HOLLISTON, Mass. -- There isn’t a single positional unit on No. 24 Holliston that lacks speed.
From the skill position players to the linemen, every Panther can run like one, and at the end of the day, there isn’t a team in the Tri-Valley League that can catch up.
Millis/Hopedale found that out the hard way Friday night as the smaller but speedier Panthers ran them ragged in a 35-13 TVL crossover win.
Jake Frechette (154 yards rushing, two TDs) eclipsed 3,120 yards to break Matt Bellomo’s school record and senior quarterback, running back, kicker, kick and punt returner and just plain playmaker Dan Barone compiled 283 all-purpose yards and a pair of scores in the victory.
It was Barone’s special teams play that helped the Panthers pull away from what looked to be an even game going into the half. Jimmy Perkins (114 yards rushing) punched in a 1-yard touchdown to pull the Mohawks to within 14-13 but the extra point was blocked by Holliston’s Brody Ciarcello. Barone then applied the big blow with an 82-yard kickoff return with 46 seconds left in the half.
M/H never recovered, as the Mohawks were held to three first downs the entire second half. Max Athey and Frechette, who set the new school record with a 27-yard carry in the third quarter, punched in second-half touchdowns to complete the scoring.
ALL GROWN UP
When Frechette was a freshman, he was pretty fast, but also pretty skinny. Still, Holliston coach Todd Kiley knew he had a special back and now the senior has the strength to match his quickness, carrying defenders for extra yardage at the second level.
“I am so proud of him,” Kiley said. “I remember the first day he stepped on the field as a varsity player, a little freshman and probably, in most cases, shouldn’t be playing because of his size. And freshmen as a whole shouldn’t be playing. He just fought the battle that year and he’s continued year after year.”
After the game, the understated Frechette talked about replacing Bellomo, who went on to play at Holy Cross, in the record books.
“I was in eighth grade [when Bellomo was a senior]. I remember watching him running up and down the field. ... It’s a good accomplishment, but it’s a team award. I couldn’t have done it by myself. The coaches work their tails off week in and week out putting us in the best position to win and they’re a big part of why this happened.”
“It’s well-deserved,” Barone said. “[Frechette has] been working his tail off for four years now so I think he deserves all the praise and all the accolades that he’s going to get. A job well done, well-deserved for him.”
Millis/Hopedale may be in the TVL Small, but there is nothing tiny about the players in the trenches for Dale Olmstead’s squad. The offensive line includes a right side of sophomore guard Jon Baker (6-3, 290) and junior tackle Adam Tyks (6-1, 240) that was able to get good push for Perkins, a tough and elusive senior who got plenty of yards after contact. Baker, a 4.0 student whose older brother David plays at Williams, has already attracted the attention of some Division I coaches. Even if he doesn’t end up at that level, Olmstead said “it won’t be for a lack of work ethic,” as the mauler, who also plays nose guard, is one of the most committed players on the team in terms of his offseason strength and conditioning work according to his coach. One way or another, the future looks bright for both Baker and the Mohawks program as a whole, which can clinch a postseason berth with a win over Bellingham next week.
Millis/Hopedale (7-1) 0 13 0 0 - 13
Holliston (6-1) 7 14 7 7 - 35
H - Dan Barone 11 run (Barone kick)
H - Jake Frechette 5 run (Barone kick)
M - Ian Strom 9 pass from Bay Tangney (Tyler Angel kick)
M - Jimmy Perkins 1 run (kick blocked)
H - Barone 82 kickoff return (Barone kick)
H - Max Athey 3 run (Barone kick)
H - Frechette 1 run (Barone kick)