NORTH ATTLEBOROUGH, Mass. - As King Philip's offense was trying to adjust to a wet, muddy Community Field, the Warriors defense did more than enough to keep them in the game.
King Philip's defense forced a turnover in each of North Attleborough's first two drives and then its offense scored on five straight series between the second and third quarters to shutout the Rocketeers, 33-0, in a Hockomock League Kelley-Rex division matchup.
The Warriors didn't even have positive yardage after their first two drives but when senior Kyle Loewen picked off North quarterback Justin Gallagher in the end zone, the Warriors completely took over the game.
"They had some momentum early on, they were making some plays on us," KP head coach Brian Lee said. "We were slipping on the field a little bit and they were having some success passing against us and then the turnover, when we were dealing, was really helpful. The pick later on was huge. After we settled down and were able to get ahead, we were able to make some plays."
After the interception, senior Mark Glebus burst out to the left for a 64-yard gain to the North Attleborough 16-yard line. Three plays later, sophomore quarterback John DeLuca connected with Loewen for a 10-yard touchdown to make it 6-0 with 10:57 left in the first half.
KP's defense forced another quick three and out for North Attleborough and took over at their own 46-yard after the Rocketeers' punt. The Warriors used a mix of runs from Glebus and DeLuca and a 17-yard pass from DeLuca to Loewen to get into the red zone. Facing a third-and-8 at the 18-yard line, DeLuca floated one to the back right corner of the end zone where Loewen was able to reel it in for a touchdown. DeLuca connected with Peter Garrity for the 2-point conversion to make it 14-0.
After another three-and-out for North, KP took over at the North 48-yard line. Four of the first plays were runs from Glebus, totaling 39 yards to set up the Warriors with second and goal from the 4. From there, Glebus busted out to the left and stutter stepped around a defender and into the end zone. Sam Fleck's extra point was good to make it 21-0 with 2:27 left in the first half.
"Before with our offense it was a couple yards here and there," Lee said. "And then with Glebus its two yards, three, two, then boom [he's gone]. And then everybody feels we can start playing."
The Rocketeers tried to get on the board in the final minutes and came out throwing on their next drive. After two incomplete passes, Gallagher was flushed out of the pocket to the right sideline and heaved one up but it was Glebus who came away with the interception around his own 30-yard line and raced back to the North Attleborough 27-yard line. Glebus was rewarded three plays into that drive, taking the ball on third and 2 and rushing in for a 19-yard touchdown. The Warriors went into halftime up 27-0. Glebus finished the game with 162 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
"You can't turn the ball against them," North Attleborough head coach Don Johnson said. "They're opportunistic, they're so aggressive on defense. I give them all the credit in the world, they made all the plays tonight and we made none."
The Warrior defense didn't budge in the second half either, forcing a quick three and out from North Attleborough to start the second half. Just four plays later, Steven Eaton cut to the left and rushed the rest of the way for a 56-yard touchdown to up the score to 33-0. Eaton finished with 99 yards on 14 carries and a touchdown.
Both teams turned the ball over on their next drives but the Warriors' defense was able to force yet another turnover. Facing third and four at their own 38-yard line, K.C. Webster was able to get the strip sack of quarterback Brody Barr and Brian Donahue came up with the loose ball. KP used the ensuing drive to wipe off nearly the rest of the time on the clock.
Dominating Defense: When talking about being aggressive on defense after the game, Lee had a simple answer.
"That's how you're supposed to play, right?"
For the second straight week, the Warriors defense allowed less than 10 points and allowed just a total of 29 points through four games, just 7.25 points per game.
"I couldn't be happier with the defense," Lee said. "I'll look at the film and tomorrow I'll change my mind on that but right now I'm very, very pleased with the effort and the team defense."
The team forced four turnovers against North Attleborough - two interceptions and two fumbles - and were able to turn two of those into touchdowns. In terms of yardage, the Warriors allowed just 124 yards to the Rocketeers – 36 of which came on North's final drive with just over a minute to play.
"I can't say enough," Lee said. "This team is different than other teams that I've had but they have the same KP heart. I couldn't be more proud of how they responded.
Time To Rebound: North Attleborough suffered their second loss of the season, but that might not be a bad thing. After they dropped their opener to Stoughton, Big Red went on to win two straight games with victories over Bishop Feehan (13-0) and the defending D2 state champion Mansfield Hornets (42-22).
The road will be a little tougher this time around as North will return to action next Friday when they host their biggest rivals – Attleboro.
The Bombardiers are 2-1 heading into Saturday's contest against Mansfield and swept the Rocketeers last year. The last time that North Attleborough picked up a win against their rivals was Thanksgiving 2012.