Saturday, December 1, 2018

Bolinsky, Nashoba Finish The Job In Division 4 To Win Fifth Super Bowl

Nashoba receives the Division 4 Super Bowl trophy following its win over Dighton-Rehoboth (Photo Courtesy: John Meyer)

By John McGuirk (@Patsfan1313)

FOXBORO -- For Sam Bolinsky, this was an opportunity to wipe clean a year’s worth of heartache.

Returning to the same field in which he suffered a devastating fractured fibula to his right leg during the early stages of last year’s MIAA Division 4 Super Bowl loss to Melrose, Bolinsky and the Chieftains earned another crack at a state championship.

Throughout the week leading up to this event, the senior signal-caller attempted to feverishly clear his mind of the past and lay focus on the present. Bolinsky did just that as he threw for 250 yards and a touchdown to help lead Nashoba to a 31-0 over Dighton-Rehoboth as the Chieftains claimed the Division 4 Super Bowl on Friday night at Gillette Stadium.

"It's a lot nicer to play the entire game this time around," said Bolinsky. "Tonight it was a brand new game and that is what all I was thinking about."

The win marks the Nashoba's fifth title in 11 Super Bowl tries, and second since 2015.

Nashoba (12-1) thoroughly dominated the Falcons (9-3) on both sides of the ball. The Chieftains amassed 426 yards of offense while holding D-R to just 159.

"The defense has been phenomenal all year for us," sixth-year Nashoba coach Jamie Tucker said. "They moved the ball on us early but we really came back and made some huge plays in response. Any time you give up zero points it's a great night."

A pair of second quarter touchdowns was all the spark the Chieftains needed as they went into the half leading 14-0.  Following a Troy Barksdale first quarter interception of a Harrison Pray pass, after the Falcons had moved to the Chieftains’ 25, D-R went stone cold silent the rest of the way.

With 4:40 to go before halftime, Nashoba senior back Alex Childs scored on a 15-yard run to cap off a 93-yard drive, highlighted by a Brendan Lee 61-yard screen pass and run, to put the Chieftains ahead 7-0. Three minutes later, Nashoba marched down the field again following a Falcons’ punt.

A 40-yard pass completion from Bolinsky to Barksdale led to a 17-yard touchdown grab by Will Danby with 1:16 showing, pushing the Chieftains advantage to two scores.

"Their cornerbacks were cheating heavy inside so we started to figure out that maybe we should start throwing the ball a little deeper on them," said Bolinsky. "I didn't think they could catch up to our receivers. This is a game of adjusting and I think we did a great job of finding plays that would work for us."

Despite playing just 10 minute quarters, Nashoba gained 199 yards of offense during the opening half.

Things continued to go the Chieftains way to begin the final half. Marching 84 yards, which included a 49-yard reception by senior wide-out John Foney (3 catches for 77 yards), Nashoba reached the Falcons’ 2-yard line before settling for a Childs field from 19-yards away.

A few moments later, Jack Bonazzoli recovered a Chase Carroll fumble on the D-R 44. Facing a 3rd-and-17, Barksdale fooled the Falcons defense by lofting a well-executed 36 yard option pass to a wide-open Danby in the end zone to make it 24-0 with 3:02 left in the third.

"This has been such an awesome year for us," Tucker said. "The option pass was something we've been working on all year. We just decided to give it a shot. We knew our goal this year was to get back here and win this game. It's doesn't get any better than this."

For D-R, a team averaging 29.2 points-per-game this season, this was a harsh blow. All three of its running backs (Carroll, Reis Foley and Joe Carrera) came in having rushed for a combined 1,791 yards on the ground. 

On Friday, however, none were able to gain any momentum on the ground against a vaunted Chieftains defensive attack. The three finished with a combined 43 net yards. Pray, a senior, who threw for just under 1,700 yards, was 10 of 27 for 114 yards and two interceptions. 

"They made plays and we didn't," sighed D-R second-year coach Dave Moura. "Nashoba is physical and disciplined, and are very good on defense. Our kids played their hearts out tonight. Hopefully they now got a taste of this and know what it takes to come back here like Nashoba has done."

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