Boston High School: Nick Cidado

D3 Southwest final: Stoughton 16, Oliver Ames 14

November, 16, 2013
11/16/13
12:20
AM ET
NORTH EASTON, Mass. -- Sophomore Jake Gibb wasn't the starting quarterback at the beginning of the season for Stoughton, but you'd never know that with the confidence he played with on the Black Knights’ final drive Friday.

Gibb led Stoughton from their own 26-yard line to the Oliver Ames 8 in 16 plays before kicking the game-winning field goal himself with just over a minute left as No. 2 seed Stoughton downed previously unbeaten No. 1 Oliver Ames, 16-14, in the Division 3 Southwest final.

"We had a tough time," Stoughton head coach Greg Burke said. "They are a good team, an excellent team. I'm happy they had a great season and I'm glad we aren't playing them again. They gave us a good licking in the first one and we played a little better today and we played harder and it showed, I think, that we got a little better then maybe they did.

Oliver Ames opened the fourth quarter with two straight incompletions before punting it to the Black Knights with 10:30 left in the fourth quarter. Stoughton used up 9:22 on their 16-play drive before Gibb put it through the uprights on a 25-yard field goal with 1:08 left.

But Oliver Ames nearly stole it back.

After the field goal, Oliver Ames returned it to their own 28 and quarterback Nick Cidado drove his team down to the Stoughton 11-yard line in 51 seconds. But with just three seconds left, the Tiger's 28-yard field goal was wide right.

"We probably should have knocked off a few more seconds down here," Burke said of their long drive. "We tried to knock off as much as we could for the field goal but you don't want your own guys thinking about a field goal, you just want to go out and do it. It's a touch call for a sophomore."

Gibb actually missed a 32-yard field goal in the first half, but credited his teammates for keeping him calm on his second attempt.

"It started low and I was really nervous about that," Gibb said of his confidence level. "The team settled me down and made sure I was calm kicking it."

Gibb finished with a staggering stat line of sorts (2 of 4 passing for 30 yards, in addition to 8 yards rushing), but the timing of his numbers couldn't have been any better.

On its last drive, Stoughton ran into a third-and-7 on its own 29 before Gibb had his first completion — a 21-yard gain to junior Brian Crimmins. Just three plays later, the Black Knights faced third and 4 at the OA 44, and this time Gibb scrambled for just enough to move the chains.

Maybe the biggest run for Gibb came when Stoughton faced a fourth-and-2 from the OA 29-yard line, Gibb's QB sneak gained four yards and a first down for Stoughton. Gibb had his second completion of the night, hitting Crimmins on a third-down that gave Stoughton the ball inside the OA red zone.

"The coaches have definitely helped me out the most," Gibb said. "They always tell me 'you're the one next if something happens' and that's what happened when Stanley [Sajous] went down. I had to step up. Coach tells me what to read and I have the run option and if I see it, I'll take it.

Crimmins was without a reception before his two catches as Gibb had yet to complete a pass, only having attempted just one in the first half — a Hail Mary-esque try right before the half — and one in the second. Despite not having connected, there was no wavering in Gibb's confidence.

"It's very high," Gibb said. "[Brian] told me he was going to be there for me no matter what, I threw it there and I trusted him with everything that I have and it turned out great."

Lennox Green and Jovani Pires did most of the legwork in the backfield for Stoughton, who ran on 14 of its last 16 plays. Pires finished with 107 yards on 16 carries, while Green had 96 yards on 13 carries and both of Stoughton's touchdowns.

Green opened the scoring on the first play of the second quarter, punching it in from one-yard out after Oliver Ames turned the ball over on their first two possessions. The Tigers got on the board after Colin Lozzi came up with a huge tackle in Stoughton's end zone to force a safety. The Tigers then took the lead with just 12 seconds left in the first half as Cidado found sophomore Franklin Holgate for a one-yard score, just one play after the two connected on a 29-yard play.

OA forced a three-and-out on Stoughton's opening drive of the second half, and a low snap gave the Tigers the ball at the Stoughton 26-yard line. Five plays later, Cidado hit sophomore Andrew Callachan over the middle for a 7-yard touchdown. The extra point fake attempt was snuffed out by Stoughton.

The Black Knights made it a 1-point game when Green took a handoff to the left, but cut back across the middle and outran OA defenders for a 45-yard touchdown with 48 seconds left in the third quarter. Stoughton's extra point fake also failed, making it 14-13.

Stoughton will now face Plymouth South, the winner of the D3 Southeast Bracket, in the D3 State Semifinals.

The game will be Nov. 22 (7 p.m.), at Brockton High School.

