NORTH EASTON — After Stoughton sophomore Jake Gibb’s 25-yard field goal gave the Black Knights a 2-point lead with 1:08 to go, it looked like the Division 3 Southwest final was all wrapped up.
That was until Oliver Ames marched 61 yards down the field to set up a 29-yard field goal attempt with three seconds to go.
Junior Nick Sanborn’s attempt had the distance, and the referees looked at each other to confirm the call.
No good. Wide right.
Stoughton escaped with a 16-14 win at Oliver Ames High School to move on to the Division 3 state semifinals in Brockton next week.
The Black Knights trailed, 14-13, when it got the ball at its 26-yard line with 10:39 remaining. Stoughton kept it on the ground with 15 runs against two passes to set up fourth and goal from the Tigers’ 8.
Gibb was sent onto the field to try and put the Black Knights (9-1) on top. Gibb’s kick went straight up and barely cleared the crossbar to give the visitors the lead. Gibb, who missed a 32-yarder earlier in the game, said he found out at the last second that Stoughton was trying the field goal instead of going for it on fourth down.
“I just knew I had to get the job done,” he said.
Oliver Ames senior quarterback Nick Cidado nearly pulled off the improbable on the Tigers’ final drive. Cidado hit sophomore Sam Kelly for 6 yards, then sophomore Andrew Callachan for a 23-yard completion before spiking the ball to set Oliver Ames (9-1) up at the Stoughton 45 with 37 seconds remaining. Kelly hauled in passes of 16 and 18 yards to bring the ball to the 11 with 10 seconds left.
Cidado went to the end zone for sophomore Franklin Holgate on the next play and put the ball on his numbers, but Stoughton junior Kirby Impoinvil drilled Holgate from behind to force the ball out, setting up Sanborn’s field goal attempt.
“A lot of people were counting us out. Everybody in the paper told us we weren’t going to win,” Stoughton coach Greg Burke said, “and you can tell them that they better check the score tomorrow.”
Senior Lennox Green carried 13 times for 92 yards and two touchdowns as part of Stoughton’s 266 yards (5.9 per carry) on the ground.
Cidado finished 14 for 30 for 194 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception for the Tigers. He also added 61 rushing yards.
Oliver Ames handed the Black Knights their only loss of the season Oct. 4 at Stoughton in a 35-7 romp.
“They gave us a good licking the first one and we played a little better today and played harder,” Burke said. “But that’s a great team. I’m glad I don’t have to play them next week.”