WALTHAM — The Waltham defense had allowed a mere 24 points through five games entering Friday night’s clash against No. 18 Acton-Boxboro. That total nearly doubled after the Colonials rolled over the Hawks, 43-8, on the way to their first Dual County League (Large) title since 2008.
“There was a lot of hype for their defense,” said senior running back Will Tejeda, who rushed for 153 yards and three touchdowns. “I think they only let up  points this whole year. And we scored 43.”
Tejeda teamed up with fellow running backs Gabe Cormier (13 carries, 47 yards) and Tom Saponaro (8 rushes, 115 yards, TD) to combine for four scores and 315 yards on the ground.
“We have three good backs and they block for each other as well as they run,” said Acton-Boxboro coach Bill Maver. “I can’t say enough about the guys up front, they really played well tonight, end to end.
“Tejeda is a track guy. He’s pretty fast, he runs hard. And Saponaro’s a great football player. Gabe Cormier gets a lot of the hard yards, blocks. But it was a team effort.”
The Colonials (6-1, 4-0) got their monster rushing attack going early. Six straight runs early in the first quarter put them at the Waltham 22, where Tejeda took over and cut up the middle for his first score of the night. Tejeda then ran for a 2-point conversion to put Acton-Boxboro up, 8-0.
Waltham (4-2, 3-1) could not convert on fourth down on the next drive and the Colonials took advantage. Quarterback Hunter Arnold, who attempted only seven passes, found tight end Liam Gundlach for a 59-yard strike over the middle to set up another Tejeda touchdown run, this time from 3 yards. Arnold’s 2-point rush gave the Colonials a 16-0 advantage.
The Hawks answered, driving 68 yards to cut the lead to 16-8. Dana Parello found Brendan Bonadio on fourth and 19 for a 23-yard TD.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Colonials appeared to have an 80-yard return for a score, but it was brought back because of a penalty.
Not to worry. Saponaro took the next snap 90 yards to make it 22-8, ending Waltham’s comeback thoughts for good.
Tejeda then added an 80-yard dash before the half to give the Colonials a 28-8 lead. Arnold and JT Kelly added rushing touchdowns in the second half for A-B.
“We’ve still got the playoffs ahead of us, but winning the league for the first time since 2008 is a really big deal for us,” said Tejeda. “We’re excited for the playoffs.’’ We have a lot of momentum now.”