D3 Southwest: Oliver Ames 27, North Attleborough 13

November, 9, 2013
11/09/13
12:38
AM ET
NORTH EASTON, Mass. – The Oliver Ames football program is having an historic season. The Tigers already completed their first undefeated regular season since 1964, and, on Friday night at Muscato Stadium, OA added its first victory over North Attleborough since 1994.

Oliver Ames outscored the Rocketeers 20-6 after halftime and behind a punishing defensive line claimed a 27-13 victory that sends the Tigers to the Division 3 Southwest final.

OA head coach Jim Artz knew that his team was in uncharted waters at this stage of the season and was taking on a team that had dominated the overall series record. He expected his team to battle nerves early on and said that if the team was close after a quarter, then the Tigers would be alright.

He noted, “With their team speed and the way that they attack, we knew that the first quarter was really going to be tough. If we felt comfortable with where we were at and okay at the end of the first quarter then we’d be fine.”

He added, “We just had to wear them down a little bit because I think that we’re bigger and stronger and I think that we showed that.”

The Tigers (9-0) dominated the North offensive line from the first series, although on the second possession Rocketeers quarterback James Kummer somehow stood in the pocket and took a huge hit to complete a 32-yard pass to Dan Moore. North (5-4) took advantage of the big play and finished the drive with Jack Blasť running it in from five yards out to make it 7-0.

The Oliver Ames offense has been explosive this season and it was a big play by running back Matt Berksza (17 carries, 135 yards) that got the Tigers going at the end of the second quarter. His 45-yard run as the first quarter ended put OA at the North 11. Two plays later he finished the drive with a one-yard dive to tie the score.

Oliver Ames had the chance to take the lead before the break, but Nick Sanborn’s 43-yard field goal attempt, into the wind, came up short.

In the second half, the Oliver Ames offense started to click into gear behind senior quarterback Nick Cidado. Facing third and 11 at midfield on the opening possession, Cidado picked out senior wide receiver Reid Starr down the center of the field for a 50-yard, go-ahead touchdown. The North defender tried to jump in front for the interception but could not get there in time.

North head coach Don Johnson remarked, “We had good coverage, but he just misplayed the ball and it turned into a big play; caught us on the man-to-man blitz.”

Artz praised his senior quarterback for his ability to run the offense with both his arm and his legs.

“I’ve been touting him all season long. We used him a little more leg-wise tonight because they were doing a lot of slanting and trying to take away zone with Matt [Berksza] and we said if you’re going to slant that way then we’ll run back this way.”

North tried to get back on its next possession, but after reaching the OA one-yard-line, Kummer fumbled on a play that looked like his knee may have been down. The Tigers could not take advantage.

The Rocketeers forced a Berksza fumble and took over on the Tigers 22. Five plays later, Mike Lambert took a sweep to the right for six yards and a touchdown. A penalty forced the extra point back five yards and Connor Flynn missed wide left to keep OA on top, 14-13.

The Tigers responded immediately. OA went 69 yards in eight plays to extend the lead back to eight points with 9:57 remaining in the game. Cidado and Berksza rushed for 68 of the yards on the drive and junior Joey Tepper took it the final yard into the end zone.

On its next possession, the Tigers appeared to be trying to run down the clock. Instead, on second and eight, Artz took a chance and called for a play-action pass. Cidado threw a 31-yard strike to sophomore Sam Kelly (four receptions, 88 yards) to make it 27-13.

When asked about the play, Artz explained, “As long as they kept two high safeties, then we were going to run but we saw them creeping down and creeping down and they still had timeouts to burn. We could either play it safe or be aggressive and I thought it was the appropriate time to be a little bit aggressive and go for it.”

He added, “Sam Kelly is an outstanding young receiver and Cid put it right where it needed to be. It gave us a lot more breathing room and a whole different comfort level.”

Johnson was disappointed that his team was surprised by the call. He reflected, “It shouldn’t have [surprised us]; we know that is something that they like to do. It was just a poor play on defense.”

Down by two scores, North was forced to start looking downfield in the passing game, but Kummer was constantly under pressure from the OA defensive line. Chris Duggan, Josh Briggs, and Pat McNeeley each had shots on Kummer in the fourth quarter, as well as linebacker Tepper. It was a problem for which North had no answer.

Johnson admitted, “We didn’t do a good job protecting him to give him a chance. They’ve got some good, fast, strong players up front that overpowered us tonight.”

The win sets up an all-Hockomock League D3 Southwest final with Oliver Ames hosting rival Stoughton in a rematch of the Tigers' 35-7 win from earlier this season.

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