Revenge and emotion couldn’t mask the reality that the Brockton football team needed a win on Saturday to finish the regular season above .500.
Last year’s loss to New Bedford still on the mind of coach Peter Colombo, the Boxers dealt the 12th-ranked Whalers their first loss of the season, 15-8, at Walsh Field in New Bedford, just two days shy of the one-year anniversary of his father’s death.
New Bedford blanked Brockton last fall, 18-0, at the Boxers’ homecoming celebration.
“That game was a tough time for me,” said Colombo, the son of the legendary Armond Colombo, the second-winningest coach in Massachusetts high school football history who won 261 games at Brockton. “It was great to come down here and beat a very, very good football team. They were undefeated for a reason.”
The Boxers (4-3) fell behind early in the second quarter after the Whalers (6-1) compiled a 10-play, 97-yard scoring drive despite two personal foul penalties. Ethan Medeiros connected with Camren Perry for a 12-yard touchdown pass, which helped New Bedford to an 8-0 lead after Shaheed Barros added the conversion.
Brockton responded on its first play back on offense when Devonte Medley hit Ahmik Watterson in stride for a 59-yard touchdown score, but trailed by a point following Marcello Tenorio’s PAT. Brockton brought New Bedford’s ensuing drive to a screeching halt on a Markendy Suffrant interception.
The Boxers scored off the turnover, marching 88 yards in nine plays, with Medley hitting Nayvon Reid in the end zone for a 12-yard touchdown pass and a 15-8 lead with eight seconds left in the first half.
That score held into the final two minutes, when New Bedford had one last chance to tie the score before Watterson made his presence felt on the defensive side. The senior timed his jump perfectly and came down with a pick that enabled the Boxers to clinch it.
Pentucket 28, North Reading 0 — Senior quarterback Peter Cleary went 19-of-23 passing for 283 yards and a touchdown, with 13 going to classmate Jake Etter for 175 yards as the Sachems (6-1 overall, 2-1 Cape Ann Kinney) handed visiting North Reading its first loss of the year.
Pentucket will be the top seed in the Division 5 North tournament when the MIAA pairings are announced Sunday. For the Hornets, who came into the game averaging 35 points per game, it was a disappointing result but their 6-1 record (3-1 in CAL) still should secure them a home game in Division 4 North.
“Best quarterback in the league,” Etter said of Cleary. “He’s my best friend. We play three sports together. He’s been my best friend since fifth grade. We have unreal chemistry.”
Standing nearby, Cleary echoed Etter’s comments.
“Me and Etter did a lot of work this summer. I haven’t seen a receiver that’s better than him. He makes it easy for me. He’s a great receiver.”
After two possessions that resulted in turnovers on downs, Pentucket finally got on the board in the second quarter. A 14-play drive that consumed more than five minutes ended with Andrew Melone scoring on a 3-yard run to make it 7-0. Neither team would score again and it was 7-0 at the half. In the first 24 minutes, Etter caught 11 passes from Cleary for 118 yards. Etter also added a second quarter interception.
With the groundwork set, Pentucket went to work on the opening drive of the third quarter and pushed the margin to 14-0 when Cleary hit Keegan O’Keefe on a 45-yard touchdown strike. When Pentucket got the ball back it went on a seven-play drive with Andrew Joyce’s 3-yard touchdown run the first play of the fourth quarter. Joyce finished with 113 yards on 24 carries.
It was fitting that Pentucket’s last score was a Cleary to Etter pass of 33 yards that made it 28-0 with 4:29 to play.
“We were prepared for this game,” said Etter. “We’ve been thinking about it all year. Everybody was aggressive. We came out with an attitude. Everybody was hungry.”
Milton Academy 48, Belmont Hill 25 — In Milton, nothing stood in the way of Kalel Mullings as the 6-foot-2-inch, 228-pound Michigan commit scored five touchdowns to propel the Mustangs (6-0) to sole possession of first place in the ISL-6.
The senior running back/linebacker from West Roxbury broke the game open on a 20-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jake Willcox, of Everett, for a 21-point lead with less than a minute left in the first half.
“I don’t know if there’s any other team that can hang with us,” Mullings said. “I think we’re the best team in the state and we showed it today.”
Mullings (152 total yards) book-ended two of the Mustangs three unanswered touchdowns in the first quarter beginning with a 33-yard pass from Willcox and then on a 3-yard rush.
After Belmont Hill quarterback Luke Bobo connected with Gregory Desrosiers on 14-yard score to cut Milton’s lead to 21-7, Mullings responded with an 8-yard scoring run at the start of the second quarter. Mullings, also an outside linebacker, picked off Bobo at the Mustangs’ 9-yard line on Belmont Hill’s next possession.
