LAKEVILLE — Not only did the Old Rochester football team need to keep its health intact in advance of next weekend’s Division 6 Super Bowl against Stoneham, the Bulldogs were determined to to maintain their unbeaten record before their arrival at Gillette Stadium.
Check and check.
Old Rochester ran through, and over, host Apponequet at Griffith Stadium Wednesday night in the teams’ 38th holiday meeting, piling 364 yards rushing in a 35-14 victory.
The most encouraging sign for the Bulldogs (11-0) was the play of senior tailback Will Garcia, who missed six games this season with an ankle injury. In his third game back, the 5-foot-8-inch, 150-pound Garcia racked up 184 yards on 15 carries, rushing for touchdowns of 69, 7 and 31 yards.
“It feels great, everybody’s been counting on me to return,” Garcia said.
“I really wanted to play this season and make it a big season for the team. When I went out, it was really disappointing; I let down a lot of friends, a lot of family, so performing like I did tonight, it feels really good.”
The South Coast champions also received 104 yards from Desmond Dias , including a 26-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter that snapped a 14-0 run by the Lakers (4-7).
“Our last game was on Nov. 9 [against Ashland in the D6 South final], we could go all the way to Dec. 1 and not play a football game,” said Old Rochester coach Justin Kogler, when asked on the decision to play his starters.
“I was hoping we could pull some starters, but we didn’t get enough of a lead in the second half to do that.” ORR had beaten Apponequet, 39-0, earlier in the season.
On the third play from scrimmage, Jackson Cote had a 37-yard rushing touchdown for the Bulldogs.
Brent Dixon put Apponequet on the board with an 80-yard kick return in the third quarter.
Jake Levin can be reached at email@example.com.