NORWELL — The young Norwell Clippers continued to prove it could handle the learning curve, beating Middleborough on Friday night, 34-32, to capture its first South Shore League title in more than 20 years.
“These guys step up,” said Norwell coach Jim Connor. “They’re all students of the game. They know how to adjust. The same way a quarterback might audible, the linemen are changing up blocking schemes on the fly.”
With 1:32 left in the fourth quarter, Middleborough scored on a 3-yard pass from quarterback Evan Gwozdz to Harry LaPierre to bring the Sachems to within 2 points. But Gwozdz could not complete the comeback, lofting a hurried conversion pass out of the end zone.
After a first half in which each team scored four times, the second half featured long Norwell drives highlighted by its ground attack. Of the Clippers’ 21 second-half plays, 20 were runs.
Leading the charge was running back Ben Bostrom. The junior rushed 13 times for 86 yards and three touchdowns. As a team, the Clippers rumbled for 210 yards, something for which Bostrom was quick to credit his offensive line.
“Jack Breare, Declan Gore, Sam Sheer, and Cole Casper, it’s all them,” Bostrom said.
Bostrom’s final score of the night capped a 10-play, 68-yard drive and would turn out to be the difference. On just his second carry of the drive, Bostrom jumped up and over his offensive line into the end zone.
Despite primarily keeping the ball on the ground, Norwell junior quarterback Cal Smith went 3 for 4 with 114 yards, including a 59-yard TD pass to Ethan Robbins late in the second half to grab the lead.
“It’s a team game, it’s not all me,” Bostrom said. “Cal making those throws, the offensive line making those blocks, just great teamwork.”Dan Shulman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @GlobeDanShulman.