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ROCHESTER — A game that many expected to be a shootout between undefeated teams with high-scoring offenses turned into a defensive battle, as Old Colony held on for a 16-8 win over Blue Hills in a Mayflower Athletic Conference matchup Saturday afternoon.

The host Cougars relied on a stable of running backs to move the chains, but it was junior Thomas Stanton and senior Blake Dennison that powered Old Colony (4-0) past Blue Hills (3-1).

Stanton, who scored the game-winning touchdown on a 7-yard run with 1:34 remaining in the third quarter, finished with 73 yards on 14 carries. Dennison recorded 118 yards on 12 carries — the biggest of which was a 35-yard run that moved the chains and allowed the Cougars to kneel the ball in the final minute.

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“We made the analogy all week that this was going to be like a heavyweight fight — two teams that play physical that are really going at it,” Old Colony head coach Brandon Mendez said. “That’s what it was. We pride ourselves on our defense and the offense just follows suit. We don’t mind being in a tight game as long as the defense is playing well.”

The Warriors struck first when senior quarterback Jessie Shields threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to classmate Kevin Gibbons with 3:49 left before halftime. Shields connected with senior Brendon Robinson through the air for the 2-point conversion, and Blue Hills went into the break with an 8-0 lead.

Old Colony answered when its senior signal-caller Matt Bumpus scored on a 2-yard quarterback sneak on the team’s first possession of the second half. Dennison ran for the conversion before doing the same on Stanton’s score later in the quarter.

Gibbons rushed the ball 16 times for 85 yards and hauled in two passes for 33 yards in defeat.

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Blue Hills senior Aden Johnson left in an ambulance after sustaining what Warriors head coach Ed Catabia described as a “slight head injury” during the third quarter.