WESTWOOD — In danger of falling to 0-3, the Xaverian football team need to shift gears on offense.
Switching to a ground attack, the Hawks scored 29 points in the second half on the back of sophomore Joe Kelcourse, who churned out 135 yards on 21 carries and two touchdowns.
But it was his go-ahead 2-point point conversion with 56 seconds to go that proved most pivotal, lifting Xaverian to a 36-35 nonleague win over Bridgewater-Raynham on Friday night.
“I think the guys get amped when I go in there,” said Kelcourse, whose conversion followed an 11-yard TD run from Michael Berluti. “Coach [Al Fornaro] tells us ‘the person with the best effort and the most physical person wins.’ ”
Kelcourse wasn’t much of a factor in the first half (four rushes, 21 yards), but he finished an 11-play, 73-yard drive with a short run to put the No. 20 Hawks (1-2) on the board.
It was the 11th-ranked Trojans, behind senior William Lombard, who dominated on the ground early.
Lombard returned the opening kickoff 86 yards to open the scoring.
On Bridgewater-Raynham’s next possession — following a 19-yard punt return from Lombard — the Trojans rushed six straight times, concluding with a 9-yard scoring jaunt for junior Anthony Morrison (194 all-purpose yards).
Two of the Trojans’ second-half scores came on a 65-yard rush, the second play of a drive, and an 85-yard kick return by Morrison.
“The two games we’ve played previously [losses to Barnstable and Everett], we’ve shown character and resiliency of never quitting,” said Fornaro. “That was a laser beam, we had to do some different things but it worked out for us.”
Most of Xaverian’s early difficulty moving the ball stemmed from a pair of long penalties that disrupted the first two drives. But in the second half, the Hawks eventually wore down the Trojans, using a 34-21 advantage in offensive plays.
“We want to be balanced but we want to win whether it’s throwing the ball or running the ball,” said Fornaro. “You have to be able to adapt. We needed it.”
Dan Shulman can be reached at email@example.com.