COHASSET — Millis-Hopedale made the MIAA Division 6 South final interesting Friday night, but Cohasset had no plans to concede its milestone victory.
With the 14-8 win at Alumni Field, Cohasset earned a meeting with the winner of Saturday’s Latin Academy-St. Clement game. The state semifinals will be played next Saturday night at Brockton.
The win was Cohasset’s first in the postseason in program history, according to coach Pete Afanasiw.
“Up until this year, we had never won a playoff game,” said Afanasiw, whose last trip to the postseason was in 2009, when the Skippers were ousted by Holliston, 14-8. “Now we’ve got things kind of going in the right direction as a program and this is pretty special for these guys. It’s a great group of young men.”
The Skippers (9-1) started with a successful onside kick by Rocco Laugelle and drove to the Millis-Hopedale 1-yard line before the drive stalled, allowing the Mohawks to take over on downs. Millis-Hopedale’s Tyler Angel stuffed Cole Kissick to halt the Skippers.
The Mohawks (7-3), forced to punt on their first possession, again frustrated the Skippers on their ensuing drive. Cohasset’s 14-play drive ended at the half-yard line when Gavin Bradbury drilled quarterback Chris Haggerty forcing a turnover on downs.
Millis-Hopedale punted away again on its next drive, but this time Cohasset wouldn’t be denied. Haggerty connected with Ryan Gillis with an 8-yard TD pass, giving the Skippers an 6-0 halftime lead.
Less than two minutes into the second half the Mohawks took the lead, scoring on a 45-yard rush by speedy senior Chris Ahl (16 carries, 96 yards), who followed a huge block by Angel to score his 17th TD of the season.
Down 8-6 after three quarters, the Skippers put together a nine-play, 81-yard winning drive, culminating with a 1-yard TD pass from Haggerty (14 for 19, 155 yards, two TD passes) to Laugelle with 8:38 to play in the game.
Laugelle led the effort on the winning drive, catching three Haggerty passes, including a big 33-yard, over-the-shoulder grab on the sideline.
“It started slow. We got stopped a couple of times on their 1-yard line but we just didn’t stop,” said Laugelle, who finished with eight catches for 92 yards. “We came out at halftime and just knew what we had to do. I was just feeling it. I told the coach give me the ball. It was just clicking.”
The Skippers defense preserved the lead, intercepting three of the Mohawks’ final four passes of the game. Senior defensive back Terence Doonan had two of them.
“I just didn’t let anyone get behind me on the field,’’ Doonan said. “We saw it in films earlier and I was ready for it tonight. We went out and played a great defensive game to help us to the win.”