior signal caller wasn’t asked to do too much, but he did deliver a beautiful strike to senior wide receiver Sean King (3 receptions, 84 yards, TD; rush, 10 yards, TD) for a 25-yard score to make it 21-3 later in the fourth quarter.

“I thought Tommy did a nice job,” Colombo praised. “He hasn’t gotten a lot of reps in practice but I give him credit for being prepared and he did a nice job stepping in.”

Now functioning with a big lead, the Boxers defense was able to play with even more aggression, and they picked off Newton North quarterback John Grady twice to take complete control of the game in the second half.

“My defensive coordinator Bob O’Neill does a phenomenal job on that side of the ball,” Colombo said. “We mixed it up and we used some different coverages, which had [The Tigers] confused at times, but in their defense they were playing catch up and trying to make some things happen, so it kind of got out of hand on them.”

After senior defensive back Keshaun Brown returned an interception to the Tigers 10-yard line, King sprinted across the formation and scored on an inside jet sweep to put Brockton up 28-3, and the rout was on.

With the win, the Boxers advance to face No. 3 BC High in the second round of the D1 South tournament next weekend. The Eagles shut down Brockton in a 20-0 victory during the regular season, so in order to get his offense rolling, Colombo hopes that O’Brien can add an element of diversity with his ability to pass the ball.

“That’s something we’re going to have to do more of,” Colombo said about O’Brien’s 25-yard touchdown toss to King out of an empty formation. “We need to spread it out. If we can a little more diverse and keep the opposition honest with the pass, that’s going to be good for us.”

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