With Concord-Carlisle facing a pivotal kick return in the fourth quarter of its Dual County League matchup against Wayland, Christian Gemelli turned to Patriots coach Mike Robichaud and insisted he be put in the game.
The Patriots faced long odds after Cameron Jones’s 6-yard touchdown run gave Wayland a 20-13 lead with 0:43 left in regulation on Saturday, and were at risk of falling behind their bitter rivals in the league standings.
Not only did Gemelli get on the field for the kick return, the senior returned it 50 yards to the Warriors’ 40-yard line. Four plays later, Gemelli connected with Tyler Jameau for a 25-yard touchdown pass with 0:03 on the clock.
Robichaud elected to go for the win in Weston — Wayland’s temporary home — Gemelli rumbled into the end zone off a direct snap for a 2-point conversion to give the Patriots a 21-20 win.
“I just thought we could do something, make a play,” Gemelli said. “I wasn’t going to not be on the field at that point in the game.”
Concord-Carlisle (4-0, 1-0) spent the bulk of the afternoon chasing Wayland (3-1, 1-1) after Gemelli gave the Patriots a 6-0 lead with a 37-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter. The Warriors responded when Jason Tucker scored on a 1-yard touchdown run. The ensuing pass failed on the 2-point conversion attempt, leaving the score tied at 6.
Wayland pulled ahead, 13-6, with 3:09 to go in the first half on another Tucker score, this time from 6 yards out.
Concord-Carlisle tied it, 13-all, with 9:53 left in the fourth on a 5-yard TD run by sophomore running back Tim Hays, and forced a Wayland three and out on its next possession. But the Patriots failed to convert a fourth and 1 from the Warriors’ 16-yard line on their next series, setting up Wayland for a 10-play, 88-yard drive which culminated in Jones’s go-ahead score.
But Gemelli, who rushed for 124 yards (239 all-purpose), wasn’t done. He scrambled for 6 yards on a third and 1 prior to dialing up Jameau, who leaped over the plane for Gemelli’s first touchdown pass of the afternoon.
“We ran that play a couple of times in the game and we hadn’t hit it, but it worked that time,” Gemelli said.
Jameau finished with six catches for 65 yards and the score, but his highlight-reel touchdown grab would have been a footnote if not for the successful conversion.
“Wayland’s a great team,” Robichaud said on the thought process of playing for the win. “They’ve had us in recent years. We had some opportunities in the game that we didn’t convert on. We didn’t want to go to overtime, they’re a well-coached group, so we thought it was time to go for it.”
Old Colony 16, Blue Hills 8 — In Rochester, junior running back Thomas Stanton ran 14 times for 73 yards and scored the winning touchdown on a 7-yard run with 1:34 remaining in the third quarter. Senior running mate Blake Dennison ran for 118 yards on 12 carries, the biggest of which was a 35-yard gain that allowed the Cougars (4-0) to seal the Mayflower Athletic Conference victory over visiting Blue Hills (3-1).
Bishop Fenwick 20, St. Mary’s 0 — David Cifuentes spearheaded a potent running attack, rushing 17 times for 115 yards and three TDs on runs of 1, 5, and 3 yards for the Crusaders (5-0).
“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,” said Old Colony head coach Brandon Mendez. “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.
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.
Hamilton-Wenham 35, Malden 7 — Ian Coffey passed for three touchdowns and added another on the ground. Ryan Monahan hauled in two scores and chipped in two interceptions for the Generals.
Apponequet 21, Greater New Bedford 13 — Brett Dorsey returned a third-quarter interception 5 yards for the go-ahead score to lift the unbeaten Lakers (4-0). Quarterback Ethan Almeida threw two touchdowns (11 yards, 72 yards) in the win.
Belmont Hill 42, Tabor 7 — Greg Desrosiers Jr. (2 TDs), Cam Reirden (2 TDs), and Luke Bobo (3 TDs) combined for seven scores for Belmont Hill (3-0).
Dennis-Yarmouth 28, Lawrence 0 — Quarterback Mark Pawlina completed 13 of 24 passes for 216 yards and 3 touchdowns as the Dolphins (3-1) coasted to the victory.
Geoffrey Jamiel had a pair of TD catches of 20 and 4 yards.
Ashland 35, Medfield 16 — Dom Cavanaugh threw three touchdown passes for the Clockers (4-0).
Holliston 34, Westwood 0 — Matt Arvanitis scored three TDs and Tristan Benson added two more as the Panthers (4-0) stayed undefeated.
Ipswich 49, Somerville 20 — Chase Huntley ran for three touchdowns while Cole Terry led the ground attack with 157 yards on 18 carries for the Tigers (2-2).
Archbishop Williams 14, Arlington Catholic 13 — After a third-quarter injury to starting QB Neil Sanders, freshman Charlie Connors stepped in and completed a 2-point conversion pass attempt for a 14-6 lead.
Senior Nolan Bosse saved the game by making a run-stuffing tackle after the Cougars attempted a two-point conversion to tie the game.
Middlesex 28, St. Mark’s 2 — The Zebras (1-1-1) scored 28 straight points behind quarterback Cole Cleary (8 for 10, 199 yards, 2 TDs).
Axel Romell and Colin Cunningham both had a rushing touchdown.
Methuen 19, Haverhill 17 — Joe Gangi put the 11th-ranked Rangers (4-0) ahead to stay with a 12-yard run in the fourth quarter of the Merrimack Valley Conference matchup.
St. George’s 28, Rivers 14 — The host Dragons (1-2) intercepted four passes and Makai Murray threw three TD passes and sprinted 63 yards for another score in the ISL win.
Milton Academy 43, Lawrence Academy 12 — Senior quarterback Jake Willcox led the Wildcats (3-0), completing 12 of 15 passes for 239 yards and three touchdowns.
Pentucket 27, Lynnfield 12 —Peter Cleary threw three touchdown passes for the Sachems (4-0).
Somerset Berkley 28, Coventry (R.I.) 21 — A pick-six from Brandon Medeiros gave the Raiders a one-score lead in the fourth quarter and Somerset Berkley’s defense came up with a huge fourth-down stop to secure the win.
South Shore Voc-Tech 45, Cape Cod Tech 8 — Quarterback Brian McClain scored 5 touchdowns (3 rushing, 2 passing) for the Vikings (2-2).
Sean McGuirk was impactful on both sides of the ball catching one touchdown, and returning a 30-yard interception for a touchdown. Blake Coleman ran for four 2-point conversions.
Upper Cape 22, Carver/Sacred Heart 6 — Andrew Brightman scored twice for the Rams (3-1) on a receiving and rushing TD and converted a 2-point attempt. Brightman also added an interception on defense.