FOXBOROUGH — From start to finish, all 48 minutes, Tyler DeMattio was at the forefront, as a force, keeping North Attleborough’s hopes alive in the Division 3 Super Bowl against a juggernaut Marblehead squad.
In the end, the senior captain and the Red Rocketeers came a possession short in a 35-28 loss at Gillette Stadium Thursday night.
A three-year starter at quarterback, the 5-foot-10, 197-pound DeMattio shifted to tailback earlier in the season with the emergence of freshman Chase Frisoli, forming a potent duo with 6-foot-3, 190-pound Tyler Bannon in the backfield.
In the first half, DeMattio darted into the end zone from 5 outs for a 7-7 tie, and then blasted in from 4 yards out as North Attleborough forged a 14-all tie. He booted both point-afters.
Marblehead surged ahead, but Bannon (18 rushes, 92 yards) bounced in from the 3 in the third quarter, and DeMattio (24 carries, team-high 105 yards) scored from 3 yards out with 4:20 remaining for a 28-28 game.
Marblehead answered with an electrifying 83-yard strike to Connor Cronin for the win.
“They just had a couple of big plays, that’s all it really was,” DeMattio said. “We stopped them all game, then two of their touchdowns were 70-plus yards.
“You can’t do anything about it, you just have to put it behind you.”
The Red Rocketeers racked up 345 total yards – 201 on the ground.
“This is such a great group, especially our seniors,” North Attleborough coach Don Johnson said.
“Everything we ask for, they’ve got that toughness, they’re focused, they’re dedicated, they gave us everything we ever asked for. They were loyal, they were tough – you can’t ask for more than that as a coach.”
Despite a losing record midway through October, the Red Rocketeers made it to the state championship.
“We played well, they’re a great football team. It was a Super Bowl and we stuck with it [this season],” said DeMattio. “We proved everyone why we should be here.”
Lenny Rowe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.