DEDHAM — Leading by five points with under three minutes remaining, BB&N’s defense needed a stop.
Leave it to Jack Kelley, the man of the hour, to step up.
Kelley exploded through the line, wrestling down Nobles junior quarterback Devin Hunt for a 13-yard loss on third and 10. The 6-foot-2-inch, 201-pound junior linebacker from Natick hopped to his feet, yelling in celebration before being engulfed by his teammates.—
Kelley came up with two late-game, drive-stopping sacks and recorded a safety to propel BB&N to a 22-17 Independent Schools League win over Nobles.
“I was blitzing the edge, blitzing D-gap, so I hit a little fake inside, got him to open up a little bit, and then took the edge and was able to make it to the quarterback,” said Kelley.
Kelley plays with a nose for the football. With six minutes to play, he shot up the middle to drag down Hunt and force a turnover on downs with Nobles threatening in the red zone. Before halftime, Kelley teamed up with senior captain Jake Berglund, from Burlington, on a stunt over the center to record a safety.
“Jack is really coming into his own,” said BB&N coach Mike Willey. “He’s really a great player: he’s big, strong, physical, all of those things. He put it all together today and he was outstanding. A difference maker for sure.”
The Knights’ front-seven imposed their will, staying with their assignments and closing gaps quickly, allowing a strong secondary to make plays downfield. Sophomore AJ Azuakolam, from Dorchester, brought down a leaping interception for the Knights (2-3).
“That defense was great today,” said Willey. “Really good. They got a couple of short fields and that’s what led to points for them, but it was a tremendous effort from the defense, top to bottom. That box, wow. They were tough today.”
Sophomore Bo MacCormack churned out 85 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries. The Westford native initiated contact, gaining extra yards by getting inside the pads of defenders. Senior quarterback Thomas Berentes, from Cambridge, finished 9 of 15 for 184 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions in his first start.
“We preach it, we’re mentally tough, physically tough, and that’s what we build BB&N football on,” said Willey.
Senior captain Tommy Schwartz (Cohasset) returned an interception 51 yards for a touchdown for the Bulldogs (3-2).
Cam Kerry can be reached at email@example.com.