With only 27 players in uniform, the Watertown Raiders (5-4) have scored back-to-back playoff wins over Swampscott and Somerville to earn the right to compete for the Division 5 North sectional championship against host Lynnfield (8-1) on Friday night.
“We’ve been playing this brand of football all year, despite the numbers,” said coach John Cacace. “We’ve had some injuries, some guys go down . . . [We] scored the game-winning touchdown [over Somerville] with 12 seconds left, and I’m yelling, ‘Extra point team! Get out there!’ . . . I don’t think any of the 11 players that were already out there left the field.”
Faced with one of his smallest rosters, Cacace has had players multitask.
Senior lineman Tim Tat has seen snaps at five positions — nose tackle, defensive end, linebacker, guard, and right tackle — in the past five weeks. Senior Muhammad Ahad, an offensive tackle who had seen little playing time, was put in at defensive end in the second half and helped set the edge against Somerville’s stretch run plays.
Senior Ben Landry, the team’s left tackle, moved from the line to the backfield when senior fullback Matt Muldrew went down with an injury.
“I’ve been so proud of the guys. A lot of credit to them, they’re hard-working guys, and we’re a small team, but I think we’re even closer because of that.”
Scituate’s historical run
Sectional final matchups
North: Everett (8-0) at Central Catholic (9-0), Saturday, 5 p.m. — Two potent offenses (Everett, 44.0 ppg; CC, 42.3 ppg) will clash. South: Catholic Memorial (6-3) at Xaverian (5-4), Friday, 6 p.m. — CM’s defense (18.4 ppg allowed) will try to stifle the Hawks for a second time this season.
North: North Andover (8-1) at Lincoln-Sudbury (9-0), Friday, 7 p.m _ NA’s Jake McElroy (14 TD passes) and L-S’s Braden O’Connell (10) poised for shootout. South: Bridgewater-Raynham (8-1) at King Philip (9-0), Friday, 7 p.m. — State’s two best backfields collide.
North: Tewksbury (8-1) at Lynn English (9-0), TBA — The Bulldogs must slow Tewksbury tailbacks Will Matovu and Brandon Winn (17 combined TDs). South: Duxbury (8-1) at North Attleborough (8-1), Friday, 7 p.m — Duxbury’s John Roberts (20 TD passes) faces a defense that’s allowed one TD pass per game.
North: Marblehead (9-0) at Melrose (9-0), Friday, 7 p.m. — Two stingy defenses (Marblehead, 8 ppg; Melrose, 15.1 ppg) will keep it a low-scoring game. South: Milton (7-1) at Hopkinton (9-0), Friday, 7 p.m. — Milton (30.4 ppg) faces Hillers coming off back-to-back shutouts.
North: Watertown (5-4) at Lynnfield (8-1), Friday, TBA — Watertown faces a defense that’s allowed three fourth-quarter TDs. South: Scituate (8-1) at Dennis-Yarmouth (9-0), Friday, 6 p.m. — D-Y’s high-flying offense (44.4 ppg) faces a veteran Scituate defense.
North: Stoneham (7-2) at Hamilton-Wenham (9-0), Saturday, 1 p.m. — Stoneham tailback Tre Pignone (19 TDs) faces a Generals defense which has allowed nine rushing TDs. South: Middleboro (7-2) at Old Rochester (8-1), Friday, 7 p.m. — Harry Smith and Will Garcia (39 combined TDs) face a stout Middleboro defense (16.8 ppg).
North: Brighton (6-3) at St. Mary’s (9-0), Friday, 7 p.m. — Brighton’s Jerrod Clark (5 TD catches) will look to disrupt a defense that has given up 13 points in last four weeks. South: Abington (6-3) at Mashpee (9-0), Friday, 7 p.m. — Mashpee limited Abington’s Mark Kilmain (14 TDs) to a single score in 49-27 win three weeks ago.
North: Cathedral (8-1) at Lynn Tech (9-0), Saturday, TBA — Cathedral’s defense (11.3 ppg) must stop Steffan Gravely and Keoni Gaskin (35 combined TDs). South: Millis (8-1) at Wareham (8-1), Friday, 7 p.m. — Millis must limit Issac Nascimento (22 TDs) to repeat in South.