BROCKTON — The Brockton Boxers are beginning to climb back toward the mountaintop upon which they once stood.
Hosting their first football playoff game in five years, the third-seeded Boxers flexed their muscles with a huge third quarter to down sixth-seeded Newton North, 48-14, in a Division 1 South quarterfinal Friday night at Marciano Stadium.
Brockton (5-3) will face either Franklin (5-2) or Attleboro (3-4) in a sectional semifinal next weekend (TBA).
“I knew we were better than 1-3,” said Brockton coach Peter Colombo, referring to his team’s 1-3 start this season.
“Sure enough, the hard work has paid off and we’re right where we want to be with a chance to see how far we can go.”
Under Colombo’s late father, Armond, Brockton won nine state titles, including the first D1 Eastern Mass. Super Bowl over Newton North in 1972. The younger Colombo, the quarterback on that 1972 team, coached the Boxers to state titles in 2004 and 2005, but Brockton has been idle since.
Now the Boxers have the tools to make another run, including dynamic senior running back Ahmik Watterson (17 carries, 125 yards, 3 TDs; 3 receptions, 83 yards, TD), who scored three touchdowns in the third quarter to turn a 7-0 lead into a 35-14 advantage.
“We realized we were making mental mistakes and we were hurting ourselves,” said Watterson. “At halftime, we fixed a few bugs, and it changed our whole vibe.”
Newton North (3-5) responded with a 23-yard touchdown run from Tyson Duncan and a 34-yard touchdown pass from Andrew Landry (13-for-29 passing, 257 yards, TD, INT) to Evan Thompson.
But with Watterson, Brockton quarterback Devonte Medley (9-for-13 passing, 204 yards, 2 TDs, INT), and receivers Isaiah LaGuerre (7 carries, 103 yards; 3 receptions, 70 yards, TD) and Nayvon Reid (3 receptions, 38 yards, TD) providing key plays, the Boxers were simply too much.
“We knew [the Tigers] had offense, too,” said Colombo. “But we were able to match them and it’s a multi-headed monster with Ahmik, Devonte, Nayvon, and [Laguerre]. You can’t focus on any one of those guys and Devonte’s done a great job spreading the ball around and directing things.
“There’s history here. We’ve been hanging around and we finally have a team, I think, that can contend. So, it’s exciting.”
Nate Weitzer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.