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HS FOOTBALL | KING PHILIP 19, XAVERIAN 14

No. 4 King Philip relies upon ‘a sustained effort’ in its nonleague win over No. 2 Xaverian

WRENTHAM — Singling out one play, one player, or one detail would be daunting, so King Philip senior Carson Meirer offered up three keys for his team’s impressive defensive showing Friday night.

The fourth-ranked Warriors made life miserable for second-ranked Xaverian in a 19-14 nonleague win at Macktaz Field, in large part, because of team speed, toughness, and a great game plan to slow down a Hawk attack that was averaging 42 points per game.

“[Xaverian has] some serious dudes over there that it was tough to keep out,” King Philip coach Brian Lee said. “Just a sustained effort throughout.”

The Warriors (3-0) forced two Xaverian turnovers and sacked quarterback Henry Hasselbeck three times while hitting him countless more, all while making the Hawks (2-1) go three-and-out on five offensive series.

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One of the turnovers, a 37-yard interception return for a touchdown by Meirer on the Hawks’ first play of the second half, embodied what he’d described as his keys to the game. Meirer was in position for the pick because of the play of lineman Christopher Sesay, who leveled Hasselbeck as he threw, enabling Meirer a clear path to the end zone.

“That was a great call by our coach,” Meirer recalled. “I’m falling in the flat there and the tight end runs an out. But that’s Sesay’s play right there. I caught it and ran it, but that’s Sesay’s play. He hit him. That’s teamwork.”

Sesay was also among four Warriors to record a sack, along with Kyle Abbott, Sean King and Luke Danson. King had forced a fumble for Xaverian’s first turnover, recovered by Will Astorino.

The Warriors led 3-0 at the half on a 33-yard field goal off the foot of Matthew Kelley in the second quarter, and extended their lead to 13-0 after Meirer’s pick-six and a 30-yard field goal from Kelley in the third quarter.

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But on the last play of the third quarter, the Hawks — who at that juncture had mustered only 25 yards of offense — finally struck, Hasselbeck connecting with Jonathan Monteiro in stride for a 77-yard touchdown.

King Philip and Xaverian traded punts before the Warriors got the ball back at their own 46-yard line with 6:53 remaining in the fourth. On the verge of sputtering out, KP quarterback Thomas McLeish connected with Kelley for a 34-yard gain on a fade route on third and 10. On the ensuing play, Nathan Kearney scored on a 6-yard touchdown with 2:20 to go.

Hasselbeck again found Monteiro on a connection in the final minute of regulation, this time from 29 yards out, but Xaverian was stymied by an offsides penalty on its onside kick attempt. The Hawks were awarded a retry from 5 yards further back, but Daniel Silveria came down with the ball to seal the deal for King Philip.