WALPOLE, Mass. – When Walpole football head coach Barry Greener talks about senior captain Jack Lavanchy, he uses the word special. It’s not about just what the two-way starter at wide receiver and defensive back brings in athleticism; it’s also the intangibles.
“He’s tough and when the going gets tough he’s there,” Greener said. “He scraps on every single play. He’s not only skilled, but he’s very competitive.”
Lavanchy – who also handles place kicking duties for the Rebels – did just about everything except turn out the lights at Turco Memorial Field as the No. 13 Rebels rolled over Foxborough, 31-8, Friday night. While hauling in three touchdown passes, Lavanchy accounted for 25 of the Rebels’ points (three scores, three point-after tries and a field goal). Aside from his scoring line, he also pocketed an interception on defense in the second half.
“He’s something else,” Greener said of Lavanchy. “What did he have, twenty-five or twenty-six of our points? But he’s a great captain – as all of my senior captains are – but Lavanchy’s a special player.
Lavanchy got the Rebels (1-0) started early, hauling in the first of two touchdown passes from junior first-time starting quarterback Tyler Berkland with a 37-yard connection at 7:44 of the first quarter. The pair were in sync once again to start the second quarter, giving Walpole a 14-0 lead with a 23-yard score on a perfectly executed fade to the near left-hand pylon.
The Rebels picked up the pace on the ground in the second half, taking the opening possession of the half 10 plays and 63 yards downfield for a score on a 2-yard run by Steve Cuqua.
After an interception by junior corner Amire Loftis, Lavanchy tacked on a 24-yard field goal for a 24-0 lead with 1:55 to play in the third. His third touchdown reception of the game came on the first throw from junior Noah Miree, who replaced Berkland at quarterback, on a 27-yard play.
The Warriors (1-1) added their lone score with about a minute remaining in the game as backup quarterback Mark Clagg hit Darren Kelly on a 23-yard touchdown.
Game face: Even in the bask of a career night, Lavanchy deflected praise at every turn.
“Tyler came to play, the offensive line played very well,” Lavanchy said. “Everyone tried their best and gave it their all.”
He continued, “We’re expecting a big season, but we’re just taking it game by game. We got Needham next and we’re going to focus on them.”
Improvements on D: Greener was satisfied by the efforts of his defense after what he termed to be a “down year” for the group last season. The Rebels were opportunistic, coming away with three interceptions from Andrew Papirio, Lavanchy and Loftis.
Walpole’s defense was also there to pick up the offense after it’s lone miscue of the night, when Warriors safety Jake Pond undercut a route for a pick at the end of the first quarter. The Rebels responded, hemming Foxborough in its own end. Walpole’s defensive line asserted its will, working to force the Warriors to back-to-back negative yard plays. Defensive end Nate Porack disrupted a screen pass for a loss of one before Xavier Andujar broke through the line to drop Warriors running back Keeyon Neal for a loss of four.
After a punt, the Rebels took advantage of the plus-50 field position with Lavanchy’s second touchdown catch.
“We played well against a team that can really run the ball,” Greener said. “Their offensive line is good, they have two running backs [Ronnie Marin] and [Neal], who are terrific and [quarterback Nolan Rogers] could throw the ball and run, too. So we knew we were going up against a strong offense.”
“I’m pleasantly surprised that we did as well as we did on defense. But we were prepared and my coaches do a great job.”
On the other hand, Foxborough was never able to recover.
“We didn’t show up and Walpole’s good football team, obviously,” Warriors head coach Jack Martinelli said. “If you don’t show up from the get-go, it ends up like it did.”