STOUGHTON — Oliver Ames coach James Artz was happy that, despite a 3-0 start, his team was flying under the radar. Entering the Tigers’ Friday afternoon showdown with fellow unbeaten and Hockomock (Davenport) rival, Stoughton, Artz believed most of the attention was on the Black Knights.
Oliver Ames (4-0, 2-0) went on the road and thrashed Stoughton (3-1, 1-1), 35-7, behind stellar play on both sides of the ball.
Senior quarterback Nick Cidado threw for one score and rushed for another, while fellow senior Matt Berksza ran for two scores of his own. The Tigers defense held Stoughton to just 222 yards of offense.
“I think that’s a very good football team we played,” said Artz. “But I’ve been quietly telling people that I think we’re a pretty good football team, too. I didn’t mind us not getting a lot of attention. I didn’t mind us not being talked about. I thought we put in quality wins [so far this season] and still there wasn’t a lot of talk on us. And I like that, to be perfectly honest.
“I thought our kids showed up and played an outstanding football game. I can’t say enough about how hard the kids have worked. Everything we’ve asked them to do, they’ve bought in full. ”
Oliver Ames got off to a quick start, opening up a 21-0 lead at the half. The Tigers’ first score came when Cidado (12 of 15, 173 yards; 6 carries, 51 yards), burst through the line, broke a tackle and ran up the right side for a 30-yard touchdown. The extra point was missed.
Stoughton looked poised to answer on the next drive, but fumbled at the Oliver Ames 15. Senior defensive end Colin Lozzie recovered for the Tigers.
Seven plays later, Berksza ran up the middle from 4 yards out for his first score of the day. Cidado then found sophomore Franklin Holgate for a 2-point conversion.
“The defense did a great job of bending but not breaking all game,” said Artz, who said the fumble was huge.
The Tigers’ final touchdown of the first half came when Cidado fired a 4-yard pass to senior wideout Reid Starr.
On its first drive of the third quarter, Oliver Ames extended the lead to 28-0, when Berksza again rumbled into the end zone from 4 yards out.
The tandem of Cidado and Berksza (15 carries, 118 yards) accounted for 342 yards of offense.
“Nick Cidado, he’s just outstanding,” said Artz. “I think he’s by far one of the best players in the league. And Matty Berksza, again, all the talk was about someone else. He took it as a personal challenge and he came here and ran phenomenally today. He did an outstanding job.”
Stoughton’s lone score came as time expired in the third quarter. Quarterback Stanley Sajous found Lennox Green for a 22-yard touchdown.