ROCKLAND — In the ‘fourth quarter of a run-heavy game, Rockland parlayed a pair of passing plays to string together a two-play, 69-yard drive to pull ahead in a 20-7 victory over visiting Cohasset in a South Shore League matchup Friday night.
Making his first start at QB with senior Dante Vasquez injured, junior Cullen Rogers connected on a 40-yard bomb to classmate Hunter Wardwell, who stepped around his defender and into the end zone.
In the second quarter, Wardwell caught a 28-yard touchdown pass from Rogers to open the scoring.
“We were taking advantage of the athletes we have on the outside,” said Rockland coach Nick Liquori. “Cullen can throw a good ball, he’s been playing quarterback this whole year and that confidence level gives us an added dimension.”
The Skippers (1-1) had several chances to tie in the fourth quarte, driving down to the Rockland 34 before a fumble killed the drive.
On the next series, Rockland’s defense forced a turnover on downs, setting up a 35-yard touchdown run from junior Tom McSweeney. Another interception with under a minute to play sealed the victory.
“We prided ourselves in the offseason that we would be prepared for anything,” said Liquori. “That showed here tonight that we had an opportunity to show off these other guys.”
Prior to kickoff, the town of Rockland dedicated two seats in the newly-renovated Veterans’ Stadium to the town’s soldiers who never returned from combat.
But when play began, it was sloppy, dominated largely by defense. The teams exchanged turnovers in the game’s first three plays. Cohasset fumbled twice and had three passes intercepted in the game, two by Rockland junior Joe Nguyen.
“It’s not about us losing to Rockland it’s about us beating ourselves,” said Cohasset coach Pete Afanasiw. “We can’t step on our own feet and fumble away opportunities.”
Cohasset senior Gray Thomas (8 carries, 44 yards) went down with a leg injury in the second quarter, forcing senior Danny Nolan to take the bulk of the carries. Nolan (19 carries, 137 yards) ran for 106 yards in the third quarter alone, including a 36-yard touchdown run to tie the game.
Dan Shulman can be reached at email@example.com.