Belmont Hill had no answer for Mullings at the start of the second half as he scored his fifth touchdown when Willcox found him with a 10-yard TD pass at the right-pylon midway through the quarter.
“We got BB&N next and they’re a tough team,” said Mullings. “But we’re going to keep the foot on the gas and I know that we’re going to go hard.”
Bedford 25, Weston 0 — Tyler Dussault rushed for two touchdowns (6, 24 yards) to help the Buccaneers earn their seventh win, keeping their undefeated run alive headed into the postseason.
Governor’s Academy 27, Lawrence Academy 14 — The Governors (5-1) sprung out of the gate behind quarterback Shane O’Leary and his receiver brother, Peyton, as they connected for two first-quarter scoring tosses of 65 and 35 yards. Shane also added two rushing scores in the first quarter, helping his team score all 27 of its points in the opening quarter.
Greater New Bedford 35, Case 13 — Heiser Cacho’s 68-yard score on a fake punt gave the Bears a second-quarter lead they would never relinquish as GNB (4-3) unseated the Cardinals (6-1), spoiling their hopes for an unbeaten regular season.
Holliston 42, Hopkinton 12 — With Matt Arvanitis producing three TD passes and rushing for another score, the 17th-ranked Panthers (6-1) rattled off 35 straight points in the second and third quarters to roll to the Tri-Valley League win.
Brian Garry took a fumble 25 yards for a score, snared a 50-yard scoring pass from Arvanitis, and Christian Schneelock had a 30-yard pick-6.
Mansfield 46, Attleboro 7 — The Hornets (6-1) clinched their second straight Hockomock League title in the Kelley-Rex division. Cincere Gill, Nick Marciano, and Michael Debolt each scored a pair of touchdowns, while Debolt added a career-long 41 yard field goal.
Medfield 26, Westwood 13 — Linebacker T.J. Casey snagged a pair of pick-6’s in a breakout performance for the Warriors (4-3) in the Tri-Valley League win. The sophomore had a 25-yard interception return, and added another 68 yarder in the fourth quarter.
Nantucket 47, Martha’s Vineyard 20 — Sophomore quarterback Makai Bodden (6 of 8, 126 yards) threw two touchdowns and ran for another, and senior running back Devonte Usher (5 carries, 117 yards) added two scores on the ground as the Whalers (4-3, 3-0) won the 68th Island Cup.
Northeast 40, Lynn Tech 6 — In a 300-plus yard rushing performance featuring nine runners for the hosts, Israel Lainez (3 TDs, 61 yards) and QB Owen Halley (1 TD, 90 yards) led the Knights (2-5).
Roxbury Latin 34, St. Mark’s 13 — The Foxes (1-4-1) earned their first win of the season thanks to two touchdowns from Javier Rios (1 rushing, 1 receiving) and two passing TDs from quarterback Aidan Brooks. Ejiro Egodogbare blocked and recovered a first-quarter punt for a 12-yard touchdown.
Upper Cape 30, Cape Cod Tech 0 — The Rams (4-3) rode Zuzary Salim’s 165-yard, two-touchdown rushing performance in the matchup of Cape vocational programs. Drew Brightman added a 90-yard touchdown run in the third quarter and chipped in on the defensive side of the ball with his fifth interception of the season (14th of his career).
Andover 19, Lowell 14 — In what Andover coach EJ Perry III called, “The best high school game I’ve ever been a part of,” freshman Scott Brown finished the decisive scoring drive with a 43-yard rushing touchdown as time expired, clinching the No. 3 seed for the Golden Warriors (5-2) in the D1 North state tournament.
Middlesex 31, Tabor 14 — Quarterback Cole Cleary was in sync with his receivers, completing 12 of his 18 passes for 222 yards and three touchdowns in a win for the Zebras (3-2-1). Liam Connor added another highlight with a 49-yard field goal in the second quarter.
Concord-Carlisle 49, Boston Latin 14 — Tyler Jameau returned a kickoff 90 yards to the house and added a 69-yard receiving touchdown to help the Patriots (7-0) put the finishing touches on a perfect regular season.
Tewksbury 44, Dracut 0 — Kyle Darrigo and Danny Fleming had a pair of rushing touchdowns each, while Ryne Rametta ran and passed for score as the Redmen trounced the Middies in Dual County League play.
Correspondents Bob Holmes reported from Groveland, Brad Joyal from Oak Bluffs, and Mike Kotsopoulos from Milton.