Saturday, September 15, 2018

Ground and Pound Does the Job for Marlborough in Win over Algonquin

 By John McGuirk (@Patsfan1313)

Marlboro, Mass. -- It is not an offense that will make you stand up and gawk over. But boy, is it effective.

Offenses that are built around trick plays, misdirections and other assorted gadgetries have no room in Marlborough's playbook. What the Panthers deliver, quite well in fact, is a unique brand of rock'em sock'em football. There is no mystery here. Marlborough simply dares its opponents to try and stop its bruising ground attack. 

On Friday night, inside Kelleher Field, Algonquin tried, but failed in its attempts to do so. The Tomahawks were bludgeoned by a well-designed ball control, power rushing attack as Marlborough pulled away for a 28-0 victory over Algonquin.

As a unit, the Panthers backfield gained 237 yards on 41 carries, finding the end zone four times in the process.

Senior Lou Vigeant led the assault, rushing for 170 yards on 19 attempts and a touchdown. 

Sophomore JJ Jarmman and senior Brandon Cavicchio did not have overwhelming rushing numbers, but each contributed mightily in helping to keep drives alive and forcing the Tomahawks offense to remain on the sideline for long stretches at a time.

With such a volatile backfield to work with, junior quarterback Steve DiGregorio only needed to throw three passes the entire evening. DiGregorio completed two of those passes for 41 yards. 

Marlborough (2-0) finished with 237 yards while limiting Algonquin (1-1) to a paltry 106.

"I think we definitely got better tonight after last week (a 10-8 win over Leominster),'' said Vigeant. "Our defense has been very solid with a lot of guys back. We have a lot of confidence in our defense and we knew we would rely on them a lot this year. Beating two good teams to start the year should get us ready for the remainder of the season." 

Ahead by a touchdown at the half, the Panthers finally pulled away throughout the final 22 minutes. 

The key turning point came at the beginning of the third quarter after kick returner Edwin Cardona put Marlborough in prime field position with a 50 yard return. Starting from the Tomahawks' 38, the Panthers needed seven plays before Jarmman knifed his way for a 12 yard scoring run to make it 14-0.

"This was not a 28-0 game," Panthers coach Sean Mahoney said. "It was a battle. Our kids played good defense and if they continue to control the ball on offense then we can be pretty good. I feel that we are going to continue to play good defense which will keep us in games. And if our offense continues to get better than I feel some good things could happen for us."

With a stout defense holding up its end of the bargain, continuously stifling Algonquin's offense at every turn, the offense once again rose to life early in the final quarter. Aided by a Tomahawks defensive pass interference call, the Panthers added to its lead on Vigeant's 40 yard blast through the middle of the Algonquin defense that made it 21-0 with 8:26 left.
"That's Marlborough football,'' said Vigeant. "Its run it up the gut until the other team quits. We don't always expect to put up a lot of points but we do know that we're going to have the ball for a long time."

After another Algonquin turnover on downs (one of three on the night), the Panthers started their next possession on the Tomahawks' 33. A 16 yard run by Vigeant led to back-up quarterback Richie Webber's 5 yard touchdown run to finish things out. 

"This was our first real tough game of the season," said Tomahawks second-year coach Taylor Allen, whose club waltzed past Worcester North 32-0 a week ago. "What they were doing was something we harped on all week but it is tough emulate that with our scout team. There are still a lot of things we can build off of from this game moving forward."

Marlborough jumped in front on its initial possession of the night going on a sustained 11-play, 70-yard drive capped off by a DiGregorio 2-yard dive over the goal line that gave the Panthers a 7-0 lead after one.

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