MARLBOROUGH, Mass. -- Sophomore running back Paul Goulet and junior kicker Alex Tello put up nine points in the first quarter while senior lineman Pete Wambolt and the Panther defense held Central Catholic to one score, securing their first victory of the season, 9-7, in a contest that means more to Wambolt than the 1-0 record might indicate.
“The last time we beat Central Catholic we went to the Super Bowl,” said the co-captain. “This year, we’re going to the Super Bowl.”
Goulet (6 carries, 33 yards) topped off the Panthers four-play first drive with a for a 13-yard touchdown run less than two minutes in the game. The Panthers opened up with two straight running plays, one to junior captain Austin Garvey (17-71) for four yards and the next an option rollout from senior quarterback Dennis Duplessis for three. The false start penalty made it third and long for the Panthers from their 25, but junior wide receiver Michael Tirpak was wide open down the field and Duplessis dropped the ball into his hands. Tirpak scatted down the left sideline and was taken out of bounds after a 62-yard gain.
Then Goulet came.
He took the handoff and ran into the end zone. He was contested, but he was not used to being contested in the manner that he was during his first touch of the season.
“I thought I was going to get hit hard going up the middle like that,” said Goulet. “They were arm tacking, I didn’t get hit directly. I went in between two linemen then I made a cut and got open. “
Goulet’s teammates do not treat him as well in practice.
“Coach [Sean Mahoney] looks in practice to see who wants to play, so we go full out and hit hard. I wasn’t used to [arm tackling], I was expecting to get hit hard.”
The extra point attempt by Tello was deflected, making the game 6-0.
“I think we had penetration inside,” said Mahoney.
The Panthers got another chance to score after a Dillon Garvey interception on the Central Catholic 35 on the following drive. After getting down to the 7-yard line, Raider linebacker Santino Brancato (5.5 tackles) sacked junior Mike Yates for an eight yard loss setting up fourth and goal from the 15. Mahoney called on Tello again and he tacked up a 33-yard field goal with 5:19 left in the game putting the Panthers up 9-0.
“I came into this game thinking that I was going to make every kick,” said Tello. “I forgot about the missed PAT. I went in there confident for the field goal and made it.”
Early in the second quarter, Central Catholic was able to score on a nine yard bull rush by Brancato (11 carries, 26 yards), who bowled over a few players himself en route to the plane. Unfortunately, the score and point after try by junior Tommy Jenoski were the only points the Raiders could put on the board for the evening.
“I was looking for the bus,” said Central Catholic coach Chuck Adamopoulos jokingly after looking at the 9-0 score in the first quarter.
His team was not ready to give up though. They drove down to the six with 45 seconds left in the first half with a chance to get a first down and possible score before the half to take the lead. However, Brancato’s rush on fourth and one and Goulet’s tackle for no gain put an end to that drive and ultimately sealed the deal for Marlboro on opening night.
Central Catholic (0-1) 0 7 0 0 -- 7
Marlborough (1-0) 9 0 0 0 -- 9
M – Paul Goulet 13 run (kick blocked)
M – Alex Tello 33 FG
C – Santino Branccato 9 run (Tommy Jenoski kick)