FRAMINGHAM — It was a sweet victory for Natick, which hadn’t won at Framingham since 2004.
The Redhawks didn’t get off to a great start, fumbling the opening kickoff, but the end result was a 26-14 victory Thursday that punched Natick’s ticket to the playoffs.
“We’ve been thinking about it all year, even preseason and the summer,” said Natick wide receiver Brian Dunlap. “We were talking about the games that we wanted to get revenge on, and this one was definitely on the top of the list.
“Them beating us on our home field really hurt and we wanted to get it back this year on their field.”
All it took was two plays for Natick’s explosive offense to find the end zone, as Troy Flutie threw a pass over the middle to Justin Robinson for an 80-yard touchdown.
The next drive wasn’t as easy, as Flutie was intercepted by Matthew Cronin. But after forcing a three-and-out, Natick went back to work, capping an eight-play, 59-yard drive with a 27-yard touchdown pass from Flutie to Alex Hilger.
“It’s huge for me,” said Flutie. “I couldn’t do it the first two years, so I knew I had to do it this year and step up and do whatever I could to win. I know it’s a great feeling for all of our players and coaches.”
With his team down, 14-0, whatever Framingham coach Gary Doherty said at the half worked. The Flyers opened the third quarter with a 7-yard touchdown pass from Christopher Bloomingdale to Cronin.
How did Natick respond? Flutie, of course.
The 6-foot, 175-pound quarterback punched it in from a yard to give Natick a 20-7 lead. On the day, Flutie completed 17 of 19 passes for 308 yards and two touchdowns.
“We’re going to the playoffs,” said Natick coach Mark Mortarelli as his team celebrated its division-clinching win. “We beat Framingham — it doesn’t get any better than that.
“Tremendous amount of respect for Coach Doherty and that program. We knew they were going to play us hard and they did. We hung in there and pulled it out.”
Bloomingdale had a short touchdown run late in the fourth quarter to cut into the deficit, but it was too late. Nick Lee added a 15-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Flutie sealed the game by taking a knee, sending Natick fans on their way to celebrate.
“Nothing better than coming out on Thanksgiving and winning this game,” Dunlap said. “Now we get to go eat — it’s going to be a better Thanksgiving than it was last year.”
The Redhawks will play Plymouth South in the playoffs Tuesday.