Sunday, November 20, 2016
Grafton Hangs on Against Taconic for Trip to Gillette
By Connor Evans (@RonnocEvans)
LEOMINSTER, Mass. - The Grafton Indians would face off against the Taconic Braves Saturday afternoon. The undefeated Indians would prevail by a final score of 26-13, providing them a state final berth at Gillette Stadium come December 3rd.
The game started out relatively quietly. Neither team could get their offense rolling to find any points in the first quarter. Things slowly picked up speed in the second quarter though.
Grafton: Ifeatu Melifonwu would jog into the end zone to end an impressive drive by the Indians (on which Melifonwu found Sean Deely through the air on a disguised play) to put Grafton up 7-0.
Taconic: Justin Santiago would block an Indian punt later in the quarter. The Braves scooped and scored to tie the game at 7 with 2:41 to play in the half.
Each team would get another shot in the opponent’s red zone, but each side’s defense held firm, sending us to intermission tied at seven.
Grafton: The Indians would open the third quarter forcing a Taconic three-and-out. On the ensuing possession, Quarterback Matt Holbrook would throw an absolutely perfect 30-yard pass to Melifonwu in the end zone, regaining the lead for Grafton 13-7.
Grafton: A few drives later, as the third quarter was winding down, Melifonwu just found the edge and ran about 80 yards up the left side of the field, uncatchable by the defense for another score. Grafton led 20-7.
The Braves would mishandle the ensuing kickoff, but would put on a colossal defensive stand to take the ball back from Grafton, before the Indians could make this a three score game.
Grafton: Melifonwu would however pick off a pass on the Braves next drive, and Ethan Farrah would find the end zone for a 20 yard touchdown. 26-7 Grafton led with 5 minutes to play in the fourth quarter.
Taconic: The Braves had no intention of going quietly. Anthony Whitely would find the end zone shortly after for Taconic’s first offensive score of the game.
Grafton would fumble on their ensuing possession, and it looked like Taconic may have a shot at coming back. The Indians’ Deely and Farrah decided they didn’t want to see that happen. After a MONSTER sack by Deely on the quarterback, Farrah would pick off a pass that would ultimately ice the game. The Indians secured their spot in the state title game after that big win.
“We don’t get tired on defense,” Deely would say after the game. “We push every single play.”
It certainly showed as the game wound down for the Indians.
“This is why we play football,” Grafton Chris McMahon added. “I’m so excited for our players to have this opportunity [to play in the Championship]. This is the stuff you dream about.”